Welcome to Oaxaca, a feast for the senses! This week-long family adventure skips the rushing around to focus on the southern Mexican city's many delights. Head to the market to sip spiced hot chocolate, unwrap tamales, and indulge in syrupy nicuátole. Play hide and seek among the ancient temples of Monte Albán, then browse the region's famous handicrafts in local villages. Finish up with a rural cooking workshop, where kids can get hands-on as they make tortillas with a local Zapotec community.


  • Try empanadas, tacos, and Oaxaca's famous ice cream while touring the city
  • Climb to the top of Monte Albán's ancient temples 
  • Learn how to carve and print in a family art workshop 
  • Play with your food in a "hands in the dough" cooking class

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Oaxaca Oaxaca
Day 2 History, Culture & Gastronomy Walk Around the City Oaxaca
Day 3 Monte Albán & Handicrafts Route Oaxaca
Day 4 Discover Ancestral Oaxacan Art  Oaxaca
Day 5 Amaranth Workshop & Family Art Evening Oaxaca
Day 6 Hands in the Dough Rural Cooking Workshop Oaxaca
Day 7 Depart Oaxaca  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Oaxaca

Welcome to the colorful streets of Oaxaca!

Welcome to Mexico! On arrival at Oaxaca airport, you'll be met by your driver, who will take you to your charming hotel. There's no better way to get your first taste of Oaxaca than literally, through its food—designated as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Head to one of the most authentic restaurants in the city, where chefs from Indigenous communities will prepare traditional Oaxacan dishes. Kids will love nicuátole—a corn-based, syrupy dessert—and throw knife-and-fork etiquette to the wind as you unwrap your tamale and enjoy its tasty contents.

Day 2: History, Culture & Gastronomy Walk Around the City

Keep an eye out for all sorts of interesting snacks at the markets, such as toasted crickets

Wake up to your first full day in Oaxaca and leave your hotel hungry—you're about to go on a three-hour guided walk of the city with plenty of tasty stop-offs. Start by visiting the Mercado de la Merced and get your fill of traditional baked empanadas, then walk through the colorful streets of the Jalatlaco neighborhood to reach the 16th-century aqueduct. Sample delicious tacos on the street of Garcia Vigil before continuing to the temple of Santo Domingo, where you can cool down with some of the city's famous ice cream. 

Finish your tour at the Plaza de la Constitución, where you can find yourself and the kids an Oaxacan spiced hot chocolate to enjoy in the shade. Spend the afternoon wandering around the nearby colorful markets. Benito Juarez Market has a heady mix of cheeses, meats, and local produce, as well as handmade goods and textiles. Kids should look out for all sorts of weird and wonderful ingredients, such as the protein-filled delicacy of toasted grasshoppers or chapulines

Day 3: Monte Albán & Handicrafts Route 

Let imaginations run wild at the vast ruins of Monte Albán

Get ready to be transported back thousands of years as you explore the pre-Columbian archaeological site of Monte Albán, just 6.2 miles (10 km) south of Oaxaca City. One of the largest Mesoamerican cities of its time (100 BCE to 200 CE), you'll need around three hours to explore the site, which sits on a hilltop in the center of Oaxaca's central valleys. Kids can burn their energy running up and down the many stepped temples, and adults can ponder the mysterious, entertaining carvings of the "Gallery of the Dancers." 

Spend the afternoon touring four Oaxacan villages, famous for their handicrafts. At Coyotepec, you'll visit a workshop and watch how objects are molded from the town's famous black clay. Afterward, wander around the nearby, colorful market before continuing on to San Antonio and seeing how they create traditional dresses. The next stop is Jalietza, where you'll see how they use a backstrap loom to make fabric before going on to Tilcajete. Here you can watch how the local artisans create alebrijes—colorful, carved mythical creatures that make the perfect souvenir for the kids to take home.

Day 4: Discover Ancestral Oaxacan Art

Learn how local women weave rugs at Teotitlán del Valle

Get ready for more cultural immersion today as you begin your tour with a visit to the community of Tlapazola. There, you'll go to a Barro Rojo pottery workshop and learn how the local women carry out this ancient craft. Curious kids will be fascinated as they watch the artisans mold the red clay into intricate shapes by hand.

Next, meet a family of wool rug weavers at Teotitlán del Valle, where they will take you through each step of carding, spinning, dyeing, and weaving these colorful emblems of the region. The final stop is a treat for parents, with a tour and tasting at a local palenque dedicated to the production of the ancestral drink of mezcal

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Day 5: Amaranth Workshop & Family Art Evening

Learn how to carve and print during a family art workshop

Start your day off at San Pablo de Etla, half an hour north of the city of Oaxaca. You'll be greeted by Margarita Barrita, a member of "Alegria de la Vida," a group of women dedicated to preserving the culture and use of the ancient grain, amaranth. After learning about the grain, you'll get to work to make your own tzoalli—a pre-Hispanic dessert made up of amaranth and seeds, once considered the food of the gods.

Once back in Oaxaca City, enjoy a family art workshop in a beautiful garden where you'll learn how to carve wood and print your own art. Be guided by local artists and create your own print design, or become adept at using gouges to carve wood, all while you find out more about the local culture from the artists themselves. This activity can be customized for all ages, so even the youngest budding artists will be included in the fun.

Day 6: Hands in the Dough Rural Cooking Workshop

Little ones can make their own tortillas in today's workshop
So you've tasted Oaxaca's delicacies; now it's time to learn how to make them! This morning's activity will be a treat for any budding cook in your family as you go on an excursion into the rural countryside of Oaxaca. Prepare yourself for a warm welcome by a Zapotec community who will pass on their culinary secrets while the whole family gets busy peeling, chopping, and washing seasonal products, straight from local vegetable gardens.
Kids will particularly love getting their hands dirty as they learn to make tortillas from scratch. After whipping up some kid-friendly Oaxacan specialties like nicuátole, empanadas, sopa de guías (pumpkin soup), segueza (corn mole), and atole (a creamy drink of maize, cinnamon, and vanilla), you'll sit down to lunch together and savor your creations.

Day 7: Depart Oaxaca

Colorful umbrellas shading the streets of Oaxaca
It's time to bid Mexico farewell as your driver transfers you to the Oaxaca International Airport to catch your departing flight. ¡Buen viaje!

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Map of Mexico for Families: Crafts & Cooking in Oaxaca - 7 Days
Map of Mexico for Families: Crafts & Cooking in Oaxaca - 7 Days