Subscríbete a nuestro Blog

21 marvelous reasons to visit Oaxaca | Tourism in Mexico

Do you want to know what to visit in Oaxaca? With an identity that comes from indigenous cultures like the Mixtecs and Zapotecs, Oaxaca is a World Heritage City in southern Mexico. There are significant minorities in every part of the state because they built settlements nearby.

Do you want to know the marvels of Oaxaca? With an identity that comes from indigenous cultures like the Mixtecs and Zapotecs, Oaxaca is a World Heritage City in southern Mexico. There are significant minorities in every part of the state because they built settlements nearby.

You can wander through Monte Albán, a Zapotec city on a ridge just outside of Oaxaca. After spending some time marveling at its pyramids and views of the city, you can marvel at the treasures found in one of its tombs at Oaxaca’s Museum of Cultures.

Colonial architecture abounds in Oaxaca’s historic center. This marvelous stone is nicknamed “Cantera stone”.

There are seven types of mole sauce in Oaxaca, along with grasshoppers, nutritious but daunting. Listed below are the best things to do in Oaxaca, and what to visit:

Alebriije in Mexico

1. Museo de las Culturas (The museum of the cultures)

This marvel is a former monastic community that was founded in 1575 and operated between 1608 and 1857. During the War of Independence in the 1810s, some of the buildings were used as military barracks, and for the second half of the 19th century, the entire monastery was a barracks.

14 rooms of the monastery are dedicated to presenting a timeline of human history in Oaxaca since 1972. This is such a cool place if you want to know what to visit.

The video begins with hunter-gatherers 10,000 years ago and progresses through the Zapotecs, the abandonment of great cities in Mesoamerica like Monte Albán, the arrival of the Spanish, the rise of national identity in the post-colonial period, and the present-day lives of indigenous communities in Oaxaca.

It’s worth spending time in this marvel, in every room gallery, but if you only have a few minutes to spend, you must see the gold jewelry, mask, and crystal vessel from Tomb 7 of Monte Albán.

2. What to visit: Church of Santo Domingo de Guzmán

The monastery’s church, adjacent to the museum in the cloister, was built in 1731 and restored in 1993. With its highly decorative stuccowork, it is comparable to the marvel of Puebla, the Capilla del Rosario.

You can see a Tree of Jesse in the vaulted entrance, which delineates Christ’s embroidery.

Gold outlines the intertwining designs on every surface of the interior, up the columns’ flutes, around the ceiling’s coffers, and all around the large polychrome sculptures.

The marvelous monument was decorated with more than 60,000 sheets of gold weighing 23.5 karats.

3. Monte Albán, Oaxaca

What to visit if you look for ancient history? It rests on a ridge 1,900 meters tall and 400 meters above the valley below, 10 kilometers southwest of Oaxaca.

An acropolis was built on the summit of the ridge in an almost unconquerable position.

In the first millennium AD, when the settlement reached its peak of power, its power reaches its zenith. After that, for unknown reasons, Monte Albán was abandoned in the 9th century and was later used by the Mixtecs to bury their rulers in the 13th century.

The North Platform, with its massive crowned pyramids, Los Danzantes, which are probably temples, the Southern Platform, another spectacular pyramid, and Platform J, an astronomical observatory, are a few of the many essential sights to see.

We suggest this marvel: the Oaxaca Monte Alban Zapotec Ruins Half-Day Tour.

Archeological place

4. What to visit? This “Árbol del Tule” in Oaxaca

Santa María del Tule is a marvel in the form of a small town that lies not far to the east, at the center of which stands a 40-meter-high Montezuma cypress tree.

It may be between 1,200 and 3,000 years old, but the age cannot be determined with accuracy.

According to legend, the tree was planted in a site with spiritual significance by an Aztec priest in honor of the wind god Ehecatl. The trunk is also noteworthy for its width.

Based on the last measurement, it was 9.39 meters in diameter, making it the world’s stoutest tree, without taking into account the buttresses.

There is enough shade from its branches for 500 people! What a marvel.

5. Plaza de la Danza

From the uppermost point of the Ex-Convento de San José, a few blocks west of the Zócalo, a series of staggered plazas offer the finest views of Monte Albán. These are near the base of the Cerro del Fortín hill just west of the Zócalo.

Art exhibitions, political rallies, and music performances are held in the square, which was laid out in 1959 with volcanic stone from Cantera.

