Things to do in Oaxaca Mexico + Day Trips

Oaxaca is a city in the Mexican state of the same name.  As a matter of fact the historic center of Oaxaca City is a UNESCO world heritage site.  Things to do in Oaxaca;

  • Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman
  • Basilica of our Lady of Solitude
  • Monte Alban
  • Mitla
  • Tule Tree

The city of Oaxaca is very walkable, it’s a small city with a few central plazas as well as lots of great value hotels, restaurants and bars.  Additionally, there are a couple of good chocolate shops here too.

Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman

Things to do in Oaxaca - Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman

Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman is a 16th century Baroque church.  An interesting fact about this church is that it took around 200 years to complete.  In addition, for 40 years during the Revolutionary wars the church was used as barracks.  You must go inside to see the golden interior!  Finally, there’s a similar looking church in the city called Cathedral of our Lady of the Assumption.

Basilica of our Lady of Solitude

Things to do in Oaxaca - Basilica of our Lady of Solitude

Firstly, the lady of Solitude is the patron saint of Oaxaca.  Due to the 3D esque church facade, the basilica itself has become a top Instagram spot in Oaxaca.  Oaxaca is a safe city and you can walk around without any problems throughout the day.  Alternatively, you can visit the points of interest of the UNESCO historic center on a guided tour.

Monte Alban

THings to do in Oaxaca - Monte Alban

Monte Alban is a well preserved archaeological site, in addition it’s also a UNESCO site.  Another bonus is that it’s not well known therefore fewer tourists.  So, when was Monte Alban built?  It’s believed the history of Monte Alban dates back to the first century BC.  Another interesting fact is that it’s built at almost 2000 meters on top of a hill.  As a result it could be defended easily.  Finally, it’s possible to visit Monte Alban on a day trip from Oaxaca.


Things to do in Oaxaca - Mitla

Mitla is a UNESCO world heritage site which dates back to 600BC.  It’s a very well preserved archaeological site because it has been well maintained by the dry climate.  It’s one of the few sites in Mexico where you will see the original paint.  You can visit Mitla on a day trip from Oaxaca and it’s usually combined with the oldest tree in Mexico

Hierve El Agua

Things to do in Oaxaca - Hierve el agua

Hierve el agua is a photographers dream.  As well as lots of color, it has a beautiful backdrop for reflection photography.  There is also what looks like a 70 m waterfall over this cliff edge.  So what exactly is this place?  These are fresh water springs in which the water is over-saturated with calcium carbonate and other minerals.  In my opinion Hierve el Agua is not only the top Instagram spot in Oaxaca but also in all of Mexico.  So how can you visit Hierve el Agua?  I recommend a day tour of Oaxaca state which includes Hierve el Agua.

Chapulines de Oaxaca and Mezcal

Things to do in Oaxaca - Chapulines de Oaxaca, Grasshoppers to eat

Grasshoppers are an Oaxacan snack served with guacamole.  If you don’t like grasshoppers, you can also try red worms, flying ants or honeypot ants.  All these snacks go well with guacamole and have a high nutritional content!  What about the drink of Oaxaca?  Mezcal is the famous alcoholic drink of Oaxaca which is also known as tequilas father.  Like tequila, it is made from the agave plant found in Mexico.  Moreover, this is the drink you may see served with a worm at the bottom of the shot glass.

Tule Tree

Things to do in Oaxaca - Tule Tree

The Tule tree is the oldest tree in Mexico.  It’s also claimed this is the widest tree in the world!  As a matter of fact the circumference is a massive 42 meters.  It’s often referred to as the tree of life.  Did you know there is also a tree of life in Bahrain?

How to get from Oaxaca to Mexico City by Bus

Bus from Oaxaca to Mexico City

Bus from Oaxaca to Mexico City, 564 pesos, 6 house, ADO.

The bus to Mexico City is a luxury ADO bus and it’s a 6 hour journey to Mexico City TAPO bus station.  Be aware that there are 4 bus stations in Mexico City, North, TAPO, Tasqueña and Centro Poniente.  For this reason, check which one you’re arriving at and try get the closest one to your final destination in Mexico City.

Mexico City to El Paso

2019-01-20T18:40:22+00:00December 29th, 2016|Mexico, North America|10 Comments


  1. Shona January 12, 2017 at 3:47 am - Reply

    Good to know re the 4 bus station in Mexico City James. Is the bus the only transport between Oaxaca and Mexico City?

    • James Smith January 12, 2017 at 8:25 am - Reply

      You can also fly which would take just over an hour. They have some low cost airlines in Mexico such as Volaris.

  2. Rhiannon January 29, 2017 at 9:55 am - Reply

    Oaxaca was one of my favourite stops in Mexico! I found Monte Alban absolutely beautiful, and really wish I’d gone to Hierve el Agua but unfortunately ran out of time 🙁 I did, however, take a day trip to see a really big tree. The world’s widest, apparently!

  3. Kelly January 29, 2017 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    Oaxaca is new to me. But the Milta site looks amazing. Cannot believe the paint is still on the buildings. That is so cool. Also glad there are some good chocolate shops in the town. Yum!

  4. Melissa January 29, 2017 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    It looks very beautiful and full of culture. We are visiting Mexico City in June. Oaxaca would be a cool addition to our trip.

  5. Raymond Carroll January 29, 2017 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    Nice info. I have only ever been to Tijuana in Mexico but I’d love to go back and see the real Mexico. I have always been interested in the Aztec and Mayan cultures and would love to visit their old sites. Good post!

  6. Kreete January 30, 2017 at 11:44 pm - Reply

    You had me at chocolate, but then I saw that amazing photo of the colourful landscape with waterfalls and springs. It just looks absolutely magigal and out of this world. I don’t think I could ever eat grasshoppers or worms and it sounds crazy they would just dip it in guacamole haha! Thanks for sharing your journey with us!

  7. Diana January 31, 2017 at 2:32 am - Reply

    Wow Hierve el agua looks unreal! I’m not sure if I would try grasshopper or any bugs, but it’s actually something I’ve been thinking about because I’m going to SEA in March and am wondering if I’ll want to try any fried bugs there. Anyway I’d love to visit Oaxaca, in particular Hierve el agua and the mezcal tour.

  8. Michaela Terese Harrison February 1, 2017 at 11:17 am - Reply

    I’m not sure if I would try grasshopper or any bugs. It looks very beautiful and full of culture

  9. Jan Michael De Guzman February 1, 2017 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    Oaxaca looks really beautiful and i love the colors. I am intrigue with those exquisite food. Did you try them all? I wann taste thd grasshoppers too.

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