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3 Days in Oaxaca: Suggested Itineraries

By Viator, January 2015

4.5 17 Reviews | Add your review

Oaxaca has the bluster and range of a sizeable city, which it is. Even the historic downtown (only a fraction of the urban area) shows considerable diversity, from swank European-style cafes to stately squares to blaring market districts.

Day 1: Ramble Oaxaca

Oaxaca is an excellent city for leisurely rambling, and if you’ve just flown in, we recommend a day to get in tune with the city’s laidback yet elegant vibe. Drink espresso or fresh-squeezed orange juice in the shady zócalo (plaza), hit the market food stalls in the Mercado 20 de Noviembre for lunch, and shop for rugs, shoes, hand-embroidered clothing, folk art, or local delicacies at the Mercado Benito Juárez. For dinner decide between tacos at a zócalo stand or fine dining at one of the many high-end restaurants that offer traditional Oaxacan cuisine such as mole negro or squash blossom soup.

Day 2: Historical Oaxaca

Spend the morning exploring the ancient Zapotec ruins of Monte Albán (located high on a hill above the city), and then get a feel for post-conquest history by visiting a few of the capital’s many cathedrals and museums. We recommend the Basilica Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, dedicated to Our Lady of Solitude, the patron saint of Oaxaca. The decor inside is over-the-top lavish, and a small attached museum is full of odd artifacts collected during the church’s 300+ year history. For a true Oaxaca experience, stop at one of the ice cream stalls clustered in the nearby square—the vendors are famous for their local flavors such as mezcal and tuna (cactus fruit). And no visit to Oaxaca is complete without learning a little bit about the city’s most famous son, Benito Juárez, whose rise from poor Zapotec orphan to president of Mexico is only rivaled in panache by his dramatic legacy of reform. To get in the know, visit the Museo Casa de Juárez, which contains relics from the man’s early days and will also give you a glimpse of day-to-day life in 19th century Oaxaca.

Day 3: Road Trip

Drive 13 km east of Oaxaca (if you don’t have a car, catch a colectivo, or group taxi) along highway 190. Stop in Santa María del Tule to see the giant and ancient Árbol del Tule, which is somewhere between 2000 and 3000 years old. Proceed next to the Mitla, where you can explore ancient Zapotec ruins and lunch at an authentic comedor (eatery). From Mitla you can catch another colectivo to Hierve el Agua, site of thermal springs, ancient irrigation canals, and a dramatic “petrified waterfall.” After such a busy day, you may be in need of more refreshment. Luckily, the winding road back to Oaxaca is peppered with tiny, traditional mescal distilleries—stop in to taste Oaxaca’s famous agave liquor straight from the barrel and get a mini tour of the facilities, which typically feature old-fashioned copper stills and burro-powered grinding wheels.

Tours & Tickets

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Monte Alban Day Trip from Oaxaca

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 6 Reviews

Discover what makes the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Monte Alban one of greatest archeological sites in the Oaxaca Valley! This 3-hour tour takes you by ...  Read more

Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $29.99

Oaxaca City Sightseeing Tour: Temple of Santo Domingo de Guzman, Oaxaca Regional Museum and Benito Juarez Market

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 3 Reviews

Explore the markets and museums in the city of Oaxaca on this half-day tour! Visit the Temple of Santo Domingo de Guzman and the Oaxaca Regional Museum ...  Read more

Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $38.99
$49.99 Save $11.00

Mitla and Monte Alban Combo Tour from Oaxaca

4.5 star rating: Recommended 6 Reviews

Visit two extraordinary archeological sites—Mitla and Monte Alban—with this full-day combo tour that takes you sightseeing with a knowledgeable guide. Set out ...  Read more

Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $59.99

Oaxaca Day Trip: San Bartolo Coyotepec, Santo Tomás Jalieza and Ocotlán de Morelos

4.5 star rating: Recommended 4 Reviews

Visit three towns outside of the city of Oaxaca and discover the craft markets Oaxaca is famous for! This half-day trip takes you by coach to San Bartolo ...  Read more

Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $30.99

Day Trip to Mitla, Tule, Matlatan and the Teotitlan Valley from Oaxaca

4 star rating: Recommended 5 Reviews

Experience the natural and cultural highlights of the Oaxaca Valley on a day trip to several small towns and sites. You’ll be amazed by the sizable Tule tree ...  Read more

Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $42.99

Monte Alban, Arrazola, Coyotepec and Cuilapam Full-Day Tour from Oaxaca

4 star rating: Recommended 5 Reviews

Explore the cultural treasures surrounding Oaxaca on a full-day trip with an experienced guide. Travel by coach to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Monte Alban ...  Read more

Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $41.99

Zaachila Market, Cuilapam and Arrazola Tour from Oaxaca

4 star rating: Recommended 2 Reviews

This tour will introduce you to the Zapotec culture and Spanish colonial history of Oaxaca as you visit several traditional towns outside the city. Meet your ...  Read more

Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $31.99

Huatulco and La Crucecita Sightseeing Tour

Sample Oaxacan favorites during an afternoon exploration of Huatulco! This 3-hour city sightseeing tour with an expert guide takes you to the main square of La ...  Read more

Location: Huatulco, Oaxaca
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $35.99

Mitla and Santa Maria del Tule Sightseeing Tour from Oaxaca

See the world’s thickest tree, the Zapotecan ruins of Mitla and modern-day weavers at work—all on this 3-hour coach tour of the Oaxaca Valley. The substantial ...  Read more

Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $41.99

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