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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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.

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.

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

Explore 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 to explore the bustling capital, then head to Cholula for ancient ruins and a tour of the local staple crop: corn. End in Oaxaca: Mexico's food capital.

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.

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.

Quiet streets of Puebla
Discover Central Mexico: Mexico City, Cholula, Oaxaca, Mazunte, & More - 12 Days

Explore ruins of ancient cities, go hiking through a cactus forest, and more on this packed twelve-day visit to Mexico's central region. Start in Mexico City for museums and street tacos, then head to Cholula and Oxaca for Tehuacán-Cuicuitlan Biosphere Reserve and historic tour. End the tour in with lots of time in nature: hiking in the clouds, horseback riding, and a trip to the coast to see bioluminescence light up the water.

Wooden Trajineras in Mexico City
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.

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.

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.

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
Yucatan Peninsula · Mexico City · Cancun · Tulum · Valladolid · Chiapas · Holbox · Merida · Puerto Morelos · San Cristobal de las Casas · Cholula · Palenque · Bacalar · Chunhuhub · Uxmal · Campeche · Calakmul · Puebla · Playa del Carmen · Guadalajara · Cabo San Lucas · San Miguel de Allende · Morelia · Pisté · Los Cabos · Guanajuato · Querétaro · La Paz