Oaxaca sign - 5 day travel itinerary

Ultimate 5-Day Oaxaca Itinerary: Discovering the Best of Oaxaca City

Welcome to the vibrant and culturally rich region of Oaxaca, Mexico! If you’re looking for a unique and exciting travel experience, then look no further than this Oaxaca itinerary.

With its stunning landscapes, ancient ruins, colorful markets, and delicious cuisine, Oaxaca offers something for every type of traveler.

Immerse yourself in the fascinating history and traditions of the indigenous Zapotec and Mixtec peoples as you explore ancient archaeological sites such as Monte Albán and Mitla.

Witness the vibrant art scene in Oaxaca City, known for its colonial architecture and bustling markets where you can shop for handmade crafts and textiles.

Oaxaca City aerial view

Indulge your taste buds with the diverse flavors of Oaxacan cuisine, from mouthwatering mole sauces to traditional tlayudas and mezcal, a smoky agave-based spirit that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Explore the lush landscapes of the Oaxacan countryside, including the majestic Hierve el Agua petrified waterfalls.

Whether you’re a history buff, foodie, nature lover, art enthusiast, traveling solo or as a family, this Oaxaca itinerary has something for everyone.

Mole in Oaxaca

So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable journey through one of Mexico’s most enchanting destinations.

Get ready to be inspired, amazed, and rejuvenated as you discover all that Oaxaca has to offer. 


If you’re trying to plan a week in Oaxaca City, here’s what you must pit on your itinerary: 1. Monte Alban day trip 2. Mitla day trip 3. Hierva el Agua day trip 4. Botanical Gardens 5. Temple de Santo Domingo and the Markets 6. Barrio Jalatlaco 7. Arbol del Tule #oaxacacity #oaxacatravel #oaxacamexico #mexicodestinations #oaxacalotienetodo #oaxacamagico #mexicotravel #oaxacaitinerary #familytravel #travelitinerary @togethertowherever

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Welcome to Oaxaca, one of the best places to visit in Mexico!

1. Day One In Oaxaca: Centro Historico: Mercados, Zocalo, Templo de Santo Domingo, Botanical Garden

On your first day in Oaxaca, start with a visit to the Centro Historico, where you can explore the city center, visit local markets, and admire historic sites like the Santo Domingo Church.

Be sure to take a guided tour of the Templo de Santo Domingo and the Botanical Garden to learn more about the indigenous culture of the region.

Oaxaca city centro

Don’t forget to stop by the Mercados to shop for pottery and agave products, and to enjoy a mezcal tour in the surrounding Oaxaca Valley.

With so many UNESCO World Heritage sites in Oaxaca, your itinerary is sure to be packed with exciting things to see and do!

Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca – Botanical Garden 

Are you planning a trip to Oaxaca with your kids like we did and looking for fun and educational activities? Look no further than a visit to the Jardin Etnobotanico de Oaxaca!

This incredible city has so much to offer, and this botanical garden is definitely one of the best things to do in Oaxaca City.

Oaxaca Botanical Garden - family itinerary

Located in the historic city center of Oaxaca de Juárez, the garden is a peaceful oasis where you can learn about the diverse plant species native to the Oaxaca state.

You and your little ones could easily spend a few hours wandering around the garden, exploring the different plants and enjoying the beautiful surroundings.

Explore Oaxaca’s Downtown: Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán

This vibrant city is filled with opportunities to explore, discover, and enjoy.

Start your day by taking a stroll through the charming streets lined with colorful buildings and bustling markets.

Templo de Santo Doming0 - Oaxaca itinerary

Immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of Oaxaca by visiting the numerous museums and galleries scattered throughout the city. It reminded us a little of our 2 days in San Miguel De Allende.

Don’t forget to sample the delicious local cuisine at one of the many restaurants or street vendors.

For the art enthusiasts, be sure to check out the local artisan shops and markets for unique handcrafted souvenirs. 

Get ready to be inspired by the stunning Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán in Oaxaca, Mexico.

This historical masterpiece holds centuries of rich cultural heritage and architectural brilliance that will leave you in awe.

Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán- Oaxaca downtown

As you step inside this grand temple, you will be greeted with intricate details and lavish decorations that showcase the dedication and craftsmanship of those who built it.

The sheer magnitude of this structure is a testament to the unwavering dedication to faith and beauty.

Every corner of Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán is a marvel in itself, offering a unique blend of history and artistry.

