Best of Oaxaca

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Oaxaca
It’s hard not to fall for the charming city of Oaxaca. Blessed with colonial architecture, colorful fiestas and a booming arts scene, the southern Mexico beauty seems to have everything going for it. Oaxaca is also celebrated for its unique culinary traditions, from great street food to high-end dining, and the region is the homeland of mezcal, the smoky, well-aged sibling of tequila. The surrounding area also has great natural beauty and cultural variety. Just west of Oaxaca, the ancient, well-preserved ceremonial center of Monte Alban looms high above the valley, and provides a fascinating window into Zapotec and Mixtec cultures, dating back to 500 BCE. 

Previous kimkim travelers have explored Oaxaca’s deep craft-making traditions. On visits to rural communities, you can see how artisans have honed their skills (such as wood carving, ceramics and textiles) over many generations. You can also delve deeper into Oaxaca’s history on a walking tour around the historic center. Some say that Oaxaca’s greatest treasure is its culinary tradition. The best way to learn more, while tasting some of Mexico’s finest recipes, is to take a cooking class.
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Churros are a favorite Mexican treat
Map of Mexico for Families: Crafts & Cooking in Oaxaca - 7 Days
Mexico for Families: Crafts & Cooking in Oaxaca - 7 Days

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.

Parque Labastida in the historic center of Oaxaca, Mexico
Map of Magical Oaxaca & the Pacific Coast - 10 Days
Magical Oaxaca & the Pacific Coast - 10 Days

Explore the cultural and natural highlights of Oaxaca on this ten-day itinerary around the region. You'll explore colorful marketplaces, see a 2,000-year-old tree, feel the spray of crystal-blue waterfalls, visit traditional villages in the Northern Highlands, learn how to make mole in a private cooking class, and spend the last few days on Oaxaca's idyllic Pacific beaches.

Visit historic Monte Albán in Oaxaca
Map of Oaxaca & the Pacific Coast - 11 Days
Oaxaca & the Pacific Coast - 11 Days

Discover a side of Mexico that's as rich in history and indigenous culture as it is beautiful. Over 11 days, you'll experience the highlights of magical Oaxaca and go off the beaten path on nature hikes, participate in cultural workshops, and visit historic ruins. The journey continues to the Pacific Coast and the resort town of Huatulco, where you'll enjoy some well-deserved R&R on Oaxaca's inviting beaches.

Women made up as the iconic La Calavera Catrina
Map of Celebrate Day of the Dead in Oaxaca - 8 Days
Celebrate Day of the Dead in Oaxaca - 8 Days

This festive 8-day itinerary offers visitors an intimate look into one of Mexico's biggest holidays with the Day of the Dead. You'll begin your tour the end of October in Mexico City, discovering the history behind the tradition before exploring the canals of Xochimilco and the stoney ruins of Teotihuacan. You'll end your stay in Oaxaca where you will celebrate like a local: join in processions, visit cemeteries, and marvel at elaborately decorated altars in honor of the deceased.

Sea turtle hatchlings ready for release
Map of Culture, Cuisine & Conservation in Oaxaca & Huatulco - 10 Days
Culture, Cuisine & Conservation in Oaxaca & Huatulco - 10 Days

Practice a more sustainable style of travel on this 10-day exploration of southern Mexico. Start in Oaxaca to tour the city's food markets, sit down with local artisans and cooks, and visit rural villages supported by ecotourism. Cross the Sierra Madre del Sur to hike among cloud forests and spend a night in a secluded mountain cabin, then finish on the wild Pacific beaches of Huatulco—exploring one of Mexico's newest national parks, helping with sea turtle conservation, and snorkeling among pristine ocean reefs.

