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P.S. I’m On My Way’s local things to do in Oaxaca, Mexico

Looking for the best things to do in Oaxaca? I visit three times a year and this list is according to my local contacts. I love visiting Oaxaca and through the years, I have collected the most unique things to do.

📬 Reader Mail: Hi Trisha! I followed your Instagram stories in Oaxaca. I loved it and you made me want to go! I am planning my trip now but somehow didn’t see any things to do in Oaxaca article on your blog?

I am a solo traveler so I would also love for you to connect me with people to meet. I read in your other post that you can introduce me to your local friends. That would be very much appreciated!

Thank you for all the work that you do. Your articles about Mexico have served as my guide. They are so complete so thank you again for your service!

-Hazel Hayman, Tulsa, OK

Dear Hazel,

Thank you so much for being here! Oaxaca is one of my favorite destinations in Mexico. I surely spend day of the dead here all the time and during the summer, visit it together with Puerto Escondido.

I love this so much and I still haven’t figured out if I want to move here! My dogs love the beach so living in Cabo suits us better at the moment. If you ever come to Baja California, feel free to send me a message and I will show you around!

Anyway, here are the best local things to do in Oaxaca. I update this regularly so make sure to save it for your trip. Good luck! I am in Oaxaca every October for day of the dead. Join my trip if you like!


Is Oaxaca a safe place to visit?

I would say that Oaxaca travel is for advanced solo travelers. Even though I travel to Oaxaca solo all the time, whenever I arrive, I always have local friends so I don’t really feel alone.

Oaxaca is a city accessible on foot. You can walk everywhere here but my advice is to take a taxi after 9:00 PM. Yellow taxis are safer so avoid taking the white ones. They don’t use Uber in Oaxaca but you can download the Didi app.

As usual, always be mindful of your belongings and don’t buy any drugs in Oaxaca. These are the two important things you need to know to ensure your safety while traveling here.

And don’t worry too much about it. You’ll only get into trouble if you are at the wrong place at the wrong time. Again, I feel safe in Oaxaca because I have local friends so safety is really personal and subjective.

What part of Oaxaca should I visit?

Oaxaca is also the name of the state so don’t confuse these two terms. The city is called Oaxaca de Juarez or Oaxaca City so if you want to be more specific with your search, use these two terms.

Oaxaca is not a city to skip like most big cities we avoid. This is really one of the best cities I’ve been to with its colors, vibe, and super-rich culture! I never get tired of Oaxaca even if I visit frequently.

As for the state, I did a 10-day Oaxaca road trip that covered Oaxaca City, San Jose del Pacifico, Huatulco, Mazunte, Zipolite, and Puerto Escondido. I feel like this is my most favorite Mexico road trip of all time because Oaxaca is a state that has a lot to offer!

You might also like other things to do in Mexico

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P.S. I’m On My Way’s 35 local things to do in Oaxaca City

#1: Join Oaxaca Social Meet Ups

Since the reader mail for this topic is a solo traveler, I figured the top priority on these best things to do in Oaxaca list is to know where to socialize.

There is a Whatsapp group in Oaxaca that I truly love because it’s packed with information on the current events in the city. Every day, the moderators and members share the best things to do in Oaxaca in real-time!

Need more info for your trip? Check out the complete Oaxaca guide

things to do in oaxaca

From events to traveling with other people, you will meet individuals here who are experts on Oaxaca travel. This is my go-to group whenever I want to be updated and most of the moderators here are my friends!

Alternatively, you can also join the Oaxaca Digital Nomads Whatsapp group if you are a digital nomad visiting the city. This group is quite similar but is focused on remote work and living in Oaxaca tips.

👉🏽 Join Oaxaca Social Meet Ups on Whatsapp

#2: Go on a mezcal tour outside of Oaxaca City

I had the pleasure of visiting a local family mezcal producer in Santa Catarina de Minas, just an hour away from Oaxaca. From the parents to the children, the whole family is involved in producing quality mezcal in the region.

While there are many mezcal tours in Oaxaca, I consider this the most authentic one because the family really opens up their home to you. I was taken to the agave field where I got to see their big field of wild agave.

