I visit Oaxaca Mexico every year and in this Oaxaca solo travel guide, I help you plan your trip to Oaxaca with non-generic tips based on personal experiences.
📬 Hi Trisha! I followed you on Instagram during Oaxaca day of the dead last week. Your stories are amazing and it made me think about visiting Oaxaca! I’ve only been to Cabo and in 2022, I am going to visit more of mainland Mexico. Do you have any tips on how to effectively navigate Oaxaca solo travel? Is Oaxaca safe for solo travelers? I am going to Puerto Escondido after so it would also be great if you can give me a sample itinerary. Thank you so much for all your tips and advice. I really appreciate it!– Joan McLain, USA
Thank you so much for following the blog! I enjoyed day of the dead so much and I am doing it again next year! Perhaps you’d like to come join me?
Oaxaca is not usually in people’s radars but it is one of my favorite cities in Mexico. There’s a strong force of magical vibe here that I didn’t feel in any other cities!
I did travel Oaxaca solo many times and have learned a lot of insider tips, especially with regards to Oaxaca safety. If you decide to push through Oaxaca, I can definitely connect you with my friends there.
Just send me an e-mail (or Instagram message) and I can make an intro. Good luck and let me know if you push through – I am so excited for you!
Scared to travel alone? Why not join my trips?
Change the way you travel and spend your money on trips that matter – trips that you will never forget. My group trips are highly focused on responsible travel, supporting local communities, and avoiding the obligatory touristic circuit.
💃🏼 Oaxaca solo travel experience
I did not think twice when I planned my first solo travel to Oaxaca Mexico.
After seeing those photos on Pinterest and Instagram, without a doubt, I booked a ticket and took care of the Oaxaca travel questions later (i.e. safety).
But there was a pitfall for not questioning and not planning. My first Oaxaca travel experience was really bad because I did not know it was the rainy season.
I visited at the end of August to early September and guess what? I spent most of my days indoors because of the rain!
Not to mention that was 2020 and you know, there was a global health crisis that was taking place. Everything was closed.
Bottom line: August and September are not good months to visit and that, honestly affected my first impression of Oaxaca Mexico.
I felt like it was a waste of money and I did not see anything but the co-working space of my hotel.
In April, I came back again with different weather and from there, my love story with Oaxaca Mexico started.
I don’t even know where to begin to tell you what made me so drawn to Oaxaca because there are so many layers and forms!
From that trip, I came back every year and I even organize my yearly day of the dead trips here to show travelers how Oaxaca Mexico is rich in everything.
Many of my friends ask me, why don’t you just move to Oaxaca if you are that in love and visiting frequently? I couldn’t answer this til now but one thing I know is that I love the feeling of going back and knowing the city in its entirety.
For now, it is just a great feeling to come back and who knows? I might leave my home in Cabo now and trade it for Oaxaca!
🇲🇽 Need help in planning your trip to Oaxaca City? Get on a 1-1 call with me and I’ll help you plan your itinerary, recommend affordable accommodations, and book cool things to do! [Book a call with Trisha]
❤️ Why I love Oaxaca solo travel
Oaxacan cuisine is the best in the world
First thing first: one of my favorite things to do in Oaxaca is EAT. While there are many great restaurants in Mexico, Oaxaca’s food scene is quite unique.
Known as the “land of seven moles,” Oaxaca boasts a vibrant culinary scene that elevates native ingredients like corn, chillies, and cacao into gastronomic wonders.
When I am here, I make sure I dedicate a budget for a tasting and pairing (around $120 USD for a 9-course meal) because I only not eat but also learn about the food culture that is unique to Oaxaca Mexico.
Fine dining in Oaxaca offers an elevated experience of this rich culinary tradition, serving ancestral recipes with a modern twist in sophisticated settings.
Accompanied by premium mezcal and fine wines, fine dining in Oaxaca provides not just a meal, but a deeply rooted cultural experience.
Some of the restaurants you shouldn’t miss include:
- Casa Oaxaca: best for Oaxacan cuisine
- Ancestral: great for those who want to know about old Oaxacan cooking techniques
- El Destilado: best 9-course meal pairing (with mezcal and wine)
- Los Danzantes: great interior and high-end Oaxacan food
World-class street food in Oaxaca
If you’re on a budget, you can eat street food in Oaxaca daily, and you won’t get tired of it. For $3 USD, you’ll get the taste of extraordinary food you won’t even think it’s from the streets!