Mexican food will appeal to the whole family
Map of Flavors of Mexico Family Tour: Mexico City, Puebla & Oaxaca - 10 Days
Flavors of Mexico Family Tour: Mexico City, Puebla & Oaxaca - 10 Days

As any parent knows, kids tend to have big appetites. Satisfy perpetually empty bellies and curious tastebuds on a 10-day food-focused tour of Mexico. Starting in Mexico City and ending in Oaxaca, you'll enjoy a range of culinary activities along the way—as well as physical activity to earn that next meal. Visit a taco night market in Mexico City, cycle through an Aztec archeological site, try your hand at making Indigenous food in Oaxaca, hike through cactus-filled deserts and mountains, and more.

Colorful dolls at a local Oaxaca market
Map of Family Trip to Mexico: Oaxaca & Mazunte - 10 Days
Family Trip to Mexico: Oaxaca & Mazunte - 10 Days

This family-focused 10-day tour splits your time between the vibrant southern Mexican city of Oaxaca and the unspoiled Oaxacan beach town of Mazunte. All ages will find plenty to interest and entertain them in Oaxaca, with delicious food, ancient history, and thriving culture at every corner. Then it's time to head for the coast, where you'll settle into a slower pace and introduce curious kids to natural wonders like beautiful beaches, nesting turtles, and shimmering bioluminescence.

Mexico City's Palacio de Bellas Artes concert hall
Map of Art & Archeology: Mexico City to Oaxaca - 9 Days
Art & Archeology: Mexico City to Oaxaca - 9 Days

The regions in and around Mexico City are brimming with art, culture, and history of both the indigenous and Spanish-colonial variety. Over nine days, you'll experience all of these highlights plus outdoor adventures as you travel around Mexico City and the state of Oaxaca and overnight in Cholula. Activities include art walks, nature hikes, city tours, and visits to the largest pre-Columbian archeological sites in the country.

Help release sea turtle hatchlings in Huatulco
Map of Oaxaca for Families: Markets, Pyramids, Beaches & Turtles - 7 Days
Oaxaca for Families: Markets, Pyramids, Beaches & Turtles - 7 Days

This weeklong family adventure introduces you to the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca—from its famous food scene and ancient temples to white sandy beaches and exotic wildlife. Browse Oaxaca City's colorful markets, where you can sample everything from empanadas to grasshoppers, and learn the secrets of Mexican cuisine during a rural cooking workshop. Then head to the coastal paradise of Huatulco to watch turtles come ashore before striking out on jungle and waterfall adventures.

Peaceful Oasis in the City
Discover Central Mexico: Mexico City, Cholula, Oaxaca - 8 Days

Visit anthropology museums in Mexico City, explore archaeological sites in Teotihuacán, and experience local cultures on this eight-day immersive trip to Mexico's central region. Start in Mexico City where you'll explore the bustling capital, then head to Cholula for ancient ruins and a tour of the local staple crop: corn. End in Oaxaca, one of the culinary capitals of Mexico.

Locals dressed in traditional clothes in Oaxaca
Map of Mexico Grand Tour: Mexico City, Cholula & Oaxaca - 8 Days
Mexico Grand Tour: Mexico City, Cholula & Oaxaca - 8 Days

Get to the heart of historic Mexico on walking tours of the nation's capital, Cholula, and Oaxaca. In Mexico City, you'll visit the most artistic and colorful neighborhoods, like Coyoacán and Xochimilco, plus take a bike tour of the ruins at Teotihuacán. Then head south to Cholula and Oaxaca, two cities whose awe-inspiring Spanish-colonial landmarks are matched only by their rich indigenous heritage.

Traditional dress
Discover Central Mexico & Oaxaca: Mexico City, Cholula, Mazunte & More - 18 Days

Explore the best of Central Mexico on this 18-day tour. Start in bustling Mexico City for cultural exploration and some incredible food, then continue to Cholula to hike in the national park. Head to Oaxaca for mezcal, alebrijes, and a ritual steam bath, then round out your trip in Mazunte where you'll see baby sea turtles return to the ocean.