On the plaza opposite the La Soledad church around the week of Día de Muertos, immense sand tapestries are laid. There is a traditional sorbet made from red prickly pear (tuna roja) on the south side of the Plaza de la Danza. You know now what marvel to visit.

6. Ex-Monastery of Santiago Apóstol in Oaxaca

Located just off the road to Villa de Zaachila, this partly completed monastery complex is about ten kilometers south of Oaxaca.

With a mixture of Gothic, Renaissance, and Plateresque architecture, the monastery was built from that green-ish cantera stone in 1570.

This marvel was established for evangelization.

As a result of the interaction between Zapotec and Mixtec populations and the Spanish, the church murals show the fusion of indigenous styles and motifs with a Christian framework.

An incomplete basilica stands in the complex, while relics from the 1500s are housed in a museum in the cloister.

Tour suggestion: Full-day tour of Zaachila and Cuilapan from Oaxaca. Do you want to know what to visit in Oaxaca? Keep reading about its marvels.

7. What to visit in Oaxaca? This “Museo Textil”!

As a museum founded in 2006, this one focuses on weaving, dyeing, embroidery, and beadwork, with an emphasis on traditional Oaxacan traditions.

All 5,000 permanent exhibit pieces, donated by private collectors, are imaginatively displayed alongside temporary exhibits on all aspects of clothing and textiles, from modern fashion to ancient techniques from around Mexico, Guatemala, and Ecuador.

Located next to a row of 17th-century mansions and with a sequestered courtyard, the building itself is also charming.

When you look at these bright quilts and clothes close up, you’ll notice that they’re made with quality craftsmanship using methods passed down from the Zapotecs.

8. An ominous marvel: the Oaxaca Cathedral

Check what marvel to visit here. In 1535, the cathedral was begun with volcanic stone similar to that used for other monuments in Oaxaca. There would be many earthquakes in the next 200 years, which necessitated several rebuilds, and the monument where you stand today was consecrated in 1733. 

There was yet another earthquake in 1931, which led to the reconstruction of the two towers flanking the rounded pediment. 

A bronze statue of Our Lady of the Assumption crafted in Italy during the Porfirian regime serves as the centerpiece on the altar of the chapel. The interior decoration of this marvel dates back to the 19th century.

visit this in oaxaca

9. The Zócalo in Oaxaca

On the northern edge of the zócalo, shaded by Moctezuma cypress trees and centered around a bandstand of Art Nouveau design, you will find a marvel: the Cathedral and Palacio de Gobierno. This charming spot occasionally hosts performances by the Marimba del Estado de Oaxaca. This is the place you need to think about if you want to know what to visit.

They are just a few of the many events being held on the square, which include the Grito de Dolores on 15 September.

Mayor Hidalgo recounts a talk first delivered by the martyr of the War of Independence, Miguel Hidalgo.

Each line is greeted with enthusiastic shouts of “Viva!”. On the evening of 23 December, a more esoteric event happens called La Noche de Rábanos (Night of Radishes), a marvel which involves carving radishes into unique displays before they wilt.

10. What marvel to visit in Oaxaca? Jardín Etnobotánico

Before the painter and sculptor Francisco Toledo came up with the idea to plant a botanical garden here, this former shooting range was about to become a luxury hotel and parking lot.

On more than 2.3 hectares of marvel, there are hundreds of plant species, all native to North America: these plants grow in arid and humid environmental conditions, temperate regions, and cold mountain zones, showcasing the diversity of life. Do you want to know what to visit in Oaxaca?

You can particularly enjoy the section on the Guilá Naquitz cave near Mitla, a Zapotec settlement near the cave. It is the oldest sign of agriculture in the Americas to find corn and pumpkin seeds 7,000 years old in the cave.

Investigate the marvel of the Echinocactus Platyacanthus biznaga cactus, which supposedly weighs five tons and is thought to be as old as 1,000 years.

11. Ancient marvel: Mitla in Oaxaca

A World Heritage archaeological site is situated 40 kilometers to the southeast. The marvel of the religious center of the Zapotec culture. This historic place is what to visit here.

Located at the upper end of the Tlacolula Valley, this settlement was established as early as 900 BC and reached its apogee around the 9th and 16th centuries.

They had a remarkably sophisticated writing system and created extremely intricate geometric designs on friezes, tombs, panels, and even whole walls.

Although Mitla lies low in the valley, its five cardinally aligned groups of buildings contain spectacular examples of frescoes and mosaic fretwork.

