Traditions in every street, beaches to enjoy the pacific, and hidden places among the mountains are only a tiny part of the tourist offer of Oaxaca. A place of culture, gastronomy, markets, ruins, and a dazzling landscape, where we can live, in a fantastic way, the purest essence of Mexico.
There is so much to see and diversity that planning a route through this southern Mexican state can be overwhelming. Fortunately, Rutopia is an expert in Oaxaca and has created many itineraries that are a great fit for all types of travelers. From those who want an oceanfront escape to those who enjoy unique archaeological explorations to discover Mexico’s pre-Columbian past.
Here is a list of everything we need to know about this destination, which one should visit at least once in one’s lifetime.
The best time to travel through Oaxaca
Oaxaca has two distinct seasons, rainy and dry. The rainy season runs from May to September, while the dry season is from October to April. Both seasons offer a different experience in Oaxaca; in one season, green horizons and lively mountains abound, and in the other blue skies and yellow and brown architecture.
This means that there is no wrong time to visit Oaxaca. But if we are looking for cultural activities, it is worth taking Fetivales into account when planning our trip. For example, to celebrate the Day of the Dead, we should schedule our trip for late October and early November.
Travel through Oaxaca from the city to the coast
First stop: Oaxaca City
The trip begins in the city of Oaxaca, which encompasses everything a traveler would look for on a journey through Mexico. From colorful museums to Oaxaca cuisine. There is everything here: botanical gardens, art galleries, neighborhoods to visit, and cafes with sky views.
A must-see is the Historical Center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site whose surroundings are filled with churches and historic buildings, as well as restaurants, and cafes. At this point, we will spend some time exploring, where we will see its rich culture and history in places such as the church of Santo Domingo. Next, there will be two necessary stops: the Museum of Oaxacan Cultures and the Ethnobotanical Garden.
At this site, we will also experience a gastronomic walking tour where we can taste a national delicacy: chapulines. We will also visit the Mercado 20 de Noviembre, where you can go from vendor to vendor tasting some of the local delicacies.
There is also the colorful Mercado Benito Juárez, where we can refresh ourselves with an agua fresca, a tejate, or some other traditional chocolate-based drink. As well as the Mercado Central de Abastos, the largest market in Oaxaca.
Day trips from Oaxaca City
Most of Oaxaca’s natural and historical sites are outside the center but can be visited on day trips. As a recommendation, we should travel to at least one of them among our suggestions are:
- Splash around in a petrified waterfall called Hierve el Agua
- Tasty Mezcal Tours
- Visit Monte Alban archaeological site
Second stop: San Jose del Pacifico
Above the clouds looms the town of San Jose del Pacifico, famous for its beautiful views, hikes, and of course, its mushrooms. This town is a magnet for spiritualists, nature lovers, and self-discovery travelers. With its location at 2,500 m above sea level, the dense green forest, and only about 350 inhabitants, this village offers a place of tranquility, peace, and natural spectacles.
Among the things, we can enjoy in this place is the cloud show, a fascinating natural experience. If we feel like exploring the area, there are hiking trails, many of which pass along rivers, and pine forests and lead to nearby communities. As well as paths through their orchards and even waterfalls and clearings. Other activities include yoga and temazcal, which are offered on-site.
Finally, spiritual tourism is becoming more and more popular. For this experience, the best time is during the rainy season, specifically August, when mushrooms are abundant. Mushrooms are often served in the form of tea, which is considered the best way to absorb their properties. These mushrooms are powerful and should be respected.
The third stop on the travel: Days to enjoy the beaches of Oaxaca
From the mountains and the cold, we move on to the beach and the heat. After relaxing in the mountains, this Oaxaca travel route takes us to the Pacific coast to relax on the sand. We can stop in Zipolite, a site whose name comes from the Zapotec language and means the beach of the dead because of the dangerous currents. Zipolite is one of Mexico’s nudist beaches, but there is plenty to do here. Enjoy the beaches, eat at one of the seafood restaurants or camp on the beach.
Nearby is Mazunte, with the stunning Punta Cometa, where the sunset is a must-see – here, the 360° views of the beach are incredible! Mazunte has a hippy vibe, especially on the main street full of restaurants, stores, and yoga retreats.
Last stop: day trips along the Oaxacan coastline
Some worthwhile activities and excursions on the Oaxacan coast are:
The release of turtles, which nest in and around Puerto Escondido.
A tour of the Manialtepec lagoon, where you can ride on horseback through the vegetation, watching for the different species of birds that inhabit the mangroves. In addition, during the night, particularly at the new moon, you can see the spectacle of bioluminescence.
We can also take a boat ride on a lagoon in the Ventanilla, where you can see crocodiles, iguanas, and various birds.