Street vendor selling delicious antojitos
Map of Southern Mexico Foodie Tour: Mexico City, Puebla & Oaxaca - 10 Days
Southern Mexico Foodie Tour: Mexico City, Puebla & Oaxaca - 10 Days

Discover authentic Mexican cuisine from exotic markets and fine restaurants to street food vendors and indigenous farms. This culinary itinerary is designed for the traveler passionate about learning the history and culture of Mexcian gastronomy. You will try traditional dishes from different regions of Mexico and participate in cooking workshops all the while exploring the cultural highlights of Mexico City, Puebla, and Oaxaca.

See the local color of Oaxaca
Map of Food, Culture & Adventure in Central Mexico - 12 Days
Food, Culture & Adventure in Central Mexico - 12 Days

Explore the ruins of ancient cities, hike rugged mountain trails, and immerse yourself in indigenous culture on this 12-day deep dive into central Mexico. It begins in the capital with walking tours of the historical center before heading to Cholula and Oaxaca to visit local markets and see the sights. The last half of the trip is packed with active adventures like horseback riding and hiking through misty cloud forests before finishing on the gorgeous Pacific Coast.

Colorful produce in a traditional market
Map of Mexico's Culture & Gastronomy Tour - 9 Days
Mexico's Culture & Gastronomy Tour - 9 Days

On this fascinating 9-day trip in Mexico City, Puebla, and Oaxaca, you will discover traditional dishes from different regions of the country, participate in cooking workshops, and tour numerous urban and rural attractions, from archaeological sites to the country's best museums—all while meeting friendly locals along the way.

Quiet street in Oaxaca
Discover Central Mexico: Mexico City, Cholula, Oaxaca - 9 Days

This trip is perfect for travelers who are short on time but don't want to compromise on adventure. Start in Mexico City to explore the food scene and waterways that show the city's history. Continue to the foodie town of Cholula to explore Teotihuacán, then end the trip in Oaxaca for a history tour and a chance to taste authentic mezcal in the place where it's produced.

Colorful flags and piñatas on a street in Oaxaca
Map of Mexico Family Adventure: Mexico City to Oaxaca - 12 Days
Mexico Family Adventure: Mexico City to Oaxaca - 12 Days

Jam-packed with fun, fascinating excursions, this 12-day itinerary is the perfect introduction to Mexico for the whole family. Starting in the capital, you'll cheer on your favorite wrestlers at a live Lucha Libre show, then go for a kid-friendly food tour through the colorful city streets. After exploring the canals and floating gardens of Xochimilco, it's time to make your way south toward Oaxaca—stopping en route to see the pyramids of Teotihuacan by hot air balloon and walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs at the Tehuacán Biosphere Reserve.

Catch a sunset from Punta Cometa in Mazunte
Discover Central Mexico: Mexico City, Cholula, Oaxaca, Mazunte & More - 15 Days

Spend fifteen days explore the best of central Mexico. You'll walk through a cactus forest in the Tehuacán-Cuicuitlan Biosphere, taste traditional Mexican Mezcal, and more on this itinerary. Start by exploring the various neighborhoods of Mexico City and floating on the canals of Xochimilco in a traditional wooden Trajinera, then continue to the countryside to explore nature and ancient ruins.

Street tacos in Mexico City
Culinary Tour Through Mexico City, Puebla & Oaxaca - 7 Days

On this food-focused tour, you'll discover authentic Mexican cuisine at marketplaces, family-run restaurants, street food stands, and indigenous farms. The itinerary isn't only about food, though: the schedule features visits to archaeological sites and other places of interest, including the pyramids of Teotihuacán and the colonial city of Puebla.

Colorful Trajineras
Discover Central Mexico: Mexico City, Cholula & Oaxaca - 7 Days

Spend a week discovering Mexico's central region, from Mexico City to Oaxaca. Visit the National Museum of Anthropology, go biking in Teotihuacán — The City of the Gods, and explore the history of the local agricultural staple of Cholula: corn. End in Oaxaca for a historical tour and a cultural experience to create your own alebrije: a little clay statuette.