There’s also the northernmost Church Group, named for the Church of San Pablo, which sits right on top of a prehistoric platform.

12. What to visit? Mercado Benito Juárez

It once stood in what was the Plaza del Marqués, one block from the Zócalo.

A canopy shaded the handicraft stands and food stands that sold typical Oaxacan handicrafts. Colors abound, but you should be aware of a few things.

To commemorate the event, you can take a photo of the colorful paper-mâché sculptures of bizarre monsters, first imagined by the artist Pedro Linares and now found at the center of Mexican and Oaxacan celebrations.

Juice stands and hot chocolate stands are available for refreshments.

A brave soul can try worms or spiced grasshoppers (chapulines) and brag to their friends about it.

If you have room, you can take home seven different kinds of mole paste.

You can pick from a wide variety of empanadas, quesadillas, and tamales with a variety of fillings if you want to dine on the spot.

Quesadillas with squash blossoms are recommended.

Oaxaca, visit the cementery in El día de muertos
Xoxocotlán – Panteón Nuevo

13. Cuisine

In our previous post, we mentioned Oaxaca as the “land of the seven moles”, each with its color and blend of chili and herbs. What to visit when you want to enjoy top-tier gastronomy? 

There are several famous moles, including mole negro, which gets its dark color and richness from chocolate and is flavored with an aromatic herb called Hoja Santa (Mexican pepper leaf). Tacos and tamales can be made using this but it is typically served with rice and a grilled chicken leg.

Even when you may cringe at the thought of chapulines (grasshoppers), they’re a very nutrient-dense “superfood” thanks to their high protein and vitamin content.

Oaxaca cheese was invented by the Dominican monks in the 16th century, using the same techniques as mozzarella, but with cow’s milk instead of buffalo.

The result is close to Monterrey, and goes into empanadas, quesadillas, and tlayudas, which are a local preparation with cabbage, grilled beef, and a salsa molcajete (a tomato and chili sauce). Do you want to know what to visit in Oaxaca? Keep reading

14. Hierve el Agua

On a similar trip, you could also see a natural phenomenon not far from Mitla.

It resembles a pair of waterfalls that bubble down a cliff face when viewed from a distance.

Upon closer inspection, you find they are solid rock. This is an ideal what to visit.

Calcium carbonate is deposited over millions of years from a spring that trickles over the rock, creating strange concretions.

This phenomenon can only be seen at Hierve el Agua, one of the two examples on this planet.

Getting to the pools is easy via a trail that loops around the site. The water is said to have healing properties, so visitors bathe in it.

There are some impressive natural rock formations along the way, as well as canals carved from the rock by the Zapotecs 2,500 years ago.

15. What to visit? Museo Rufino Tamayo

A former viceroy’s mansion, Oaxaca’s Museo Rufino Tamayo was founded by the artist who bears his name.

Tamayo collected and drew inspiration from pre-Hispanic art throughout Mexico for the museum, which is entirely dedicated to Mexican pre-Hispanic art.

There is a sense in which the museum embodies three different eras: Pre-Hispanic for its art, Colonial for its location, and modern for the exhibition and color scheme, which Tamayo chose.

Over 700 pieces are displayed in five rooms, including stone figurines and sculptures (the dogs look lifelike), ceramic vessels, and reliefs.

16. What to visit? Best Puerto Escondido

If you want to know what to visit, this is the best decision! The beach is sand, the waves are perfect, and you have a margarita in your hands! Sadly, the road to this marvel is appalling – 250 kilometers of unforgiving curves and 1500 meters of altitude difference. The commute time isn’t calculated correctly by Google.

Two options are available to you:

  • Those who take the bus don’t take the ADO route, but they go all around (first to Salina Cruz, then up the coast). From 11 to 12 hours will be required of you, and the cost is about $25 to $30.30.
  • Shared taxi service. Taking the above-mentioned road is cheaper and faster, but – it is longer! You can manage to survive (still not totally awake) thanks to two anti-sickness pills, or maybe you had to suffer through all eight hours! 

Also, you’ll be crammed with no space to stretch your legs. You’ll enjoy it – what could be better for $12? 

You can go by plane to almost anywhere in Mexico. Negatives of what to visit here? Compared with other domestic flights in Mexico, plane tickets are more than 100 dollars, which makes them not very cost-effective.