The intricate carvings on the walls, the colorful frescoes adorning the ceilings, and the peaceful atmosphere within the temple all serve as a reminder of the beauty that can be achieved through passion and hard work.

Wander The Magnificent Markets: Mercado Benito Juarez , Mercado 20 de Noviembre

Are you ready for a vibrant and culturally rich experience? Then make sure to visit Mercado Benito Juarez and Mercado 20 de Noviembre in Oaxaca city!

These famous markets are bursting with colors, aromas, and the warm hospitality of the local vendors.

Mercado 20 de Noviembre in Oaxaca city

As you wander through the bustling stalls, you will be greeted by the sights and sounds of traditional Mexican crafts, clothing, and delicious food.

Mercado Benito Juarez is a great place to pick up handmade souvenirs and unique gifts, while Mercado 20 de Noviembre is a food lover’s paradise, offering a plethora of mouthwatering dishes to satisfy your cravings.

Benito Juárez market Oaxaca Mexico

Take this opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Oaxaca City and support local artisans and businesses.

Explore the markets with an open mind and a curious spirit, and you will surely be rewarded with unforgettable experiences and meaningful connections. 

Try The Local Food

In Oaxaca, the local food scene is bursting with flavor and tradition. From tlayudas to mole negro, there is a dish for every palate and preference.

Oaxaca Local dishes to try - itinerary day 1

Start your day with a hearty chocolate atole or memelas topped with salsa and cheese for a true taste of Oaxacan breakfast.

For lunch, indulge in enchiladas oaxaqueñas or chapulines (yes, those are fried grasshoppers!) for a unique culinary experience.

And of course, no trip to Oaxaca would be complete without savoring a bowl of mezcal with some chapulines.

Whether you’re a foodie looking to expand your palate or simply a traveler wanting to immerse yourself in the local culture, Oaxaca’s culinary delights will not disappoint.

So grab a fork, pull up a chair, and get ready to be wowed by the diverse and delicious local food in Oaxaca City. Bon appétit!

chapulines in Oaxaca

2. Day Two In Oaxaca

Day Trip to Hierve El Agua

Today is all about the adventure to Hierve El Agua from Oaxaca City. Let me show you how to make the most out of your day trip to this stunning natural wonder.

First things first, start your day early to beat the crowds and witness the beauty of Hierve El Agua in peace.

Pack a hearty picnic lunch with local Oaxacan treats to enjoy amidst the breathtaking scenery.

Don’t forget to bring plenty of water and sunscreen to stay hydrated and protected from the sun’s rays.

Hierva el agua - attractions to see in Oaxaca - day 2

Next, embark on a scenic drive through the Mexican countryside to reach Hierve El Agua. Take in the picturesque views of rolling hills and lush valleys along the way.

We made a couple of stops along the way so the kids could see some of the donkeys and other farm animals along the roadside farms.

You also have the option of taking a tour that will include Hierva el Agua in the itinerary.

Once you arrive, take a leisurely hike to the stunning petrified waterfall and natural infinity pools.

Take a refreshing dip in the mineral-rich waters and soak in the rejuvenating benefits of this natural wonder.

We felt that it was a bit chilly getting in the water on an early April day but did dip our feet in.

Hierva El Agua Day trip from Oaxaca, Mexico

When visiting Hierva el Agua, make sure to see the stunning petrified waterfalls from the different vista points (the hikes are not that difficult) that will take your breath away.

These unique mineral formations are unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, and are a must-see for any nature lover.

As you explore the area, be sure to take in the panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the majestic mountains and lush valleys.

You’ll feel a sense of awe and wonder as you admire the beauty of this natural wonder.

3. Day Three In Oaxaca

Day Trip To Mitla

Embark on a day trip to Zona Arqueologica de Mitla and uncover the rich history and culture of this ancient Zapotec archeological site.

Marvel at the intricate stone mosaics that adorn the walls of the Palace of Columns and imagine the stories they hold.

Mitla day trip from Oaxaca City

Take a stroll through the Mitla Archeological Zone and be transported back in time as you wander among the ruins of ancient temples and tombs.

Don’t forget to visit the Church of San Pablo, a unique blend of Spanish colonial and indigenous architecture.

Make the most of your day trip by hiring a knowledgeable guide who can provide insight into the significance of each structure and offer a deeper understanding of the site’s history.

Take your time to soak in the beauty of Mitla and appreciate the craftsmanship of the Zapotec artisans who created these stunning works of art.