From bustling markets to roadside stands, there’s always a distinct food smell that invites you to explore each street.
You cannot visit Oaxaca without trying a tlayuda—often dubbed the “Oaxacan pizza”—a crispy, large corn tortilla topped with refried beans, Oaxaca cheese, and various types of meat.
Tamales Oaxaqueños, steamed in banana leaves and filled with mole or salsa, are another must-try. If you are extra adventurous, you can try chapulines (fried grasshoppers), seasoned with chili and lime.
Along with traditional antojitos like memelas, empanadas, and tacos, the street food scene offers an authentic and delectable introduction to Oaxacan culture, making it an integral part of the local lifestyle.
Day of the Dead celebrations
During day of the dead in Oaxaca, the city transforms into a colorful tapestry of marigold flowers, sugar skulls, and intricately designed altars dedicated to deceased loved ones.
Families gather in cemeteries, decorating graves with candles, food, and mementos, while musicians play soulful melodies.
Every year, I am in Oaxaca for Day of the Dead (from 27 October – 03 November, to be exact) and it has become my yearly jam!
If you have the chance to travel to Oaxaca, choose these dates because this is the best way to combine seeing Oaxaca and a festive Mexican celebration. Join me on this trip!
Home of the mezcal
For the last 2 years, I have been addicted to mezcal. It first started in Oaxaca and then I learned that many other states in Mexico also have mezcal!
I have traveled to find and try these mezcales in states like Sonora, Baja California, and Guanajuato (to name a few). The next thing I knew, I enrolled myself on a Mezcal Masterclass to be a connoisseur!
Mezcal, the smoky, agave-based spirit, is synonymous with Oaxacan culture and has been produced in the region for centuries.
Unlike tequila, which is made exclusively from blue agave, mezcal can be made from various types of agave plants, allowing for a wide range of flavors and complexities.
Oaxaca is home to numerous mezcalerías and distilleries where one can learn about the meticulous craftsmanship that goes into each bottle—from the harvesting of the agave to the distillation process.
Oaxaca Mexico is honestly the most beautiful state
Apart from solo traveling in Oaxaca City, I have visited all the destinations in Oaxaca like Puerto Escondido, Huatulco, Zipolite, Mazunte, San Jose del Pacifico, and many other small towns in the state of Oaxaca.
I have been to all 32 states of Mexico and believe me, Oaxaca has them all (from beaches to mountains). The areas are quite diverse and driving around the state is easy and straightforward.
🗺️ Oaxaca Travel Map
🚌 Transportation guide for Oaxaca solo travel
Oaxaca is a walking city. You don’t need to use taxis unless you are going out of the city where mezcal tours take place (Santa Catarina de Minas).
Within the city, everything is walkable and walking here is never boring as you will always find yourself in colorful streets and uniquely beautiful narrow alleys.
If you are to take a taxi, only use yellow taxis as these are safer. Don’t get into the white ones! Another thing to remember is that Oaxaca does not use Uber but uses the app called Didi.
Should you need a private driver to drive you outside the city, get in touch with me and I’ll recommend you to local and trusted drivers that I always work with.
📍 Where to stay in Oaxaca City: safe areas
The trick to not paying for transportation is to stay in areas like Centro Historico near the Zocalo. This is the area where the famous landmarks are and it is very safe to walk at night.
If you are a little bit more adventurous and want a different Oaxaca vibe, stay in the neighborhoods of Jalatlaco and Xochimilco. Both are small areas but have ample accommodations, restaurants, cafes, and bars.
As a solo traveler, I would advice you to stay in a hostel to meet other travelers and find people to do activities with. Hostels in Oaxaca City start for as low as $15 USD (shared dorm).
🛏️ Best hotels in Oaxaca City
If you are not sure about the locations that I recommended above, here are some links for you to make sure these are the correct locations.
I do have my favorite hotels to stay in as I try each hotel on every visit to make sure I only recommend the best ones. If you don’t find anything you like above, just e-mail me and I’ll do my best to help!
