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How to Spend 3 Days in Oaxaca

How to Spend 3 Days in Oaxaca

If you have three days to spend in Oaxaca City, there’s time to sample a little of everything; learn more about indigenous cultures, visit Mayan archaeological sites, and delve deeper into traditional Oaxacan cuisine. Here’s how to get the best from three days in Oaxaca.

Day 1: Take it easy

Spend your first day getting your bearings in the historic centre of Oaxaca. For local insight that you wouldn’t get if exploring alone, take a walking tour. Tours typically stop at markets such as 20 de Noviembre or Benito Juárez Markets and reveal traditional Oaxacan breakfast foods and local coffee. Observe local life in the zócalo (plaza) with a homemade ice cream or spicy elote (corn) before strolling along Calle Alcalá to the Santo Domingo Temple.

In the evening, enjoy dinner at one of Oaxaca City’s restaurants—trying traditional mole sauce is a must for food lovers—and sample mezcal or pulque afterwards. If it’s Guelaguetza season, skip dinner in the city and take an excursion to the festival’s hilltop music and dance performance which spotlights indigenous cultures—you won’t go hungry as dinner is typically included with these packages.

Day 2: Take a trip

Dedicate day two to a day trip. Oaxaca City is surrounded by indigenous villages and handicraft towns, making it the ideal base from which to discover new cultures and crafts. Some trips cover several handicraft and artisan villages, such as San Bartolo Coyotepec and Arrazola, while other excursions focus on specific products such as tortillas or mezcal.

If you’re more into archaeology, leave the logistics to the experts and take advantage of tours that stop at both Mitla and Monte Alban—where you can sometimes enjoy skip-the-line privileges—in just one day. Or, cool off in the midday Oaxacan heat at Hierve el Agua, a petrified waterfall with excellent photo opportunities. Excursions to Hierve el Agua often make additional stops at places such as Tule, home to one of the world’s biggest trees; the weaving town of Teotitlán del Valle; and the mezcal hotspot of Santiago Matatlán.

Day 3: Take a class

Pick up some new skills on day three in Oaxaca City during a cooking class, tasting tour, or craft course. Learn how to properly taste and appreciate the smoky flavors of mezcal at a sampling session in one of the city’s many mezcalerías (mezcal bars). Or, get to grips with Oaxacan cooking instead. Many cooking classes start mid-morning, allowing you to enjoy a leisurely breakfast before getting hands-on in the kitchen with a chef.

If you’d rather create a souvenir to take home with you, it’s worth venturing a little outside the city to San Martín Tilcajete, where you can get hands-on insight into alebrijes (painted wooden figures) during a workshop.

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7 Tours and Activities | All Oaxaca Tours

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Monte Albán, Arrazola, Cuilapam y San Bartolo Coyotepec. pick up 7:00am

Monte Albán, Arrazola, Cuilapam y San Bartolo Coyotepec. pick up 7:00am

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52
From the mountaintop pyramids of Monte Alban to the Cuilapam Convent on the valley floor, learn all about the rich history of Oaxaca Valley on this guided full-day trip by coach. Discover the Zapotec pyramids and excavated ruins of UNESCO-listed Monte Alban, admire the mystical woodcarvings of San Antonio Arrazola and meet resident artisans in San Bartolo Coyotepec, a town known for its beautiful black pottery. Hotel pickup and drop-off from Oaxaca included.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$47.57
From
$47.57
Taking safety measures

City Tour Santo Domingo/Alcalá/mercados/chocolate pick up 9:30am

City Tour Santo Domingo/Alcalá/mercados/chocolate pick up 9:30am

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11
Find culture, history and excellent souvenir shopping on this 4.5-hour guided tour of the city of Oaxaca. Explore by foot the ‘zócalo’ (town square) and city center, and visit the Temple of Santo Domingo de Guzman and the Oaxaca Regional Museum located in its former convent. Wander the stalls of 20 de Noviembre and Benito Juarez, two of Oaxaca’s most popular markets, and pick up woven goods, crafts and tasty snacks like chocolates and chilies. Hotel pickup and drop-off by coach included.
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$46.80
From
$46.80

Half-Day Alebrijes Carving and Painting Workshop in San Martin from Oaxaca

Half-Day Alebrijes Carving and Painting Workshop in San Martin from Oaxaca

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Visit the town to San Martin Tilcajete to learn about the alebrijes sculptures of Oaxacan-Mexican folk art. Visit a workshop to watch artisans carve and paint the figures, then paint your own figure with guidance from the experts. Take your creation home with you on a half-day tour that includes guide, round-trip transportation from Oaxaca, and hotel pickup and drop-off. Great for travelers who enjoy making art and meeting local artisans.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$44.09
From
$44.09
Taking safety measures

Oaxaca Cooking Class pick up 9:30am

Oaxaca Cooking Class pick up 9:30am

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10
Learn how to create Oaxacan cuisine at a world-class restaurant in Oaxaca raved about in the ‘New York Times’ and ‘Bon Appétit.’ During this 3.5-hour cooking class led by an expert chef-instructor, your small group, limited to just 10 cooking enthusiasts, decides which dishes are on the menu. After picking up the necessary ingredients, all fresh, from a local market, prepare your dishes back in the kitchen. Whether it’s tortillas, salsas, soup, mole, or dessert, take home exciting recipes knowing you’ll be able to easily recreate the flavors of Oaxaca.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$116.03
From
$116.03
Taking safety measures

Full-Day Monte Alban Archaeological Site and Oaxaca Artisan Experience

Full-Day Monte Alban Archaeological Site and Oaxaca Artisan Experience

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The ancient Zapotec city and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Monte Alban sits about 9 miles (6 kilometers) west of Oaxaca. With this tour, explore the hilltop archaeological site with a guide and enjoy views overlooking the Oaxaca Valley. That leaves enough time to visit the artisan towns of Arrazola, Cuilapam de Guerrero, and San Bartolo Coyotepec. Plus, round-trip transportation from your hotel in downtown Oaxaca is included.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$30.76
From
$30.76
Taking safety measures

Authentic Oaxacan Food Cooking Class

Authentic Oaxacan Food Cooking Class

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2
Try your hand at preparing celebrated Oaxacan dishes with this cooking class. Tour a local market to learn about and purchase fresh ingredients. A professional cook will lead your interactive class, sharing information about pre-Columbian cuisine and culinary methods. Learn to make tortillas from scratch and prepare a traditional dish like red or black mole. Take your knowledge with you and cook Oaxacan delicacies for your friends back at home.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$95.00
From
$95.00
Taking safety measures

Monte Alban, Atzompa, Yagul and Mitla Archaeological Sites Day Trip

Monte Alban, Atzompa, Yagul and Mitla Archaeological Sites Day Trip

star-5
2
Explore the archaeological highlights of Oaxaca without getting lost on this day trip, a great choice for first-time visitors. Take a guided tour of Monte Alban, the largest Zapotec urban center and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and visit its satellite city, Atzompa. Then travel to Yagul and Mitla to see other examples of Zapotec architecture. Plus, round-trip transportation from downtown Oaxaca is included.
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$79.99
From
$79.99
Taking safety measures