They also made me plant my own mezcal and I named my plant after their son! After the tour, we had lunch in the middle of the agave field and the meal was cooked by the family. This is actually one of the best things to do in Oaxaca!

Please note that mezcal is originally from Oaxaca so don’t skip any mezcal tour during your visit! Who knows, you might end up liking it more than tequila as I do!

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for Oaxaca mezcal tour

#3: Textile workshop in Teotitlan del Valle

One of the most local things to do in Oaxaca is to learn about their textile industry. Oaxaca is very famous for this so if you want to dive deeper into this culture, this is a great activity. You can even bring your kids!

You’ll never find this kind of tour outside of Oaxaca because these textiles are originally from this state. All the souvenirs you buy in all the markets in Mexico are from here!

Read: How a 10-day trip turned to living in Oaxaca

There are 8 co-ops of families in the textile industry of Teotitlan. I visited Josefina and Javier’s family who are the leaders of the co-op. They introduced me to their old school machinery and even served one of the most original meals I had in Mexico!

Of course, I couldn’t help myself and bought stuff (including a handmade yoga mat). Take advantage of shopping here because it’s way cheaper than the markets in Oaxaca City!

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for the sacred Oaxaca textile tour

#4: Celebrate the day of the dead in Oaxaca!

I visit Oaxaca every day of the dead and if there’s a chance for you to go next year, contact me and let’s go together! I also do day of the dead trips in Oaxaca so let me know if you want to join my group!

Anyway, the day of the dead in Oaxaca is absolutely not to miss. This is the capital of dia de muertos in the country and there is no other place to celebrate it but here!

During this week, the city of Oaxaca transforms into a festive town. All restaurants and establishments decorate their facade. There will be events left and right, you’ll be overwhelmed with the things to do in Oaxaca during this season!

Personally, I felt physically exhausted every time I celebrate the day of the dead in Oaxaca but it only happens once a year so I always glide through it!

👉🏽 Read the full guide on Oaxaca day of the dead

#5: Visit the marigold fields

Cultivos El Viejo is a marigold farm located in Zimatlan, just 45 minutes from Oaxaca City. This is where all those colorful photos you see on Instagram are taken.

They open their doors every year for guests to visit (and take photos) from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM and 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM. Sadly, the. last day they allow it is November 24th because the flowers need to be delivered in many parts of Oaxaca by the 25th. I will definitely come ahead of time next year!

things to do in oaxaca

There is no entrance fee to enter these fields but they accept donations. You can also buy flowers from them directly to support what they do.

Please be careful not to step on the plants and move with caution while you are inside the farm! Also, don’t do crazy Instagram photos that will damage the flowers.

#6: Walk around the city

You’ll probably do this every day and won’t get tired of it. Before your trip to Oaxaca, you’ve probably seen all the colorful photos on Instagram and Pinterest — they are as real as they are on those pictures!

There is so much culture on the streets of Oaxaca and everything looks so pretty! There are cute cafes everywhere and there are many many restaurants that you can try.

things to do in oaxaca

The streets of Oaxaca are super pedestrian-friendly so you won’t have to worry about taking a taxi. In fact, it will slow you down if you took taxis!

The best area to start is the Andador Turistico and from there, let your feet take you to places. I promise you won’t get to a dead end.

#7: Visit the Jalatlaco neighborhood

Oaxaca’s Jalatlaco neighborhood is my favorite area in Oaxaca. I usually go here during the evenings to hang out in bars and go to events. This neighborhood is really small but there’s a lot to do in here!

There are no fixed events in Jalatlaco but you’ll probably find that if you join the Oaxaca Social Meet Ups Whatsapp group (see things to do in Oaxaca #1).

things to do in oaxaca

Every time I receive a text that there’s an event in Jalatlaco, I automatically go because fun is always guaranteed in Jalatlaco! But be careful if you go here at night – always take a taxi. It’s a 40-min walk from downtown.

The streets of Jalatlaco are very colorful you’ll spend hours wandering around here. There are also a few specialty coffee places and lots of street food at night!

