Encounter the enduring traditions and ancient wonders of indigenous cultures and explore charming colonial cities in this culturally rich state.
The southwestern Mexican state of Oaxaca is an ancient region known for its diversity of indigenous cultures and its beautiful Pacific Coast beaches. The region’s rugged and densely forested Central Valleys are an important center for indigenous cultures, the most prominent of which are the Zapotecs and the Mixtecs. Explore Oaxaca’s culturally abundant cities, indulge in regional cuisine and learn about the remarkable biodiversity of the state’s flora and fauna at its nature reserves.
A great place to start your adventure is at Oaxaca’s eponymous capital. A captivating city, Oaxaca features an old town area decorated with ornate colonial architecture, stunning religious monuments and leafy plazas. Discover the rich variety of cultures in this region at the Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca or the Rufino Tamayo Museum of Pre-Hispanic Art.
Immerse your senses in the sights, smells and flavors of Oaxaca’s Benito Juárez Market. Sample some of the region’s culinary specialties, such as bitter chocolate and crispy roasted grasshoppers. This market is also a great spot for picking up souvenirs and handicrafts.
Take daytrips to the state’s astounding archaeological sites. Visit Monte Albán to see the UNESCO-listed remains of an ancient Zapotec city, as well as an unforgettable panoramic view that stretches out across Oaxaca Valley. See pyramids, temples, altars, mosaics, stone carvings here and at nearby Mitla archaeological site. Join a tour to get further insight into the history and cultural significance of these sites.
Head for the beaches around Santa Cruz Huatulco, such as Chahue Beach. Surf or swim in the waves at Puerto Escondido, Playa Zipolite or Mazunte. The pristine waters of Puerto Angelito Beach are perfect for snorkeling. Spot rare reptile species in Huatulco National Park or see an array of wetland birds amid the lagoons and mangroves of Lagunas de Chacahua National Park.
Oaxaca is easy to reach by air. Fly into Xoxocotlán International Airport. Once you are there, make use of the extensive network of interstate and local buses. Downtown Oaxaca can be explored on foot, with taxis providing a convenient option for longer distances. Join guided tours around the Central Valleys to experience a range of different cultural sights.