How Many Days In Oaxaca Is Enough? | 2023
Planning a trip to Mexico soon? You might be wondering how many days in Oaxaca you’ll need. The answer, of course, depends on what you want to do and see while you’re in the city.
If you’re interested in exploring the region, we suggest spending at least two or three days in Oaxaca.
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This will give you enough time to visit the significant sites and enjoy some of the other activities Oaxaca has to offer, such as Hierve el Agua waterfalls.
That said, the answer really comes down to the type of holiday you’re looking for.
If you love being on the go and are happy to see everything quickly, 2 days in Oaxaca might be enough for you.
But if you’d like to slow things down, and have a little more time to spend at each attraction, you might want to consider 3 or 4 days in Oaxaca instead.
I put this guide together to help you figure out how many days in Oaxaca you’ll need. You’ll find all the things you need to think about when planning the length of your stay, along with a guide to Oaxaca’s highlights.
I’ve also suggested how long you should plan to spend at each one so that you can create a realistic itinerary for your visit so that you can enjoy every moment of your trip.
How To Decide How Long To Stay In Oaxaca
Deciding how long to spend in Oaxaca can depend on a few different things, like arrival time, hotel check-in, what you want to see, transportation, and more!
To help you figure out exactly how long you’ll need in Oaxaca, make a list of the things you want to do in the city, and consider the time of arrival and departure.
Then, look at the distance between places to keep it realistic. At the end of this exercise, you’ll know how many days in Oaxaca you’ll need.
That said, it’s important to keep a few things in mind when planning a trip to Oaxaca.
Are you planning on staying in Oaxaca, or do you want to use Oaxaca as a base to explore the region?
Oaxaca can be a good base for exploring the region, but it really depends on what you want to do while in Mexico.
Time Of Arrival, Hotel Check-In Time & Time Of Departure
One important thing to consider is whether your hotel check-in and departure times allow for a full day’s sightseeing.
To save time on arrival, consider booking a private transfer in advance.
If you’re planning on arriving late, you might consider adding an extra night to your stay. Another important consideration is what you will do with your luggage.
If you want to get to Oaxaca early to make the most of your day, you might need to store your luggage somewhere for a few hours before it is time for you to check into your accommodation.
Most hotels will offer this service, but not all. So don’t just assume there will be somewhere to leave your bags – find out before you go.
Activities In Oaxaca
Oaxaca is a popular destination for travelers who enjoy spending time exploring historical sites, enjoying street food, and seeing all the Oaxaca state region has to offer.
You must think carefully about which attractions or tours appeal to you the most and plan how to fit them all in – especially if you’re thinking about a short stay.
The list of highlights below will help you put your Oaxaca itinerary together, but be careful not to schedule every single moment of your day.
It’s always a good idea to leave a little leeway for things like long queues and transport delays – or simply to spend longer at the places you like the best!
Note that many travelers prefer to book tours and activities in advance to save time, skip the queues and make the most of their holidays.
Pace Of Activities
When thinking about how many days in Oaxaca you’ll need, ask yourself if you want a relaxing break or one that’s a whirlwind of activity. It’s pretty simple; the shorter your visit, the busier you will be.
So if you are the type of person who likes to enjoy the sights at a more leisurely pace – or a foodie who wants to have enough time to appreciate the local cuisine – then 4 days in Oaxaca will definitely suit you better than 2.
Think carefully about how you will get around during your visit. While it makes sense to visit attractions close together, you will still need to factor travel time into your days.
Can you visit attractions on foot? Will you reach your destination by scooter, taxi, or bus?
Do your research to find out how you will visit the places you wish to visit, and keep the distance and time to reach your destination in mind when you build your Oaxaca itinerary.
Make sure your itinerary is logical and that you visit nearby attractions in one go. That way, you won’t waste time traveling between places that are far apart.
That said, if you’re going to Oaxaca directly from the airport, you could book a transfer to save time on arrival.
Some hotels might be able to arrange a transfer for you.
What To Do In Oaxaca
Here are some of the best sights and experiences to enjoy in Oaxaca, along with our recommendations for how long to set aside for each.
Full-Day Tour Of Oaxaca
If you’re a bit tight on time, this type of tour is a great choice for you as you can see lots of the highlights of Oaxaca in one day.
You will start off with a visit to the nearby village of Santa Maria el Tule. Here you will see the famous Tule Tree. This is a tree with a height of 40 meters and it’s said to be over 2000 years old.
The Tule tree is also nicknamed the “Tree of Life” and is considered to be one of the oldest living things in the world.
Another stop on this tour will be to visit Mitla, a colorful and artistic place, which translates to ‘Place of the Dead”. In ancient times it was a place for ceremonies for the Zapotecs.
Nowadays, you can find some amazing textiles and mosaics here.
Other highlights of this tour include mineral baths, a mezcal distillery, and breathtaking waterfalls.
Suggested time: full day
Visiting Monte Albán is one thing you definitely can’t miss while visiting Oaxaca as it is an important part of history in the area and it really is an incredible spectacle to behold.
Here you can get a glimpse into the fascinating culture of the Zapotec people in Oaxaca. during this tour, you can learn all about the Zapotec people from your local guide who is an expert in this area.
This archaeological zone was the former capital of the Zapotec people which once dominated the area thousands of years ago. Now you can visit it and enjoy the beautiful views from Monte Alban.
From here, you can see Oaxaca Valley for miles and miles and there really is no other view like it in the area.
Suggested time: half a day
Street Food Tour
If you want to be completely immersed in the local culture, there is no better way to do so than by joining a food tour.
During this tour, you will be guided around local street food stalls and markets while your guide gives you a glimpse into life in the area and the history of how it was in the past.
This will be a tasty and colorful journey through the streets of Oaxaca as you sample some delicious food.
Some of the dishes include tlayudas, garnachas, and beef tacos all while learning about the authentic food of the locals.
You will also get to try some of the local drink, aguas frescas, which is a non-alcoholic flavored water popular in Oaxaca.
Suggested time: 3 hours
No trip to Mexico would be complete without trying some of the famous Mexican drinks, Mezcal.
We recommend you join this fully guided tour to learn the in-depth culture of mezcal and its importance in the Oaxaca area.
You will be taken to an agave plantation in the picturesque Santiago Matalan area. Here you will see the beginning of the mezcal process and where it comes from.
This tour also gives you the chance to see two working mezcal distilleries in the Oaxaca region. You will see what a family-run local distillery is like and you will also travel to a full-scale distillery operation.
Finish the day off with some lunch and a delicious mezcal tasting.
Suggested time: full day
Final Thoughts On Oaxaca Getaways
We hope this guide helped you figure out how many days in Oaxaca are enough.
And remember, the best way to make the most of your time is to pre-book tours and activities so that you can fully enjoy your holiday without wasting any time!
Oaxaca is a great destination to relax and explore the history of the Zapotec people.
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