Let the kids burn some energy at the water fountain in front of Monument to the Mexican Revolution (Monumento a la Revolucion), Mexico City
Map of Mexico Family Adventure: Mexico City to Oaxaca City  - 10 Days
Mexico Family Adventure: Mexico City to Oaxaca City - 10 Days

Kids of all ages will be fascinated by the sights, sounds, and flavors of central and southwestern Mexico. This 10-day family-friendly itinerary starts in Mexico City and travels down to Oaxaca City, passing many cultural and geological highlights along the way. Learn about Aztec culture at Teotihuacán, stargaze and find fossilized sea creatures in the desert, and take every opportunity to sample local cuisine, like quesillos and empanadas.

End your Mexican vacation at the beach
Map of Family Tour of "Magical" Mexico: From Mexico City to the Pacific Coast - 14 Days
Family Tour of "Magical" Mexico: From Mexico City to the Pacific Coast - 14 Days

Mexico will seem like a magical land to imaginative kids; with ancient cities, active volcanoes, colorful crafts, and beautiful beaches, there's plenty to keep all ages interested. This two-week itinerary starts in Mexico City and has you traveling southeast through Puebla and Oaxaca to the paradise of Huatulco on the Pacific Coast—taking in a variety of cultural and natural wonders along the way. Both kids and parents will enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of this beautiful and fascinating part of Mexico.

Temple of Quetzalcoatl
Discover Central Mexico: Mexico City, Cholula, Oaxaca, Mazunte, & More - 13 Days

If you want to experience Mexico's culture and leave time for adventure, look no further than this packed 13-day trip. From the buzzing streets of Mexico City to the ancient archaeological ruins that emerge from the rainforest, you'll see the best of the region and enjoy insider experiences, like a traditional Temzacal steam bath.

Olive Ridley Seat Turtle
Discover Central Mexico & Oaxaca: Mexico City, Cholula, Mazunte & More - 17 Days

Explore Mexico City, Oaxaca, and more on this 17-day comprehensive trip. Explore the various neighborhoods of Mexico City, float on the canals of Xochimilco in a traditional wooden Trajinera, and go hiking in Popo-Izta National Park. Immerse yourself in a cactus forest in the Tehuacán-Cuicuitlan Biosphere, then round out the trip by tasting traditional Mexican Mezcal in Mazunte.

Vibrant colors at a market in San Cristóbal de Las Casas
Map of A Culinary Journey Through Oaxaca & Chiapas - 14 Days
A Culinary Journey Through Oaxaca & Chiapas - 14 Days

Authentic culture and cuisine take center stage on this epic, two-week journey through central and southern Mexico. Snack your way through Mexico City's best food market, then head into Oaxaca for unspoiled beaches, mezcal tastings, and hands-on gastronomy workshops. Continue to Chiapas to end your trip cooking with the local indigenous community and exploring the wilds of Sumidero Canyon by boat.

View of the Chapultepec Wood
Discover Central Mexico: Mexico City, Oaxaca, Mazunte, & More - 14 Days

Spend two weeks exploring the best that central Mexico has to offer. Start in Mexico City for explorations of the metropolis and a ride on a traditional wooden Trajinera. Continue to Cholula to explore Teotihuacán, then head to Oaxaca to visit the Tehuacán-Cuicuitlan Biosphere Reserve. End in Mazunte to see bioluminescence and view baby sea turtles return to the ocean.

Smoke roiling from Popocatepetl
Discover Central Mexico: Mexico City, Cholula, Oaxaca, Mazunte, & More - 11 Days

This packed eleven-day itinerary offers the best of Central Mexico's culture and nature, from volcanoes to the ocean. You'll go hiking in the national park, visit Mexico City's best museums, and walk through a forest of cactuses. There's also time for moments of relaxation — kick back on Mazunte's beaches, enjoy a leisurely sunset walk in the forest, and take in the best of Oaxaca's foodie scene.

