All roads lead to Oaxaca: the new digital nomad hub in Mexico

This Oaxaca digital nomad guide was written by Ian Ord, a full-time travel blogger and digital nomad who has years of experience living in Oaxaca City. In this article, he will share all his tips and insights on why this city is the best digital nomad hub in Mexico.

📬 Trisha, I followed your Oaxaca road trip but I don’t see any posts about it yet? Or maybe I am in the wrong place? You have lots of Mexico content so I hope you can point me in the right direction! I am looking for experiences about Oaxaca digital nomad if you have any. I just want to know if it’s the best place for DNs like me. Looking to relocate to Mexico soon! Thanks for the help.

Gary Lopez, Washington
oaxaca digital nomad

Hola Gary, thanks a lot for reaching out!

You are right – I have not written a lot about Oaxaca City because I am currently updating all posts in this blog to be fit for 2021 travels! It’s been really painful to update them all, but I’ll work on the content soon!

Anyway, as you know, this blog thrives on reader questions so I don’t want to keep you hanging. I invited Ian Ord, a full-time digital nomad, who’s also a very good friend of mine.

In this Oaxaca digital nomad post, Ian will share with you all the hacks on how to be a DN in this Mexican City.

He has years of experience living there so he is the right person to ask about all this! I will share my personal experience about being a DN in Oaxaca, but for now, let’s get the facts from Ian!

Safe travels and let us know if you have any questions! Now I leave the floor to Ian.


💨 Need help moving to Mexico?


ℹ️ Quick info: Oaxaca Digital Nomad

  • 🌍 Region: North America
  • 🚩 Country: Mexico
  • 📡 Internet speed: 21 MBPS (good)
  • 🔌 Outlet: Types A and B
  • 🚑 Travel medical insurance: Safetywing Digital Nomad coverage
  • 📱 Best wireless carrier: Telcel
  • 🏧 Suggested ATM take out: ATM was a little difficult in the area. I had to go to the airport to take out cash
  • 💳 Cashless society: no, mostly cash
  • 💻 Best coworking space: Selina
  • 🚰 Safe tap water: No, not drinkable
  • 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Population: 300,050 (2014)
  • 🏞 Foreign land ownership allowed: Yes
  • ✈️ Where to find cheap flights:

  • 💵 Cost of living for local: $365 USD per month
  • 🏠 1br studio rent in center: $350 per month
  • 🏢 Coworking: $120 USD per month
  • 🏨 Hotel: from $890 USD per month
  • 🍛 Meals (restaurants): $4 USD
  • 🍺 Beer (bars): $1.50
  • ☕️ Coffee: $2

🙋 Is Oaxaca good for digital nomads?

100% yes! Oaxaca is actually the cheapest digital nomad destination in Mexico. If you like living in the city, a great quality of life is guaranteed in Oaxaca. Everything is so affordable!

Oaxaca itinerary

Not only that. There are many things to do in Oaxaca for the adventurous digital nomads. The city itself is already quite an attraction. There are endless beautiful sights and you can easily spend a full day walking around this amazing city!

👌 Compared to other destinations, Oaxaca is still very Mexican. Not everyone can speak English so learn Spanish before going to Mexico!

🕺🏻 Living in Oaxaca as a digital nomad

Oaxaca is has been growing as a base for digital nomads for the past few years, and as it continues to grow, it keeps getting better equipped for remote workers.

For those interested in culture and food, nature and history, local and ex-pat communities, the cost of living, and the feeling of being at home, Oaxaca is an excellent choice for digital nomads!

Oaxaca has a number of co-working spaces scattered around both the historic center as well as more residential areas. This gives you a lot of freedom in choosing where you want to live while being close to your chosen ‘office’.

Most of the foreign amenities, such as grocery stores, movie theatres, Sam’s Club, Walmart, etc are found outside of the historic center, which could also be a consideration of where you choose to live.

oaxaca city digital nomad

The historic center is teeming with markets, restaurants, bars, hotels, museums, art galleries, and parks, which makes it very liveable if you want to be in the heart of the action. Y

You’ll never have to walk more than a few blocks to find an ATM, laundromat, or simply somewhere to kick back and relax.