#8: Go on an authentic cacao tour

Oaxaca is also known for cacaco and my friend Chris (from Canada) is one of the expats who fell in love with Oaxaca’s cacao culture. He now does his own tours in Oaxaca City!

Chris will take you to the markets in Oaxaca and introduce you to the chocolatiers of the state. In this tour, you will get to try pre-hispanic cacao drinks, local seeds, rare types of chocolates, and heirloom maize foods.

things to do in oaxaca

This is not a cacao ceremony but an actual tour around the city. Chris can definitely recommend cacao ceremonies to you if you are into it. He’s the right guy to talk to!

The cacao tour runs from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm but if you want a private tour, you can definitely request special hours for your group.

#9: Eat at the meat tunnel

Okay, I didn’t make this term up. But I was laughing when I first heard it. The meal tunnel is literally an indoor barbecue ‘restaurant’ in Oaxaca. Well, it’s not a restaurant per se. Let’s say it’s a big eatery inside the Mercado 20 de Noviembre.

You won’t see this right away when you enter the market. There is another entrance at the back part and it’s not hard to miss. Just follow where the smoke leads you!

things to do in oaxaca

In here, you will find many stalls selling different kinds of meat. From chorizo to chicken, they have it all so choose wisely! They will grill it upon order so you’re not going to have bad meat here. It’s super safe.

There is also a section where you can order the sides (rice, salads, corn, etc). Please note that these plates are big so make sure to go here with your group. I went here by myself and didn’t get to finish the plate!

#10: Try the best tlayudas in town (golden tip)

At the corner of Mina and Bustamante streets in Oaxaca, you will find the best tlayuda in town. Honestly, I’ve tried many tlayudas in different parts of Mexico and this is the best, no kidding!

Tlayuda is a popular Oaxacan dish and you can’t really find it anywhere apart from Mexico City. It is a large, thin, and crunch tortilla with beans, cabbage, avocado, Oaxacan cheese, salsa, and meat (usually beef).

This stall is always full but they work so fast they are able to cater to everyone in an organized manner. The stall is super small and I was so amazed to see how systematized they were – it’s like I’m in a tlayuda factory on the streets!

These tlayudas are big so it’s also for sharing. They only cost $80 pesos ($4 USD) and almost 4 people can share them! Order the famous tasajo – this is my favorite!

#11: Go to the markets

Oaxaca is home to textiles and the best cuisine in the world so its markets are usually bustling with both. Within Oaxaca, there are already many markets namely:

➡️ Mercado Benito Juarez: this is a covered marketplace where you can buy food, textiles, and souvenirs. It is one of the biggest markets in Oaxaca.

➡️ Mercado 20 de Noviembre: The meat tunnel is here. This market has more food than souvenirs. You can buy Oaxacan cheese here and other Oaxacan food products.

things to do in oaxaca

➡️ Mercado de Artesanias de Oaxaca: If you want a bigger selection of souvenirs, this is the market to go to!

It is highly encouraged to visit them all since they are very distinct. You can do this on your own but you can also sign up for a market tour in Oaxaca. I discovered a lot of other markets that are not on the Internet when I joined this tour!

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for Oaxaca markets tour

#12: Visit Hierve El Agua

Hierve El Agua Oaxaca is one of the weird natural wonders of the world. I’ve never seen anything like it! It’s quite a drive to get there but it’s definitely worth seeing.

You can enjoy great views, hike to see the waterfalls up-close and even swim in the natural waters! You can easily spend half a day here but take note of the best time to visit.

After closing in March 2020, Hierve El Agua is now open from October 2021. I visited on November 1, 2021, and I am really happy to finally see this beauty!

There are new routes, new rules, and new entrance fees to visit Hierve El Agua and I will discuss them in my Hierve El Agua re-opening guide.

👉🏽 Click here to read the full guide on visiting Hierve El Agua

#13: Shopping and local life at the Oaxaca’s zocalo

Many major cities in Mexico have a zocalo. In Mexico, zocalo means a public square or a plaza. Oaxaca’s zocalo is where you will see local culture.