Mitla Archeological Zone - Day 3 in Oaxaca Itinerary

After your exploration of the site, enjoy a local meal at the restaurant with the best views in town!

Get a table upstairs at the Origen Maíz restaurant and make sure to order one of their special recommendations.

Mitla Town - day 3 in Oaxaca

Bonus afternoon itinerary item: Acueducto de San Felipe del Agua (also referred to as Xochimilco Aqueduct due to its location in that barrio) is a magnificent aqueduct located in the outskirts of Oaxaca, Mexico.

To see this impressive structure up close, visitors can take a short hike from the town of San Felipe del Agua.

The trail offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and lush vegetation, making it a picturesque journey to the aqueduct.

Once you reach the Acueducto de San Felipe del Agua, you’ll be in awe of its sheer size and grandeur.

The aqueduct stretches across the landscape, showcasing the incredible engineering skills of its creators.

It’s a perfect spot for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts to appreciate the beauty of this ancient water transportation system.

Acueducto de San Felipe del Agua - Itinerary for Oaxaca

Not only is the Acueducto de San Felipe del Agua a historic marvel, but it also provides a tranquil setting for a leisurely stroll or a picnic.

The peaceful atmosphere around the aqueduct makes it a great place to relax and unwind while taking in the beauty of this architectural masterpiece.

4. Day Four In Oaxaca

Explore Historic Monte Albán

It’s time to take a trip outside of the city to explore the breathtaking Monte Albán. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-visit during your Oaxaca City itinerary.

Monte Alban Oaxaca, Mexico - Day 4

From the ancient ruins of Monte Albán to the stunning views of the surrounding state of Oaxaca, this day trip will leave you in awe.

And don’t forget to stop by Casa Oaxaca for a delicious meal to fuel up for your adventure.

Make your way to Monte Albán for a tour of the ruins and a walk through history. The views from the top are not to be missed! 

Monte Alban is a must-see destination when visiting Oaxaca. To reach this incredible archaeological site, you can take a guided tour or venture out on your own.

If you choose to go independently, start your day early to beat the crowds and make the most of your visit.

The site is located about 6 miles from the city of Oaxaca, but the journey is well worth it.

Once you arrive, prepare to be amazed by the ancient ruins and stunning views of the surrounding valleys.

Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water to stay hydrated as you explore this historical wonder.

It’s important to respect the site and its history, so be sure to follow the rules and regulations while visiting.

Monte Alban - Oaxaca 5 day itinerary

Whether you’re spending three days in Oaxaca or four or five days, a day trip to Monte Albán is a highlight of any Oaxaca travel experience.

So pack your bags, hit the road, and come explore the wonders that Oaxaca has in store for you!

Barrio de Jalatlaco Neighborhood: Street art and Templo de San Matías Jalatlaco

On your Oaxaca visit make sure to include time to explore the vibrant Barrio de Jalatlaco neighborhood in Oaxaca City.

This charming area is known for its colorful street art and its beautiful Templo de San Matías Jalatlaco.

Start your visit by wandering the streets and taking in the stunning murals that adorn the buildings. Let the art inspire you and ignite your creativity!

Barrio de Jalatlaco in Oaxaca, Mexico

After soaking in the beauty of the street art, make your way to the Templo de San Matías Jalatlaco – a historic church that dates back to the 16th century.

Take a moment to appreciate the architecture and the history of this sacred place. Feel the sense of peace and tranquility as you step inside and explore the grounds.

As you continue your exploration of the neighborhood, be sure to stop and chat with the friendly locals.

They will be more than happy to share stories about the area and recommend hidden gems for you to discover.

The sense of community in Jalatlaco is palpable and will make you feel right at home.

This neighborhood is a hidden gem just waiting to be explored – don’t miss out on the chance to experience its magic!

street art in Oaxaca city - day 4 things to do

5. Oaxaca Itinerary Day Five

Yaguar Zoo Xoo (Santuario del Jaguar Zoológico Yaguar Xoo)

Located just a few hours away from Oaxaca City, this sanctuary offers a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with some of Mexico’s most fascinating wildlife.

To visit the Yaguar Zoo Xoo from Oaxaca City, you can either rent a car and drive yourself or take a guided tour.

The drive is scenic and well worth the journey, as you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the Mexican countryside along the way.

Once you arrive at the sanctuary, be prepared to be amazed by the diverse array of animals that call this place home.

From jaguars to monkeys to exotic birds, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy.