Oaxaca is a very safe and welcoming city. It’s not to say it’s not without petty crime, such as occasional pickpockets in a busy market if you aren’t being mindful, though crime is something very few people would ever experience while visiting Oaxaca.

Solo female travelers, LGBTQ, people of color, and everyone in between are able to enjoy the incredible hospitality of the locals without judgment or fear.

Oaxaca is a huge producer of coffee beans, amongst many other specialties, which means there is an abundance of coffee shops on nearly every corner.

Apart from this, there are many things to do in Oaxaca which makes digital nomads drawn to it!

Wi-Fi definitely varies from place to place, though if you’re just looking for a good cup of Joe in a beautiful setting, few cities will compete with the coffee scene here, keeping you well-fuelled for your online work!

oaxaca city digital nomad
Ian owns the best coworking space in Oaxaca!

There are many little pockets of remote workers living around Oaxaca City. The most popular choices are in the neighborhoods Xochimilco and Jatalaco, due to their proximity to the historic center, and the beautiful architecture and painted houses.

They are also amongst the more expensive neighborhoods, alongside living in the historic center itself, with 1 bedroom apartments averaging 6,000 to 12,000 pesos/month (between $300-600 USD).

Going to some other neighborhoods, such as La Noria or La Reforma, you are still very close to the center, though rent could be as low as 4000-6000 pesos/month ($200-300 USD), and still have just as easy access (if not easier) to many amenities.

Wi-Fi can be hit or miss around the city, both in cafes, as well as in your apartment. If you plan to work from home, you may want to do a test on the Wi-Fi before signing a lease, or discuss with your landlord if it’s possible to pay for an upgraded account (they are often reluctant, however).

Sometimes high speed isn’t available in that neighborhood either. The fastest guaranteed WiFi is at a select few co-working spaces (not all of them), which will be covered later in the Co-Working section.

Overall, Oaxaca has an amazing scene and is very easy to fall in love with. I came here with the intention of staying for only a month – and that was in October 2016. I’m still here, and still just as much in love with it as the day I arrived.

🔐 Protect your online privacy: Get NordVPN

🧑🏿‍🤝‍🧑🏻 The digital nomad scene in Oaxaca

Oaxaca has a unique Digital Nomad scene. Where there are some cities, such as Chiang Mai, Medellin, or Playa Del Carmen, which happen to attract more travel bloggers and many who are just passing through.

Oaxaca’s digital nomad scene is much more the online artists, graphic designers, and web developers (though still has its share of travel bloggers passing through).

Most, however, come to stay long-term. As such, the community is tightly knit – though not hard to break into. There is also an older retiree expat community here as well, but most are pretty carefree, into the art’s scene, and like to indulge in a couple of mezcals.

oaxaca day of the dead tour

The easiest way to meet other Digital Nomads is through co-working spaces that thrive on the community vibe. There are also dozens of Expat Facebook groups, but get a good mix of really cool, and grumpy trolls.

Don’t take it to heart though – most are really good people and cool in person, but perhaps have grown tired of telling people not to go to Starbucks while here, and to support local businesses instead. The local coffee is a bazillion time better anyway. 😉

🫱🏻‍🫲🏽 Oaxaca digital nomad group to join: Oaxaca Expats, Locals, Digital Nomads & Entrepreneurs

📶 Oaxaca Internet speed

Oaxaca’s WiFi is a bit slower than most Digital Nomad hubs. Fiber connections are fairly new here (installations starting around 2017), but they haven’t covered the whole city yet.

If you need lightning speed internet, or work on huge video files, etc., Convivio is the only place in the city to offer 200+ MBs, due to the high-end equipment they use, though you will likely find the 30-40 MBs average around the city sufficient for most work.

SIM cards are very easy to get! There are a few choices that have decent coverage, though TelCel is definitely the most widely used.

oaxaca solo travel
My friends in Oaxaca will never make me walk alone at night. They always accompany me to my accommodation.

They even have some pay-and-go options called Amigos Sin Limites (friends without limits), which offer unlimited social media use on top of the data you buy.