🧭 Best things to do in Oaxaca City
When traveling solo to Oaxaca City, you need to engage in things to do that will enable you to meet other people. I have this list things to do in Oaxaca that you can check out so feel free to read that article!
Additionally, I support many communities in Oaxaca and I highly encourage you to book the tours below with them!
- Best adventurous tour: Hierve El Agua
- Archaeological activity: Monte Alban
- Best mezcal tour: Local palenque visit
- Best cultural tour: Oaxacan textiles in Teotitlan
🎟️ Use the code PSIMONMYWAY10 upon checkout when you decide to book these local tours above!
Anxious about Oaxaca solo travel? Join my trip!
Aside from my day of the dead trips, I organize yearly group trips to Oaxaca every May. Come join me and I’ll show you Oaxaca in a different way!
💰 Oaxaca travel budget (one person)
As we all know, traveling solo is always expensive so in this section, I am going to share with you my personal Oaxaca travel budget to give you an idea on how much to prepare.
You really don’t have to spend like this as you and I are different and have different priorities when traveling solo.
|1 glass of wine
|Hierve El Agua
I also know Oaxaca City well and most of the time, I don’t need to pay for street food/market tours or city tours.
If you know where to go, you don’t really need to pay but signing up for tours makes the experience different.
You can check my Oaxaca itinerary to have an idea of which tours you have to spend for or can do by yourself. I also have a free walking map in that guide!
🤝🏽 How to meet people in Oaxaca City
Join my yearly day of the dead tours
I do my day of the dead tours every year (for 15 people only) and most of the participants of my tours are solo travelers! If it’s your first time to visit Oaxaca, this can be a good warm-up for you to be comfortable traveling here.
It will be a week of fun and we will do many local things that are beyond the travel guides. We will also be joined by my local friends in Oaxaca whom you’ll surely get along with!
I can introduce you to my local friends in Oaxaca!
If you can’t join my day of the dead tour, I can connect you with my friends (Mexicans, Americans, Canadians, and Europeans) in Oaxaca.
I understand that when traveling alone in a foreign city, you may feel more comfortable by knowing people there. Just get in touch with me via Instagram or Tiktok and I’ll hook you up!
Join Oaxaca Social Meet-Ups on Whatsapp
Not only that you can meet people here to hang out (or do tours with) but they announce daily happenings and events in the city.
Most of the members here are locals and are very generous with information. This group helps me a lot with just about anything!
✈️ Oaxaca Travel Guide
Best time to visit Oaxaca City
The best time to visit Oaxaca for favorable weather conditions is during the dry season, which spans from November to April.
During these months, Oaxaca experiences less rainfall and more sunny days, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities and sightseeing.
Average daytime temperatures typically range from 22°C to 28°C (72°F to 82°F), offering a comfortable climate for exploring the city’s colonial architecture, local markets, and surrounding archaeological sites like Monte Alban.
Flights to Oaxaca City
There are no direct flights to Oaxaca City. You will always stop in Mexico City if you are coming from the USA, Canada, Europe, or Australia.
From Mexico City, you can either take another flight to Oaxaca which departs every hour daily. This is a popular route so there will always be a flight (around $100 USD one-way).
If you are traveling in Mexico City before your trip to Oaxaca, you can always take the bus which also departs frequently. The bus duration is around 5 hours and costs around $50 USD.
You can opt for the night bus to save on accommodations! This also makes the travel faster since there is lighter traffic in the evenings, let alone after midnight.
The only issue is you will arrive in the wee hours of the morning in Oaxaca but taking the yellow taxis from the bus terminal is safe.
Oaxaca City Airport Transfer
Renting a car in Oaxaca
If you are just visiting Oaxaca City, you don’t really need to rent a car. However, if you have plans to going to nearby destinations like Puerto Escondido and Huatulco, renting a car is a must!
Driving in Oaxaca is safe (I’ve done this many times!) and the rental cars are cheap, starting from $25 USD per day.
Oaxca travel insurance
DO NOT travel to Oaxaca City solo without travel insurance. If you can’t afford insurance, it absolutely means you can’t afford to travel as well.