You can buy ice cream at the corner, sit on the plaza, and people watch. There are many restaurants in the zocalo facing the plaza and it’s really a good spot to observe local culture.

things to do in oaxaca

There is also a big stretch of local markets in the zocalo (outdoor). You will see the exact same things that are being sold at the Oaxacan markets but it’s just nice to walk around and take a look. The experience in the zocalo markets is very different than the indoor markets.

The Zocalo is also a famous meeting point especially for friends traveling together. This is also where most tours depart since it’s very centric.

📍Click here to get directions to Oaxaca’s Zocalo

#14: Los Amantes Mezcaleria – a super cool mezcal concept bar

I was really surprised when I discovered this bar. I love this place so much! It has big doors and when you enter, there are benches on both sides while the bar is in the center.

I’ve met so many people who became my friends just by hanging out here! This place has over 50 types of mezcal and they’re not cheap. A shot costs $10 USD while in normal bars, it’s only $4 USD.

things to do in oaxaca

Of course, the quality of mezcal at Los Amantes is incomparable to generic brands served in bars. I think you’ll come here for the experience because it’s not really the typical bar that you’d go to.

They also have a rooftop and this is where I’ve experienced one of the best parties in Oaxaca. If you’re into electronic music, this place brings a lot of cool DJs for their events.

📍Click here to get directions to Los Amantes Mezcal

#15: Fine dining restaurants in Oaxaca

While there are many great street foods in Oaxaca, as the food capital of the country, it is also home to the best fine dining restaurants in Latin America,

My favorite is Los Danzantes which is a cool spot for brunch. The meal starts at $15 USD and I love the ambiance of this place. I can sit here for hours (like I did twice during my October 2021 visit).

things to do in oaxaca

There are also many rooftop restaurants in Oaxaca where you can see the view of the Oaxaca Cathedral. I recently discovered the newly opened Vaca Marina where I also went for 2 different brunches.

I also had the pleasure to spend $145 USD on a 12-course meal (with drinks pairing) at Criollo. I wouldn’t say it’s worth the money but it’s definitely worth the experience. Criollo is owned by one of the most renowned chef, Enrique Olvera who also owns Pujol in Mexico City.

#16: Attend a cooking class

Cooking classes are super essential when visiting Oaxaca. In my experience, there are many cooking classes to sign up for and they are all very generous with the recipes.

This is a super fun activity because you won’t just cook – the chefs will take you to the market to buy ingredients that you will use in the class.

This is also a great opportunity to know who the local (and trusted) sources in the markets are. With this, I always know where to get my cacao, tortilla, mole sauce, etc. It’s such a great way to gain contacts!

The dishes vary but the most commonly used in cooking classes is the mole, which is very iconic of the Oaxacan cuisine. Honestly, I never thought I can do the mole on my own but when I got home, I was able to pull it off because the cooking classes in Oaxaca are super good at explaining it!

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for Oaxaca cooking class

#17: Go to Convivio to meet people!

Listen up solo travelers, if you find yourself wanting to go out one evening and don’t know where to go (or who to go out with), simply pop in Convivio and you will meet the coolest local kids of the city!

I never had a time when I went to Convivio and not ended up hanging out with everyone. Convivio is actually a co-working space during the day and this is where you’ll find the fastest Internet in Oaxaca.

Related: All roads lead to Oaxaca – Mexico’s new digital nomad hub

While I enjoy fast Internet speeds here during the day, at night, Convivio converts into a meet-up space with live music, DJs, and food!

This is usually a pre-game space and every time I come here by myself, I always end up going to other places with the whole group. It’s really a great place to connect with travelers and locals especially if you are flying solo.

📍 Click here to get directions to Convivio

#18: Day trip to Monte Alban

Monte Alban is one of the things not to miss in Oaxaca. It is a pre-Columbian archaeological site located in Santa Cruz Xoxocotlan south of Oaxaca.

It’s just a 20-minute drive from Oaxaca Centro and it is highly recommended to sign up for a guided tour to understand this site better. I tried to do this on my own before and had to do it again because I didn’t understand a thing!

things to do in oaxaca

Mexico is known for its archaeological sites like Teotihuacan but Monte Alban is distinct. Here, you will learn a lot about the Zapotec and Mixtec cultures of Mexico.