Just look for a big blue and white TelCel sign, and you can be in and out with your new Sim and data in 10 minutes. Be aware of how long the top-up you’re buying is valid (I buy 3GBs of data, with unlimited social media, for 200 pesos ($10USD), and it’s valid for 30 days).

oaxaca map

Travel to Oaxaca with all my recommendations in the city. This Oaxaca map includes over 600 places, divided into different categories!

💵 Cost of living in Oaxaca City

Oaxaca is one of the poorest states in all of Mexico, and as such is amongst the least expensive (keep that in mind when tipping or bartering… a little extra goes a long way – 10% is the norm).

If you’re on a shoestring, you could probably get by for $600USD/month, with basic all-inclusive accommodations, buying produce in the markets, and eating occasional street food.

If you want a little more comfort and entertainment, plan on spending up to $1000 USD/month, all-in. There are options to suit almost all budgets here.

Getting around town is pretty easy. Almost everything is within a 20-40 minute walk (and often closer).

There are a bounty of taxis, which have set rates based on what zones you’re traveling between (no meters, it’s 50 pesos within the same zone, or 70 pesos if traveling to the next zone).

There are buses for the more daring, at only 8 pesos each ride, but are a bit difficult and intimidating to figure out, as there are no bus route maps.

Uber doesn’t exist here, but Didi does. It’s like uber, but works exclusively with taxis, and often has better rates than the taxis. Download DiDi here for 30 pesos off your first ride!

oaxaca digital nomad

Finding a place to live in Oaxaca is easiest on foot, looking for Renta signs in the window, but if you want to have a few places to look at before you arrive, this is the best Facebook group to watch.

Just keep in mind, if a place seems too good to be true, people will pounce on it as soon as it’s posted. Well valued listings usually only last a day, max, so be sure to turn on your notifications so that you can respond to those postings as soon as they’re listed.

Oaxaca is known as the gastronomical capital of all of Mexico, with some of the best and most diverse food to try!

You can easily find street tacos for 10 pesos each ($0.50), and a Torta for 20-30 pesos – but if you want to try it all (and I’m sure you will), you’ll be looking at an average of 80-160 pesos for most sit-down meals ($4-8 USD).

I personally love cooking, and so I buy from local farmers’ markets several times per week, usually leaving with a huge reusable shopping bag full of produce for about 100 pesos ($5USD).

🏠 Where to find housing: Check out these apartments in Oaxaca City for digital nomads!

🛂 Mexico visa for digital nomads

If you weren’t already considering Oaxaca, Mexico as your next base, you might be starting to now.

Mexico is one of the most appealing countries to DNs because almost everyone gets a free 6-month (180 days) FMM tourist visa on arrival (make sure to check the visa requirements of your nationality before arrival.

Some countries DO need to apply in advance at a local embassy or consulate). If you want to stay for more than 6 months, you can also apply for a Mexico digital nomad visa.

After your FMM runs out, you’ll have to leave the country and return 3 days later for a new 6-month FMM. If you go over your visa, you’ll need to pay a $25-35 fine at the airport before you can board your flight.

It is never recommended to overstay your visas, however, as this could prevent you from re-entry in the future.

Oaxaca itinerary

North Americans who know they want to stay in Mexico for long term can then apply for a Temporary Residency Visa.

You’ll need to return to your home country for the interview at the Mexican consulate, as well as proving a minimum income from abroad of at least $1500 USD/mo, and $30,000 USD in savings.

Once you have this, you are ‘basically’ a citizen (not quite, though you can live here legally without leaving).

As temporary residence visas are a little bit of a process, some just leave to a neighboring country like Guatemala, Belize, or the U.S., and then return to Mexico.

Just be advised, even if you stay a minimum of 3 days out of the country, Mexico hold’s no obligation for you to re-enter if they feel you are abusing the system.

🛂 Need residency visa help for Mexico? Get in touch with a Mexican lawyer!

☕ Oaxaca City cafes with strong wifi

In general, Oaxaca cafes have ok WiFi. They weren’t all made with the Starbucks ‘stay all day’ philosophy for online working, however, so many have the basic plans for checking your email or messages.

The better the coffee – the less likely they have great WiFi (which kinda makes sense). All places listed below have some combo of strong WiFi, comfortable seating, good coffee/food. You may click on each of the cafes below for directions.