Santuario del Jaguar Zoológico Yaguar Xoo - Oaxaca, Mexico

But the real reason you should visit the Yaguar Zoo Xoo isn’t just for the animals – it’s for the conservation efforts that this sanctuary supports.

By visiting the sanctuary, you’re not only educating yourself about Mexico’s incredible wildlife, but you’re also helping to fund critical conservation projects that are working to protect these animals and their natural habitats. 

Yaguar Zoo Xoo (Santuario del Jaguar Zoológico Yaguar Xoo) is the perfect place to visit with kids to ignite their curiosity and spark a love for nature and wildlife.

With a variety of interactive exhibits and educational programs, children can learn about different species of animals while having a fun and memorable experience.

The zoo provides a safe and engaging environment for kids to explore and connect with the natural world.

From feeding sessions to hands-on encounters, Yaguar Zoo Xoo offers a unique opportunity for children to learn about conservation and the importance of protecting our planet’s biodiversity.

Don’t miss out on the chance to create special memories with your little ones at this incredible sanctuary!

Arbol Del Tule

Arbol del Tule is a magnificent natural wonder located just a short drive away from Oaxaca, making it the perfect destination for a family day trip.

The sheer size and age of this ancient tree will leave your kids in awe as they stand in front of its massive trunk.

Arbol Del Tule - Oaxaca attractions in Mexico

Visiting this impressive tree is not only a fun and educational experience but also a great way to teach children about the importance of conservation and preservation of our natural world.

As you wander around the tree, take the time to point out the intricate details of its bark and branches, sparking curiosity and wonder in the minds of your little ones.

One of our favorite parts about a visit to Arbol del Tule is the opportunity to enjoy the peaceful surroundings and connect with nature as a family.

The serene atmosphere of the tree’s surroundings provides the perfect backdrop for a picnic or a leisurely stroll, allowing your kids to run and play freely while you relax and take in the beauty of the area.

Arbol del Tule - Oaxaca things to do

After spending a magical day at Arbol del Tule, your kids will be buzzing with excitement and stories to share with their friends.

Not only will they have learned about the importance of nature conservation, but they will have also experienced the joy of exploring a new and fascinating place.

After you’ve taken in the sights and sounds of Arbol Del Tule, take some time to explore the surrounding area. Visit the local shops and restaurants to get a taste of the authentic Oaxacan culture.

Merado Gastronomico el Tule - day 4 itinerary

Mercado Gastronomica El Tule offers a wide selection of local dishes from various stalls and you really can’t go wrong with any of them.

We loved it because it was a very family-friendly place where each of us could choose what we were in the mood for and the kids were happy as well!

Trust me, this experience will stay with you long after you’ve left Tule!

And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not take a stroll through the nearby countryside to truly immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region.

Oaxacan food - day 1 itinerary

How Many Days In Oaxaca City Makes It Worth It?

Visiting Oaxaca City is an experience like no other. Just four days in Oaxaca can truly showcase all that this vibrant city has to offer.

From exploring the colorful markets of Teotitlán del Valle to visiting the famous Benito Juárez market, every moment in Oaxaca is filled with excitement and beauty.

If you’re traveling from Mexico City to Oaxaca, the journey is well worth it. Take a tour of Oaxaca and immerse yourself in the rich culture and history that this city is known for.

Oaxaca city colorful streets

One of Oaxaca’s highlights is the food scene.

From sampling traditional dishes at local eateries to dining at renowned restaurants like Pujol in Mexico City, every meal in Oaxaca is a culinary adventure.

And if you have the time (like 7 to 10 days), make sure to explore the coast of Oaxaca for some relaxation and beach time.

Whether you have three days or a full week to spare, a visit to Oaxaca will leave you feeling inspired and rejuvenated.

How To Get To Oaxaca City

Oaxaca is one of the most vibrant and culturally rich cities in Mexico, and if you find yourself in Mexico City or Cancun, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to make your way to Oaxaca.

The journey may seem daunting at first, but with the right mindset and a bit of planning, you’ll be able to easily navigate your way to this stunning destination.

If you are starting your journey from Mexico City, you have a few options to choose from.

You can either take a bus, which will take you approximately 6-8 hours depending on traffic and road conditions, or you can catch a flight, which will get you to Oaxaca City in just over an hour.

Whichever mode of transportation you choose, rest assured that the journey will be well worth it once you arrive in this charming city.