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for Monte Alban day trips

#19: Oaxaca food tour

In support of the local community and with the goal to showcase the abundant and extensive culture of Oaxaca, the Me Encanta Oaxaca was born.

This food walking tour consists of a history lecture, food tasting, market visit, and stops at tourist spots. Managed by 2 passionate and knowledgeable locals, Betsaida and Javier, this cultural exposure is something that would make you appreciate the beautiful town of Oaxaca.

things to do in oaxaca

The tour starts at around 9 in the morning and departs from the Santo Domingo Church and returns to the same point after the tour.

In this well-paced 4.5 hour activity, a variety of more than 2 dozen dishes and drinks from local cooks and culinary artisans can be sampled. Some of them are empanadas, moles, chapulines, tacos, pozole, mezcal, tlayudas, tamales, tejate, dulces, and many more!

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for Oaxaca food tour

#20: Get to know street art through a bike ride

Oaxaca is one city lined with street murals, graffiti, and posters. What better way to appreciate these than a nice bike tour!

If you are an art enthusiast, you will surely love this activity that’s filled with backstories and insights of the artwork and the artists in the community. On this 4-hour tour, you’re not only going to experience the art, but also Oaxaca’s history, culture, and heritage.

living in oaxaca

The fees you pay are inclusive of the certified guide, insurance, use of bicycle, helmet, bottled water, snacks, and entries to workshops. This tour can accommodate up to a maximum of 8 travelers.

You will be departing from Bicibella Oaxaca in downtown Oaxaca. You’ll be passing by the neighborhoods of Jalatlaco, Centro, Xochimilco and you’ll be surprised to see murals that are upcoming. In your journey, there will be stops along the way at workshops and important spots.

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for Oaxaca street art tour

#21: Visit the Oaxaca Cathedral

If you’re looking for an amazing cultural experience, consider spending some time in Oaxaca Cathedral. With its beautiful architecture and stunning stained glass windows, this magnificent cathedral is one of the most important religious sites in all of Mexico and it’s well worth a visit.

One of the oldest cathedrals in Mexico, it is located next to the city square and is in front of the plaza. The facade of the structure follows baroque style.

things to do in oaxaca

The church dates back to the 16th century, but it was reconstructed between 1724 to 1730 after the 1714 earthquake in the country.

In the daytime, you will see the volcanic green stone element of it. The ruins look unadorned and simple. In the evening, they light the cathedral up and it turns out really eye-catching.

It’s not only a place of worship, this site also holds a collection of paintings and important religious remains.

📍 Click here to get directions to the Oaxaca Cathedral

#22: Go to the Oaxaca Ethnobotanical garden

Sitting on more than 2 acres of land, this famous public garden showcases medicinal plants, trees, ceremonial plants, traditional food crops, flowers, endangered plants, and all the plants native to Oaxaca and Mexico.

There’s an interesting history behind its formation. This former military ground was initially planned to be converted as a luxury hotel.

It took the courage of Francisco Toledo, Alejandro de Ávila B, and the Pro-Oax members to get the approval of the government and establish the Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca in the late 90s.

It’s not just a garden. It’s a place where you can immerse yourself in the rich culture of the Oaxacan people. There are not only a variety of sights, but also a diverse range of scents for the visitors to experience in this tour.

Open from Mondays to Saturdays, the 1-hour guided tours are available in English, Spanish, French, and German languages. The guides are well-versed in explaining the history and practical functions of the plants.

#23: Visit Mitla

Located about 25 miles from the city of Oaxaca, Mitla was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the late 80s.

Mitla’s name comes from Nahuatl “Mitl” meaning either “place between two hills” or “middle.” It is an archaeological site that has been inhabited for over 2,500 years and contains some of the most well-preserved examples of Zapotec architecture anywhere.

In this half-day tour, visitors can explore many different types of buildings including ceremonial centers, ball courts, residences and more.

There are three stops in the whole journey. The first one is at the Teotitlan del Valle which is a family workshop. Here, you’ll get to witness how wool rugs are made.

The next stop is at the Zona Arqueologica de Mitla. You’ll be amazed by the monuments, courtyards, frets– all pre-Hispanic art. The last stop is at the Santa Maria del Tule. Here, you can take a photo with the stoutest tree in the world!

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for Mitla, El Tule and Hierve El Agua combo

#24: Visit El Tule, Tlacolula, and Teotilan

In this 8-hour tour, you get to have the best of Mitla, Tule, Tlacolula and Teotilán. In Mitla, you’ll get the opportunity to explore the ruins of this ancient city and see how it has evolved over time.

In Tule, you’ll get to witness a remarkable tree that is an important part of the history and culture of this city. This giant tree can live for up to 2,000 years and is a source of food, medicine, and shelter for the people of Oaxaca. Taking a photo with it is a must!

In the small town of Tlacolula, you’ll be passing by Santa Maria de la Asuncion, the main church of the town that’s known for its baroque-designed chapel. You may want to whisper a prayer and make a silent wish.

In Teotitlan, you’ll be introduced to one of Oaxaca’s pride, the cochineal grana, a vibrant dye made from the body of small insects that live on cacti.

What’s included in the fees you pay are the air-conditioned vehicle, professional driver, hotel pickup (selected hotels only), and the guide.

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for El tule, Tlacolula, and Teotitlan combo tour

#25: Alebrije Painting workshop

For art and culture aficionados, here’s another tour you shouldn’t miss! In this tour, you’ll be taken to a street art dotted town called Arrazola.

Arrazola is known as the Land of the Alebrijes and is located about 4 miles from the city. It’s the origin of alebrijes creation. Alebrijes are figurines inspired by Mexican folktales and mythology. There are people, animals, objects, and mythical creatures.

In this 4-hour activity, you’ll learn about this unique craft and have the chance to observe a family of artisans form these wonderful alebrijes.

This family has been producing these nice figurines for more than 3 decades and they will show you the whole process, from the start to end.

You’ll even get to paint one yourself! You get to take it home as an unforgettable keepsake.
Included in the fees are paint, brushes, bottled water, snacks, private transportation, and the small animal figure to paint yourself.

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for Alebrije workshop

#26: Learn how to make tortillas and salsas

Oaxaca is not just home to many unique traditions and vibrant communities, but also a haven for tasty food. One thing that you cannot miss out on when visiting Oaxaca is tortillas, nixtamal and salsas.

The tortilla was first introduced by the Spanish to this region and they were originally called “Tlaxcalli” or “tlasalli”. They are now referred as “Tortillas”.

things to do in oaxaca

Nixtamal refers to corn which is soaked in water for at least 18 hours, then cooked with lime (calcium hydroxide) until it becomes a paste called masa. This masa can be used for many different things such as tortillas, tamales, tlayudas or quesadillas.

This 5-hour interactive workshop includes going to the market, buying the ingredients, lecture on the process of preparing the dishes, and then cook the three-course meals. The sample menu includes tortillas, salsa molcajeteada, memelas, tetelas, tlacoyos.

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for salsa making workshop

#27: Follow the mezcal path

If you’d like to experience an extensive journey in understanding Oaxaca, then this 9-hour mezcal path tour might just be what you need! It exposes you further into the archeology, environment, and heritage of this wonderful state and country.

The first stop is at the Santa Maria del Tule where you’ll get to see in the flesh and take a selfie with the widest tree in the world. The next stop is at the Teotitlan del Valle and this will take close to an hour.

things to do in oaxaca

Here, you’ll learn the different sources and processes of dyeing that have been practiced since ancient times.

Do you want to savor agave and mezcal? You’ll have a great time to do so at the next stop which is at the Parador Turistico Don Agave. You’ll discover how it’s made!

The final stop is at the Zona Arqueologica de Mitla. With the professionalism and expertise of the guides, you will appreciate Oaxaca even more!