Café Brújula (Calle Macedonia Alcala)

📍 C. Macedonio Alcalá 104

This is actually a local chain of coffee shops, each with its own character and vibe, though the most popular is the one located directly across from Santo Domingo church – the most iconic colonial church in the city.

If you’re lucky, you may even get a window seat to work from with a gorgeous view of the church. The wifi and coffee are both decent, but wifi speeds certainly slow down when the place is packed (which is often). My fave coffee here is the Frappuccino.

Mondo Cafe (Calle Reforma)

📍 Reforma 904B, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro

This place has some of the best coffee in the city, and some amazing baked goods too! The staff are super friendly, and the WiFi is decent too.

It’s pretty small though, with only 3 tables, so you’ll want to get in early for a seat, or may need to wait a bit if it’s already full.

They also have buy 10 get 1 free coffee stamp cards (and after you have one, you’ll likely fill the card)! I usually like to ask if they have any special new coffees in that week.

oaxaca digital nomad

A.M. Siempre Cafe (Xochimilco)

📍 C. José López Alavez 1355, Barrio de Xochimilco

This is a long time favourite. It used to be the only coffee shop in the neighbourhood, though now the street is lined with them.

The inside is a decent size, yet cozy, and decorated by some antique style furniture. The food is great, as is the coffee, and the WiFi is decent too. I’m a sucker for their cappuccinos and lattes.

Newbie Cafeteria (Jatalaco)

📍 C. de Los Libres 800, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro

This is probably one of the most hipster vibe cafes in the city, with lots of outdoor seating, in a pathway covered in graffiti.

Though the internet and coffee aren’t quite as good or fast as the other spots, if you want some nice outdoor space to work in, this place certainly has it for the character. The owner is especially nice and hospitable too.

💻 Co-working spaces in Oaxaca City

Oaxaca has a growing Co-Working space scene, though as you likely already know, not all co-working spaces are created equally (or at least with the same goals for the digital nomad in mind).

Work Coffee Inc (Reforma)

📍 Emilio Carranza 704-Interior A

In the La Reforma neighborhood, this little spot has made a name for itself for many of the locals who work remotely.

Not only does it have a common work area, and some great coffee (for purchase), there are also some private offices and a board room which you can rent. The WiFi is still pretty fast, at 50-100 MB/s, with sliding options.

Shared office day passes cost about $7, and monthly passes are about $60.

oaxaca digital nomad

Selina (Calle Murgia)

📍 5 de Mayo 217, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro

Being the biggest chain co-working space in Oaxaca is worth noting that there is a Selina here. That being said, it is likely better known as a hostel and rooftop bar.

Though the co-working space is nicely laid out, the internet speeds have been clocked as slow as 85 KBs!! My grandma’s toaster has faster internet.

I’m not sure if this was a temporary issue, though I’ve had many friends stay there who complained of the same issue. It’s still a nice, central location – and a short walk to Convivio if you are staying there, but need to work.

Shared office day passes cost about $10, and monthly passes are about $100.

⁉️ FAQ: Oaxaca Digital Nomad

ABSOLUTELY! Oaxaca is an attractive spot for digital nomads due to its rich culture, exquisite cuisine, and vibrant arts scene. The city offers reliable internet, various coworking spaces, and an affordable cost of living. The region is also known for its warm, welcoming community.

Note that language could be a challenge for those who don’t speak Spanish, but locals are generally patient with language learners.

The internet in Oaxaca is generally decent and sufficient for most remote work tasks. Major cities like Oaxaca de Juarez offer high-speed broadband services, while co-working spaces often provide even faster and more reliable connections.

In more remote areas or small villages, the speed and reliability of the internet can vary. It’s recommended to check internet availability and speed specific to your accommodation before settling, especially if your work depends on a strong and consistent connection.

You can always ask the landlord or homeowner about the Internet speed before renting long-term.

Oaxaca is a popular choice among expats, attracted by its affordable cost of living, mild climate, vibrant culture, and warm, welcoming community. It offers a slower pace of life and opportunities to enjoy the city’s rich history, delicious food, and local craft markets.

While English is not widely spoken outside tourist areas, this offers a great chance to learn Spanish.