Oaxaca Mexico travel

On the other hand, if you are coming from Cancun, your best bet is to catch a flight to Oaxaca City.

The flight will only take about 2 hours, and you’ll be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenic views as you make your way to this cultural hub.

We made the trip from Playa del Carmen to Cancun by car and hopped on a (very economically priced) flight to Oaxaca. The kids did well since it was short and comfortable flight.

Once we arrived, we rented a car at the airport and set off on our 5 day trip to Oaxaca.

When it comes to choosing between in Playa Del Carmen and Cancun for a home base, consider the desired vibe.

Playa Del Carmen offers a more laid-back atmosphere and closer proximity to cultural attractions, while Cancun boasts a vibrant nightlife and a wider range of luxury resorts.

Where To Stay In Oaxaca City

Travel to Oaxaca and immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of this vibrant city!

Whether you have 4 days in Oaxaca or just 3 days in Oaxaca, there are plenty of exciting things to see and do.

From exploring the archaeological sites to wandering around the city’s colorful markets, there is something for everyone in Oaxaca.

When it comes to finding the perfect place to stay during your visit in Oaxaca, the options are endless.

Whether you prefer a cozy boutique hotel or a charming guesthouse, there are accommodations to suit every taste and budget.

Be sure to choose a central location so you can easily explore all the places to stay and attractions in and around the city.

Oaxaca Semana Santa parade

What’s The Best Time To Visit Oaxaca?

The ideal time to make the trip is during the fall months when the weather is pleasant and the crowds are fewer.

The ultimate time to visit Oaxaca is during the Day of the Dead celebrations, which usually take place at the end of October and early November.

This is a lively and colorful festival that honors deceased loved ones and is a unique cultural experience that you won’t want to miss.

So, plan your trip for the fall and try to coincide with Dia de Los Muertos for a truly unforgettable experience in Mexico. 

We had the amazing opportunity to explore Oaxaca city during Semana Santa in April and even got to witness one of the vibrant parades in town.

The weather was absolutely delightful during this season, although it did tend to get a bit warm in the afternoons.

While you’re in Oaxaca, don’t miss out on the opportunity to take tours in Oaxaca to truly immerse yourself in the local culture.

Whether you want to learn how to cook traditional dishes or visit local artisans, there is a tour for everyone.

Make the most of your day in the city with a well-planned day itinerary that includes all the must-see sights.

What Similarities Are There Between Oaxaca City And Merida?

Much like in Oaxaca City, there is a plethora of things to do in Merida for travelers.

From exploring ancient ruins and enjoying vibrant local markets to trying delicious regional cuisine and admiring colonial architecture, both cities provide fascinating cultural experiences and unforgettable memories.

Should We Visit Campeche Or Merida From Oaxaca City?

When making a comparison between Campeche and Merida as potential destinations for a trip from Oaxaca, it’s important to consider the unique attractions and experiences each city offers.

Both cities boast rich historical charm, delicious cuisine, and vibrant cultural scenes, making either choice a memorable travel experience.

Is Merida Or Valladolid Worth Visiting From Oaxaca?

When it comes to a comparison between Merida and Valladolid, both are worth visiting.

Merida offers a vibrant cultural scene and stunning colonial architecture, while Valladolid boasts impressive archaeological sites and a charming colonial center.

Each city offers a unique experience, making the comparison a tough choice.

What Are The Must-See Attractions In Valladolid?

When visiting Yucatan, there are several must-see things to do in Valladolid. Start with a visit to the stunning Cenote Zaci for a refreshing swim.

Don’t miss the colonial charm and history of the San Bernardino Convent, and take a stroll through the colorful and bustling Mercado Municipal.

Should I Visit Guanajuato Or San Miguel De Allende From Oaxaca?

When deciding which Mexican city to visit from Oaxaca, the choice between Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende can be a tough one.

Guanajuato offers colorful streets and rich history, while San Miguel de Allende boasts a vibrant art scene and colonial architecture. It ultimately comes down to personal preferences.

Oaxaca Itinerary Pin

Family Travel Planning Resources

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🏨 Scoring the Best Deals 

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🌍 Activities for Everyone 

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🎒 Our Must-Have Travel Essentials 

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💰 Managing Finances While Globetrotting 

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Rob and Taiss

Hi! We’re Rob and Taiss. We set off to live a life in as many places as possible. To actually live in locations around the world long enough to get to know the locals, the culture, and the food, not just a taste of it.