During my 2.5 months traveling around Mexico, I spent a week in Oaxaca City in the month of February. I’ll be honest in saying it wasn’t my favorite city in Mexico, although I visited during the pandemic, so a lot of places where closed and I’m sure the whole vibe was just different than it normally is.
How To Get There:
I was coming from the Oaxacan coast, where it’s a bit more tricky to fly in from. I opted to take an over-night ADO (ado.com.mx) bus from Pochutla, a transit hub relatively close to all the coastal beach towns. I like the over-night option because then you don’t waste a day traveling and you save money on a hotel for 1 night. It cost $30USD and runs right on time. ADO is a very nice, luxury bus company and I can recommend using it anywhere around Mexico!
There is also a very tiny airline called Aero Tucan (https://www.aerotucan.com) that has direct flights from Bahias De Huatulco International Airport along the coast. My mom took this option, which is much faster of course but also at a much higher cost than the bus. You won’t find AeroTucan flights on your typical flight search engines such as google flights or kayak. You have to go directly to their website, which is only is spanish.
If you are not flying from the coast, there are many direct flights coming in from Mexico City everyday!
Where to Stay:
I usually like to feel like a local when I stay in a city, so we opted for an airbnb in Barrio Jalatlaco. It was $25USD/night for a large 2 bedroom apartment with a full kitchen. Jalatlaco is known as being the hipster neighborhood in Oaxaca, full of colorful wall murals and hip coffee shops. It’s also only a 10 minute walk from the main town center. We felt safe here and loved the area!
My mom had a room at Casa Ollin Bed & Breakfast (https://www.ollinoaxaca.com) just north of the center and she absolutely loved it. For around $40USD/night you get a delicious homemade breakfast each morning, a pool, a small fitness area, and very nice accommodations.
Where to Eat:
Restaurante Del Barrio Jalatlaco – This was a beautiful rooftop restaurant with great affordable breakfast and the best Cafe do Ollo I had in Mexico!
Convivio – This was hip Oaxaca/Asian fusion restaurant with things like ramen, boa buns and dumplings. It’s part of a larger community center with co-working space and another restaurant.
Los Pacos- If you want to to try 7 different types of moles, this restaurant in Reforma area if for you. They will bring out a complimentary sample of all of them for you to try before you oder your food so that you know which type you like the best!
Pisa Pizza- This restaurant is connected to Restaurante Del Barrio and has great salads, wood burning pizzas and beers.
Love Coffee – If your staying in Jalatlaco, this is cute spot to get a breakfast combo of food, coffee and fruit for $3USD. The portion sizes are nice and their green juice is good too!
Casa De La Chef – If you like healthy, fresh food this is a great spot that I wish we had found sooner actually. The meals come out in 3 courses and include a drink as well. Breakfast was my favorite here.
Boulenc- This french bakery & restaurant are always busy and for a good reason! Enjoy a wonderful sit down meal here or swing by the bakery in the morning for some fresh baked goods.
Things to Do:
Street Art – Oaxaca is filled with beautiful wall murals but walking around Jalatclo neighborhood will give you a taste of the best!
Visit the Worlds Widest Tree – You can take a taxi or bus to the nearby town of Tule to visit the worlds widest tree! I also met others who rented a bike to get there and apparently there’s a nice bike path that goes all the way there. **Be aware that the tree was closed off during the pandemic so double check that it has reopened before visiting.
Work Out – If you’re like me and like to work out while you travel, Black Gym is a great option for $2.50 USD /day or $10 USD /week.
Shopping – There are several big markets in Oaxaca with tons of vendor stalls selling all the souvenirs you could dream of! Mercado 20 de Noviembre is a giant food market and next door, Mercado Benito Juarez is popular for crafts and goods.
Monte Alban Ruins – Just a short bus out from the city you can visit the giant Monte Alban Ruins site! There are several tour bus companies that leave from around Hotel Rivera Del Angel. Go to that hotel and you will see vans that say Monte Alban all around the street there. They will take you to the ruins, wait for several hours, and you bring you back. This is the easiest way to get there!
Walk around the center – We really enjoyed just walking around the center of Oaxaca and seeing the beautiful architecture, especially in the old churches.
Textile Factory – I saved the best for last! You may have seen the beautiful colorful rugs that come from Oaxaca before, and now you can actually go and see how they are made and meet the families that make them by visiting the nearby town of Teotitlan.
We were lucky to have a friend connect us with one of the best rug making families in the area who welcomed us into their home, Casa Don Taurino (www.casadontaurino.com) . They explained how the rugs where made from start to finish. From spinning the wool, to dying it, to weaving it.
This was absolutely my favorite experience during my visit to Oaxaca! You can visit their shop where they sell the rugs in the center of Teotitlan next to the Iglesia Preciosa Sangra de Cristo church in the town center. You can type in Casa Don Taurino on google maps it will show up, or check them out on Instagram as well @CasaDonTaurino if you want to ask about scheduling a tour yourself!
To get there, you can either take a taxi or catch a local bus heading towards the town of Tlacolula and one of the stops will be Teotitlan. When you get off the bus, you cross the highway to the other side and there will be taxi’s or tuktuks waiting to take people the rest of the way into town and they will drop you off near the church.
There are many other families in this town as well who would be happy to show you their rugs, just simple walk around until you find a place that interests you!
When I visited in February, it was very hot and the only shade was from city buildings so be prepared for some heat.Overall, Oaxaca City was a lovely, colorful, safe city to visit and I would love to return someday after the pandemic has ended and everything is fully reopen.