Oaxaca has some of the best that Mexico has to offer: excellent food (especially mole), beautiful countryside, exquisite handcrafts, ancient ruins, and warm beaches (the closest to the Equator in Mexico).

Oaxaca City

To Eat

  • La Biznaga - Manuel García Vigil 512, nice courtyard, great food

  • Casa Oaxaca El Restaurante - Calle Constitución 104-A, very nice spot, one of the fanciest restaurants in town but not too expensive by US standards

  • La Olla - nice, traditional food, chef is Pilar (from Cas de los Sabores cooking school, see below)

  • Los Danzantes - rec'd by various guidebooks

To See/Do

  • Cooking Classes

    • Casa de los Sabores (Pilar Cabera) - We took Pilar's class in 2013; she was a wonderful teacher who spoke very good English, and we loved the mole

    • Seasons of My Heart (Susana Trilling) - outside of town but recommended by various folks online

    • El Sabor Zapoteco (Reyna Mendoza Ruiz) --> see below under Teotitlán del Valle

  • Markets/Galleries

    • In most cases you can bargain with artisans, especially if you're paying cash

    • Alebrijes - these painted statues are a Mexican tradition, originally from Mexico City but raised to fine art in Oaxaca

      • Huizache Arte Vivo de Oaxaca - Murguía 101 at the corner of Calle Macedonio Alcalá (also an entrance on that side), 951 501 1282, 2-story artist cooperative with dozens of artisans selling various pieces, but this is where we found our favorite alebirjes (including a beautiful purple fox)

    • Rugs (Tapetes) - some of the most amazing rugs come from the region around the city; many of them are made in Teotitlán del Valle (see below)

      • Galeria Fe y Lola - Cinco de Mayo #408, the Chavez Santiago family run this gallery with some beautiful work—we ended up getting a rug with mariposas (butterflies) for our bedroom. In 2013 4x6 foot rugs were about $300-450 USD

    • MARO (Mujeres Artesanías de las Regiones de Oaxaca) - has a nice mission and some very traditional, high-quality crafts

    • General advice on markets

  • City Walk

    • The core of the city is very walkable, with most sights between the Zócalo and El Llano park

To Stay

To do next time: Santa Catalina (Camino Real Hotel), Los Arquitos aqueduct/neighborhood, museums...


  • Moon Guidebook - pretty good

  • Oaxaca Tips book - we didn't use it but it looks good, available for sale around town

  • Oaxaca Notes website - good lists of things to do, etc.

Great site for general information: OxacaTips.com

Near Oaxaca City

The towns around Oaxaca City have interesting crafts, food, and historic sites

Teotitlán del Valle

Town known for its traditional woven rugs, many of them made with natural dyes (such as cochineal, an insect that eats cactus and turns red when crushed)

  • Tlamanalli - absolutely delicious food in a beautiful atmosphere, probably our favorite of the trip, rec'd Alice Waters, NY Times, this blog

  • Vida Nueva - a nonprofit that helps women entrepreneurs; they show you how the dye is made and have some nice, very traditional rugs

  • El Sabor Zapoteco Cooking Class (Reyna Mendoza Ruiz) - we wished we could have done this class—her mole is apparently the one that Ricardo Muñoz Zurita based his Azul restaurants' version on (which was the reason we went to Oaxaca!)

  • Rug Artisans

    • Isaac Vásquez García ("Bug in the Rug") - Avenida Hidalgo #30, 951-524-4211, has one of the more established (and therefore expensive) studios, but very high quality (we bought our hallway rug from him)

    • Demetrio Bautista Lazo is another acclaimed weaver

    • Bulmaro & Nelson Pérez Mendoza - Centario #27, 951 524 4011, also appears to use natural dyes

    • A list of many of the weavers is at Oaxaca Wikispaces

    • Note that some of the more established ones, such as Chavez Santiago, , and Arnulfo Mendoza of La Mano Mágica, have galleries in Oaxaca city as well

Monte Albán

The ruins of the oldest city in the Americas, founded in 500 BCE by the Zapotecs, form a huge complex at the top of a hill


[Puerto Escondido, etc.]