Expats in Oaxaca tend to gravitate towards the city center, or “Centro”, for its proximity to restaurants, shops, and cultural landmarks. The neighborhood of Jalatlaco is popular for its quaint, picturesque streets and colonial architecture.

Another favored area is the Reforma neighborhood, known for its peaceful environment, beautiful parks, and availability of modern amenities. For a quieter, more suburban feel, the area around San Felipe del Agua is also a popular choice among expats.

✈️ Oaxaca travel recommendations

  • Go on a mezcal tour in a palenque just outside of Oaxaca City. This includes an agave farm visit and lunch with a local family.
  • Visit the textile cooperative of locals to learn about the artisan goods of Oaxaca.
  • Enhance your cooking skills, discover secret family recipes, and enjoy the flavors of real Oaxacan cuisine through an authentic Oaxacan cooking class.
  • Explore the captivating mix of indigenous and colonial architecture, stroll through colorful markets, savor the city’s rich gastronomy, and meet fellow travelers through a Oaxaca walking tour.
  • Dive into Oaxaca’s rich art scene in our hands-on Alebrijes Workshop. Learn to create your own vibrant Alebrije – a whimsical, colorful folk art sculpture – under the guidance of local artisans.
  • Experience the vibrancy of Oaxaca’s Day of the Dead celebrations, a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage event. Witness the colorful parades, join the candlelit vigils, and honor the departed in this unique blend of indigenous traditions
  • Discover the timeless charm of Oaxaca’s Jalatlaco and Xochimilco neighborhoods. Wander through cobblestone streets with colorful houses, traditional markets, and quaint cafes.
  • Experience the bustling energy of Andador Turistico, Oaxaca City’s vibrant pedestrian walkway. Explore various artisan shops, traditional markets, and exquisite local eateries. Absorb the city’s rich history as you stroll by colonial-era architecture, lively squares, and vibrant murals.
  • Discover a diverse array of indigenous plants, learn about traditional uses in medicine, food, and crafts, and admire the stunning design that intertwines nature with culture at Oaxaca’s Ethnobotanical Garden.
  • Visit the stunning petrified waterfalls of Hierve El Agua, bathe in mineral-rich thermal pools, and take in the spectacular panoramic views.
  • Journey into the ancient world at Monte Alban, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Oaxaca.
  • Benito Juarez Market offers a wide array of goods from colorful handicrafts, textiles, and pottery to local produce and traditional Oaxacan snacks.
  • Just a stone’s throw away from Benito Juárez, the 20 de Noviembre Market is known for its mouth-watering array of local food stalls.
  • Slightly off the tourist trail, La Merced is noted for its food vendors, selling traditional Oaxacan staples like barbacoa, tamales, and quesillo.
  • Juana La Vintage, Vikers Vintage, and Añorarte are key stops for vintage lovers. You can shop here for as low as $3 USD.
  • Experience the fusion of luxury and culture at Grand Fiesta Americana Oaxaca with elegant spacious rooms, gourmet dining, and a tranquil spa, all set within a beautifully restored colonial building.
  • Escape to Pug Seal Hotel, where boutique charm meets authentic Mexican hospitality. Uniquely designed rooms, lush gardens, and delightful cuisine just a few steps away from Oaxaca’s vibrant cultural and historical landmarks.
  • Selina Hostel is an eclectic, budget-friendly accommodation that offers a mix of private rooms and shared dorms, all set within a lively community atmosphere – a great place to meet solo travelers!
  • Mexico is currently experiencing a housing shortage for locals because of platforms like Airbnb or Vrbo. The local community would appreciate it if you book local-run hotels and accommodations.
  • Oaxaca is a walking city so there’s no need to worry about transportation. You can walk anywhere! Just make sure to book an airport taxi transfer as the airport is far away from the center.
  • If you are planning a Oaxaca road trip, it is highly recommended to rent a car, especially those who want to see the Oaxacan coast (Puerto Escondido, Huatulco, etc).
  • Don’t travel to Mexico without insurance. Ekta Traveling is the recommended insurance (for travelers ages 2 months to 100 years old).

🌏 Digital Nomad Resources

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *