Ignite your senses with this exhilarating five-day tour that immerses you in the vibrant culture of Oaxaca. Begin by savoring local flavors at Mercado de la Merced, then master the art of Oaxacan cooking in a workshop led by community chefs. Head to the Oaxaca Valley, where you'll marvel at the vistas from Monte Albán's historic archaeological zone, before visiting the cherished artisan workshops which produce the colorful and ornate handicrafts that define Oaxaca—and even painting your own!


  • Sample Oaxacan empanadas and hot chocolate while exploring Oaxaca City
  • Learn to make tamales and mole from legendary chefs in a rural cooking workshop 
  • Visit traditional handicraft and textile workshops in the Valle de Tlacolula
  • Explore the incredible views from the archaeological zone at Monte Albán
  • Partake in the cultural tradition of painting sculptures at the Alebrijes Workshop

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Oaxaca City, Food & Walking Tour Oaxaca
Day 2 Attend a Rural Cooking Workshop in Oaxaca Valley Oaxaca
Day 3 Visit Embroidery & Textile Workshops in Valle de Tlacolula Oaxaca
Day 4 Tour Monte Albán, Visit the Alebrijes Workshop Oaxaca
Day 5 Explore Oaxaca in the Morning, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Oaxaca City, Food & Walking Tour

A colorful street in sunny Oaxaca City, Mexico

Welcome to the spirited southern Mexican state of Oaxaca! You'll be picked up at the airport and taken to your hotel in Oaxaca City to settle in and prepare for the exciting day ahead. Step into the lively streets and kick off your journey with a walking food tour starting at Mercado de la Merced. Relish oven-baked empanadas and venture through the colorful Jalalatco neighborhood, indulging in Oaxacan tacos on García Vigil Street. Your adventure leads to the Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán, adorned with artistry from Puebla's finest artisans—beautiful to admire from the outside, but be sure to head inside to see the Seventh Tomb of Albán.

When you're done exploring, cool down with a refreshing ice cream and continue through the Baroque facades and mansions of Calle Macedonio Alcalá until you end at Plaza de la Constitución. Here, you can explore local markets and boutique shops, pop into creative art galleries, and, most importantly, savor Oaxacan hot chocolate from one of the street's cafés. Say goodnight to the city before returning to your hotel for a restful night; tomorrow, there's much more eating to do!

Day 2: Attend a Rural Cooking Workshop in Oaxaca Valley

Rural cooking workshop in Oaxaca
A woman handling a tortilla at a rural cooking workshop in Oaxaca

Today, you'll spend the day in Teotitlán del Valle or Santa Ana del Valle, Zapotec communities in the Oaxaca Valley. During your visit, you'll meet with the comideras in the local market, women recognized for their culinary skills and responsible for preparing feasts for community celebrations. These women will teach all about preparing local Oaxacan cuisine.

Once you arrive, you'll start the rural cooking class by heading to the market to learn about the ingredients used to make traditional flavors. Afterward, you'll go to their home to learn how to cook delicious Oaxacan dishes. The menu of the day consists of a soup, a green mole with pumpkin seed, a dessert (apples or tejocotes in sweet, chocolate tamale), and a drink of Oaxacan coffee or chocolate, all made by hand with the help of traditional cooking tools like the molcajete. ¡Buen provecho!

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Day 3: Visit Embroidery & Textile Workshops in Valle de Tlacolula

Embroidered rugs and textiles in Oaxaca
Embroidered rugs and textiles are one of Oaxaca's most famous exports

Now that you've gotten a "taste" of Oaxacan foods, it's time to discover another side of this state's vibrant culture (and economy) by learning about the art of Oaxacan textiles. Start the morning with a visit to Tlapazola, where you'll see the various embroidery workshops that make the traditional blouses and garments women adorn in the community.

Next, you'll visit Las Mujeres del Barro Rojo (Women of the Red Clay). Here, you'll discover the history of clay pottery, a hand-made art passed down to these women through generations. You'll hear their stories and see how they make these works of art up close, works that can now be found today in museums like the MOMA in New York. Afterward, you'll head to the cotton textile workshops in Mitla, where they use pedal looms to sew clothing. You'll also visit San Miguel del Valle to see how the beautiful Oaxacan aprons are made.

The day will end in Teotitlán del Valle to spend time with the artisans who weave traditional wool rugs made with Zapotec designs. This beautiful art form is appreciated throughout Mexico.

Day 4: Tour Monte Albán, Visit the Alebrijes Workshop

Monte Albán and the alebrijes workshop: an unforgettable experience
Sculptures at an alebrijes workshop near Oaxaca

Pack your hat and sunscreen because today you'll head back to Oaxaca Valley, beginning with a tour of Monte Albán; this UNESCO World Heritage Site is an ancient Zapotec capital, a pre-Colombian archaeological site which at one time had a significant influence on the development of Mesoamerica. It's believed that the city also served as a defense site, which you can see from the Gallery of Dancers, stone slabs depicting conquered figures and captives of the city. Explore the zone and hike up the North Platform and the Grand Plaza for incredible views of the surrounding valley. 

After lunchtime, you'll head to Arrazola, a 20-minute ride from Monte Albán. You'll visit the incredible Alebrijes Workshop at Don Mario Jiménez's House, a renowned alebrijes artisan. His son, Isaías, will explain the workshop's history and the cultural significance of these sculptures of fantastical creatures painted in the same bright colors you've likely seen all around Oaxaca. End the afternoon by painting your own alebrije, which you can take home as a remarkable memory of your time in Oaxaca. Finally, return to the hotel to pack your things and rest well before your last day. 

Day 5: Explore Oaxaca in the Morning, Depart

A city street in Oaxaca, Mexico, with booths selling local handicrafts
A city street in Oaxaca, Mexico, with booths selling local handicrafts

You've had a busy trip until now. But, before you go home, spend the morning taking in one last piece of Oaxaca. Whether you go back to taste those empanadas again from the first day, check out the many restaurants, mezcalerías, art galleries, and handicraft stores, or walk and take in the colorful buildings and architecture, it's your time! Make sure to walk through the Mercado Benito Juárez to grab some last-minute souvenirs, like mezcals, quesillo, mole, and chapulines. 

Of course, you'll have at least one more Oaxacan meal before heading home. Plan to have an early lunch at the Pasillo de Humo booth in the Mercado 20 de Noviembre to get your fix. Here, you can taste cecina (chorizo), tasajo (beef cuts), or some delicious tlayudas. Once you're full, head back to the hotel to grab your luggage, and your driver will pick you up for your airport transfer to catch your flight home (or your next destination in Mexico!)

More Great Mexico Itineraries

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Map of Explore Oaxaca's Local Tastes, Textures & Traditions - 5 Days
Map of Explore Oaxaca's Local Tastes, Textures & Traditions - 5 Days