17. Observe a marvel: the rug-weaving process 

What is the process of hand-making a carpet or a dress? Even though you can see looms before, the guide’s explanation of the process can be so thorough and fascinating that you can enjoy seeing this place! 

Furthermore, who knew grasshoppers can turn into indigo, which then changes to all possible shades when various additives (changing pH) are added? Interesting!

If you don’t buy the colorful camera strap (this isn’t even that expensive, it is around $15) because the carpets (or other products) are quite expensive. If I had spent so much time and effort making a product, I would probably charge even more. I would charge way more.

As part of our tour, we can visit Teotitlán del Valle, a weaving village.

18. What to visit? Join this marvel, the temazcal ceremony

This might be worth including on your Oaxaca itinerary! During a Temazcal ceremony, your body is cleansed of toxins. It’s supposed to be a spiritual ritual, but you can decide if it is. In an igloo-like brick building, which resembles a sauna, you will receive a herbal massage in addition to your sauna session.

While the ceremony is quite pricey, around $35 – so if you’re on a backpacker’s budget in Oaxaca, you might want to skip it if you know what to visit.

19. What to visit in Oaxaca? Drink (too much) at a mezcal factory

In general, Europeans are not so familiar with mezcal or we only know it by a name that usually conjures up a lot of associations – tequila. All tequilas are mezcals, but not all mezcals are tequilas. In essence, tequila is the same as mezcal, which comes from a specific type of agave.

The difference between mezcal and tequila is in its full and (to our surprise) smoky taste, which does not resemble its big brother, tequila, at all. You’ll see this in a mezcal factory as a result of underground roasting. 

This marvel called mezcal in Oaxaca is prepared in all possible alcohol percentages and flavors – there is even one for which certain worms are added to get the right flavor, and then one of them remains in the bottle for decoration. Want to try something new? 

There are many “mezcalerías” around the city in Oaxaca (ask your hostel for a mezcal tour!) and you can know what to visit in this factory as well. You will not regret visiting El Rey de Matatlán factory as part of a daily tour. 

Pourquoi? People were placed in front of the counter for tasting after a brief explanation of the process. You were encouraged to drink as much as you can (in a short time frame).  

Afterward, you can feel dizzy, which is an understatement. Despite this, we can buy another bottle of aged mezcal. You’ve got to be prepared to disinfect after eating mole, duh.

Daily 9 a.m.-7 p.m. except on Sunday and Monday until 6 p.m. In Oaxaca you can say one more, por favor!

20. What to visit: Take cheesy photos in agave fields from Oaxaca

Agave fields

The plants may look friendly at first glance, but they are actually quite sharp and you can quickly stab yourself with them as if they were spinning wheels. A dangerous marvel.

Although they are not meant to be touched, they can make a fun background for a photo or ten. In addition, you’ll have more creative poses if you drink a bit of the final product beforehand!

21. What to visit the marvels in Oaxaca? Even take a free walking tour

These are now becoming more and more popular with us. Though we aren’t always in the mood to go with a group, we can join them from time to time, to learn about the best beer and the quirkiest places around town.

While they are free, tips are always expected. Gratuities are not mandatory. But YES, if you don’t tip, you’re a jackass.

Did you learn more about one marvel in Oaxaca? You can learn some more of the marvels in Oaxaca if you read our blog here:

Disfruta las raíces del mezcal, la bebida espiritual más antigua de México desde Quiegolani.

Regístrese con su dirección de correo electrónico para recibir noticias y actualizaciones. 


Arte y cultura en tus manos

Nuestro Orgullo

En Oaxaca Auténtico, nos enorgullecemos de ofrecer una amplia variedad de productos artesanales y tradicionales de Oaxaca, seleccionados cuidadosamente para brindarte la mejor experiencia de compra en línea.

Explora nuestro catálago

Nuestro objetivo es acercarte a la cultura y el arte de esta maravillosa región mexicana, al mismo tiempo que apoyamos a los artesanos y productores locales.

Explora Más

Oaxaca: Magical Place Live Oaxaca

Oaxaca, a magical and charming place, offers a unique experience filled with art and craftsmanship. This state, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is known for its richness in gastronomy, art, history, and archaeology. If you’re planning to visit Oaxaca, here you’ll find valuable information to make the most of your stay.

Leer más »

Museums in Oaxaca

Discover Oaxaca’s vibrant culture through its diverse museums. From Santo Domingo’s historic center to pre-Hispanic art, delve into rich traditions. Plan your visit now!

Leer más »