Grijalva River Sink Canyon
Map of Savor Mexico: Discover Cuisine & Nature in Oaxaca & Chiapas - 15 Days
Savor Mexico: Discover Cuisine & Nature in Oaxaca & Chiapas - 15 Days

Prepare your tastebuds for an extraordinary culinary journey through mountains, canyons, and the sea. Start in Mexico City, where you'll shop with an expert at the famous San Juan Market. Lounge along the pristine beaches of Puerto Escondido. Learn bread-making and local cuisine in Oaxaca and visit a local mezcal distillery. Explore San Cristóbal de Las Casas' cobbled streets before venturing into the breathtaking natural scenery of Sumidero Canyon and Lagos de Montebello.

See captivating sights like Santuario de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios in Cholula, Oaxaca
Map of Discover Central Mexico: Morelia, Guanajuato, Acaxochitlán, Cuetzala, Cholula & Oaxaca - 12 Days
Discover Central Mexico: Morelia, Guanajuato, Acaxochitlán, Cuetzala, Cholula & Oaxaca - 12 Days

This 12-day exploration of the heart of Mexico will take you to its most historic locales. This includes stops at the 16th-century cities of Morelia and Querétaro, where you'll enjoy horseback riding through the rugged Guanajuato mountains. Then immerse yourself in the region's culture with visits to indigenous workshops, tours of coffee plantations, and outings to the most incredible sights in Puebla and Oaxaca.

A secluded beach at Puerto Escondido
Map of Immersive Mexico: Culture, Cuisine & Community - 18 Days
Immersive Mexico: Culture, Cuisine & Community - 18 Days

Experience 18 days of cultural tours and outdoor adventures that help support local communities and conservation, focusing on heritage and food as you enjoy culinary tours of Mexico City, Oaxaca, and Chiapas while visiting historical sites and meeting locals. You'll also embark on cycling tours, try surfing, take boat trips, and visit ancient Maya archaeological sites like Palenque.

See Santo Domingo Cathedral in captivating Oaxaca City
Map of Discover Central Mexico: Mexico City,  Guanajuato, Cholula, Oaxaca & More - 15 Days
Discover Central Mexico: Mexico City, Guanajuato, Cholula, Oaxaca & More - 15 Days

This adventure covers the most incredible ancient cities in the country. It starts in Mexico City, a capital whose colonial legacy is as rich as its indigenous history. Then travel north to the Baroque cathedrals and colorful houses of Guanajuato and Morelia before touring the massive Aztec city of Teotihuacán. It all comes to a close with culture, history, and foodie tours of beautiful Puebla and Oaxaca.

Different types of mole and spices in a marketplace in Oaxaca, Mexico
Flavors and Aromas of Mexico - 14 Days

Work up an appetite for this food-focused tour of Mexico. You'll discover authentic cuisine at marketplaces, family-run restaurants, street food stands, and indigenous farms. Take a cooking class in Oaxaca, visit a traditional farm in the highlands outside the city, go on a walking food tour in Puebla, pedal around taco stands in Mexico City—and same some room for cultural sightseeing, too, as the itinerary takes you to Xochimilco and the National Anthropology Museum, among other highlights.

A colorful street in San Miguel de Allende
Map of Mexico's Ultimate Culture Tour - 14 Days
Mexico's Ultimate Culture Tour - 14 Days

This exciting Mexican road trip covers a whopping number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites—perfect for culture enthusiasts. Starting in Mexico City, you'll visit historic colonial towns, architectural sites, nature parks, and gorgeous interiors while making your way to both coasts with free time each evening to explore markets, restaurants, and art galleries on your own. This two-week itinerary is best suited for those who like to be on the move (a private driver and transfers are included).

Other popular travel destinations in Mexico
Yucatán Peninsula · Mexico City · Tulum · Valladolid · Holbox · Puerto Morelos · Chiapas · Mérida · San Cristobal de las Casas · Palenque · Cancún · Cholula · Playa del Carmen · Bacalar · Puebla · Campeche · Uxmal · Chunhuhub · Calakmul · Guadalajara · La Paz · San Miguel de Allende · Morelia · Cabo San Lucas · Pisté · Los Cabos · Guanajuato · Querétaro