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for the mezcal path

#28: Sign up for a Oaxaca city tour

Known for its colonial architecture, vibrant culture, and delicious food, Oaxaca is one of the most interesting and beautiful cities in Mexico. There’s something for everyone here, from historical sites to trendy bars and restaurants. If you’re planning a trip to Mexico, be sure to add Oaxaca City to your itinerary!

In this 4.5-hour guided tour, you’ll get to visit the Temple of Santo Domingo de Guzman, Oaxaca Regional Museum, Garden of the Constitution, 20 de Noviembre Market, and Benito Juarez Market.

best hostels in oaxaca

The inclusions in the fees are the local guide and hotel pick up. It’s highly recommended that you do this on your first day to get a glimpse of what this beautiful state has to offer.

This tour serves as a great introduction! The tour guides are educated about these places and are conversant. You may ask further questions to them. There’s plenty of walking involved in the itinerary but it is all worth it!

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for Oaxaca City tour

#29: Apoala and Turquoise Lagoon

If you are a nature lover and appreciate landscape adventures, you’ll have an amazing time at the Apoala and Turquoise Lagoon.
Two of the most popular destinations in Mexico, these two beautiful spots are perfect for some time away from the city.

The water is calm and clear, making it great for snorkeling, kayaking, and hiking around the lagoon. The water turns turquoise– that’s what makes it unique and alluring!

things to do in oaxaca

In this 7-hour tour, the itinerary includes a walk through the forest trail and a stop at the main waterfall. Afterwards, you’ll be brought to the spectacular lagoon where you can swim, take photos, relax, and delight in the stunning scenery.

Fees include bottled water, all fees and taxes, and air-conditioned transportation. Since it’s quite a heavy activity, this tour is not recommended to those with heart problems, travelers with back issues, and those with complicated medical conditions.

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for Apoala tour

#30: Organic mezcal tasting

What better way to learn about the heritage and tradition of Oaxaca than enjoying its collection of mezcaleria! Tasting organic mezcales is a traditional activity developed by Etnofood and Ezpaciomezcal to promote the traditional culture of mezcal and support consumption of local products. The hosts are a group of enthusiastic and vibrant young people.

In this 1-hour tour, you’ll get to taste the three different mezcals.You’ll discover how they are made and you’ll be exposed to the diversity of its flavors.

things to do in oaxaca

In the sample menu for starters, you’ll get to taste mezcal that warms you up for the next ones. For the main, there are 2 from Oaxaca organic culture and 2 focused on the best products in town.

A ceremonial mezcal awaits you for dessert. You’ll relish the intensity of the flavors and fragrances of these mezcales! What’s included in the fees are the beverages and the sensory materials.

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for organic mezcal tasting tour

#31: Bromeliad Forest

A sight to behold, the Bromeliad Forest in Oaxaca resides within the Sierra Madre Mountains and is home to the largest bromeliad collection in the world.

This natural landmark has one of the most diverse collections of flora on earth. This lush ecosystem provides refuge to many animals and offers travelers an opportunity for outdoor recreation with hiking trails.

things to do in oaxaca

In this full day tour, there are two stops. The first one is at Las Ánimas where you’ll get to sip this tasty Oaxacan chocolate drink, eat the famous Serrano bread, and take pleasure in mountain fruits.

Also, you’ll learn about how traditional Mexican wooden utensils are crafted. You’ll get to see unusual plants and plenty of birds when you take part in this entire guided tour through this magical place.

At the next stop, The Museo De San Pedro Nexicho, you’ll gain an understanding of the rich history, culture, and structures of pre-Hispanic Oaxaca.

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#32: Zapotec Village tour

Oaxaca is known for its diverse culture, which is evident in the food, language, and art. One of the most popular tourist destinations in Oaxaca is the Zapotec village.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Zapotec way of life, or just want to experience a beautiful and peaceful village away from the tourists, this tour is definitely worth a visit.

In this full day artisan tour, you’ll be introduced to Ndavaa, a cooperative consisting of enthusiastic crafts people who make shoes using ancient techniques.

things to do in oaxaca

Moreover, you’ll be stuffed with authentic tortilla, homemade lunch, chocolate drink, yam bread, roasted beans, mezcal and Zapotec fresh food. You’ll also see shops in the village that are essential to the everyday life of the locals.

What’s included in the fees are private transportation, water, snacks, explanations in English and Spanish, breakfast, lunch., and the entry/admission to Ndavaa. The guide makes sure that you experience something different, personal, and unforgettable.

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for Zapotec village tour

#33: Cooking class + Casa Oaxaca Visit

Have you always been curious about how Mexicans produce their corn-based food products? Well, you found the right tour!
In this 6-hour activity, you’ll be acquainted with the famous Nixtamalization, the traditional process or technique of extracting corn making it ready for dough use. You’ll learn history and the heritage of this practice.

You’ll be involved in a session of preparing your own tortillas, memelas, tetelas and more and you get to taste them, too!
The sample menu consists of memelas served aciento, beans, and cheese for starters.

things to do in oaxaca

For the main course, you’ll have empanadas and tetelas y quesadillas served with a mix of salad, quelites, chessee, mushrooms and sauce. A seasonal dessert will be served last.

You’ll also be brought to San Agustin Center of Arts (CASA) and visit the old handmade paper factory. Used to be an abandoned building, CASA is considered the first ecological arts hub in Latin America and was founded by painter Francisco Toledo.

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#34: Spend a day with a local

Oaxaca, Mexico is a beautiful place that is rich in culture. If you’re looking to explore all that the area has to offer,a great way to do it is by spending a day with a local.

They can show you around their favorite spots and give you an inside look into life in Oaxaca. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget!

things to do in oaxaca

In this 3.5-hour tour, you’ll be introduced to Besy Morales, an Oaxacan local and she will tour you around the streets and markets of the city. She’s well-conversant, active and engaging in handling this tour that you will feel like you’re a local yourself.

You’ll get to relish more than 20 dishes and drinks. If you want to know more about the flavors and spices used in the dishes, you may ask her further as she knows this really well. You’ll definitely understand the local perspective after this educational and fun tour!

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#35: Sierra de Juarez from Oaxaca

One of the most important biomes in the country providing water for many sources, the Sierra de Juarez are a group of mountains in southern Mexico.

The Sierra de Juarez offers beautiful scenery as well as an abundance of wildlife. In this 6-hour tour, there are 3 stops.

First is at the Las Animas, a town famous for its craftsmanship of the grinder. This is a traditional Mexican wooden utensil for whisking drinks.

things to do in oaxaca

The next stop is at the Centro Ecoturístico La Cumbre Ixtepeji. This is an ecotourism park in the middle of a forest. It houses ancient trees and stunning terrains.

The last stop is at La Cascada. Here, you’ll get to see a variety of plants while walking the trail. Also, you’ll be mesmerized by the Palo Hueco, a beautiful waterfall surrounded by lush vegetation.

There are many potential activities available in this area including hiking, camping, climbing, biking into various parts of these mountain ranges.

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things to do in oaxaca

Carol Colborn

Wednesday 15th of December 2021

Hierve al Agua is truly its gem. But you found so much to do in Oaxaca! Mezcal and other tours. The best tlayudas. Plenty of markets. Etc.

Roy Subhashish

Monday 13th of December 2021

I am in love with marigold fields and would not like to miss the opportunity when in Oaxaca. I am amazed at the different options to look at while being there. The best way for me to explore would be to walk around. Attending a cookery class would be interesting.

Puloma Bhattacharya

Sunday 12th of December 2021

A wonderful post on Oaxaca and great place to explore. The marigold fields, the Hierva El Agua and the archeological sites are amazing 😍


Saturday 11th of December 2021

Great tips for exploring Oaxaca. I spent a few days there years ago and always wanted to go back for a few weeks. The Mezcal Tour and the Cocoa Tour must be wonderful and interesting experiences!


Friday 10th of December 2021

It's great that you have so many friends in Oaxaca and you can visit so often. You seem to really like it there a lot and that's not surprising, considering the city is so easy to explore and it has so many attractions. Jalatlaco neighborhood would surely be my favorite neighborhood too. I would also like to take that trip to Monte Alban. I'm in love with archeological sites like that.