Tip: Centro is your best bet if you want to be walking distance from everything!

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Looking for where to stay in Oaxaca City, Mexico? The best neighborhoods, hotels, and Airbnbs. I’ve got you covered!

In the spring of 2024 I spent a full month living in and exploring the beautiful Oaxaca de Juarez and absolutely fell in love. This city is filled with incredible restaurants and food stalls, amazing art galleries and museums, and some of the most beautiful boutique hotels.

Let’s dive into the best neighborhoods to stay in in Oaxaca, and the best boutique hotels, airbnbs, and hostels in each neighborhood!

Gorgeous tile kitchen at GRANA B&B
Gorgeous tile kitchen at GRANA B&B

Before we dive in, here are a few of the most popular tours in Oaxaca: 

Things to know before visiting Oaxaca

  • There is a water crisis in Oaxaca so please be mindful of your water usage when visiting. Take short showers and turn off the tap when you’re not using it.
  • Oaxaca is pronounced wa-HA-ka.
  • Oaxaca is the name of both the city and the state. The city is actually Oaxaca de Juarez, but commonly referred to as just Oaxaca.
  • Oaxaca sits at an altitude of 5,102 feet (1,555 meters). You’ll want to hydrate extra when you first arrive to help you to acclimate to the altitude if you’re coming from sea level. 
  • The primary spoken language in Oaxaca is Spanish, but there are actually 16 unique languages spoken in this state. Miztec and Zapotec are commonly spoken as well. 
  • Travel with travel insurance to ensure that you’re covered in case of any accidents. 

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Neighborhoods of Oaxaca

Centro

Centro is the most popular place to stay in Oaxaca for tourists. As the name implies, Centro is the area right in the heart of the city. If you’re staying for a longer period of time in Oaxaca, then you might want to stay on the edge of Centro or in one of the other neighborhoods that are less busy. But for a short stay, Centro is super convenient for access to all of the best museums, churches, art galleries and restaurants.

The neighborhood of Centro is centered around the main historic square, Zocalo. It is the heart of the city!

Jalatlaco

Jalatlaco is another popular area to stay in, especially for art lovers. Located a 10-15 minute walk east of Centro, Jalatlaco is known for its vibrant street art. The area, which is one of the oldest in Oaxaca City, is full of great cafes and restaurants to check out.

Reforma

North of Centro you’ll find the Reforma neighborhood. The neighborhood has some great restaurants and cafes, but I personally find that it lacks a lot of the charm and color of the rest of Oaxaca. It is also quite a far walk from many of Oaxaca’s best attractions, but you can easily take a short DiDi or taxi.

Xochimilco

Xochimilco is the oldest neighborhood in Oaxaca City. It’s a small, quiet and mostly residential neighborhood. You’ll find some cute cafes and art galleries, as well as tons of beautiful street art. It is a good option if you’re looking for a quiet stay, that is still close to everything Centro has to offer. However, at night it may be easier to take a DiDi or collectivo rather than walking.

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Where to stay in Oaxaca, Mexico

There are so many beautiful boutique hotels to stay at in Oaxaca City.

If you’re in a rush here are a few of the best hotels in Oaxaca:

If you’re looking for a longer stay, then there are one and multi-month apartments available on platforms like Airbnb and available through local Facebook groups.

GRANA B&B

GRANA B&B is a lovely bed and breakfast in the heart of Oaxaca City. The bright and plant-filled space is an oasis in the city. A delicious breakfast is served daily in their dreamy kitchen. Rates start at less than $200/per night.

Check rates and availability

GRANA B&B

GRANA B&B is hands down the most beautiful property that I checked out during my month long stay in Oaxaca. Everything about it made for the most charming stay right in the center of the city.

Stunning tile design in the kitchen at GRANA B&B
Stunning tile design in the kitchen at GRANA B&B
Outdoor courtyard at GRANA B&B - the best place to stay in Oaxaca City
Outdoor courtyard at GRANA B&B

The highlight for me is the stunning teal tile kitchen, an incredible contrast to the brightly colored breakfast buffet prepared daily. The buffet includes fresh fruit, yogurt, homemade granola, pastries, as well as fresh juice, coffee, and tea. In addition, you can order additional items like eggs and traditional Mexican dishes like chilaquiles from their breakfast menu. You have the option of dining in the kitchen or in the shaded outdoor space.

Fresh fruit at the breakfast buffet at GRANA B&B
Fresh fruit at the breakfast buffet at GRANA B&B
The most delicious green chilaquiles from GRANA B&B
The most delicious green chilaquiles from GRANA B&B

The hotel offers a gorgeous courtyard where you can enjoy breakfast or hang out in the sun with a book, a small library space and a beautiful rooftop. The entire hotel and each room are decorated with beautiful traditional design. The fountain in the courtyard is from the original design!

Check out current rates and availability

Hotel Escondido

Hotel Escondido is a stunning property on the western edge of Centro – it’s close enough to all of downtown’s action without all of the crowds. The hotel is so stunning – from their plant filled rooftop bar to the private balconies with a view of the city. I loved their lounge area!

There is a restaurant and bar on-site serving up delicious food and drinks.

Lounge area at Hotel Escondido
Lounge area at Hotel Escondido
Hotel Escondido Rooftop Pool - where to stay in oaxaca mexico
Hotel Escondido Rooftop Pool

The rooms are all beautifully designed, and super spacious. You’ll find artisanal products in the bathroom and shower, a cozy room, and some cute handcrafted slippers for purchase. The highlight, however, is the gorgeous view of the city from the bedrooms.

Many of the rooms at Hotel Escondido come with a balcony and an incredible city view
Many of the rooms at Hotel Escondido come with a balcony and an incredible city view
Check out current rates and availability

Otro Oaxaca

Otro is another beautiful boutique hotel, and a great place to stay in Oaxaca City. Otro is located right across the street from the famous Santo Domingo church (you can see it perfectly from the rooftop), so a stay here means that you are truly in the heart of the city!

Rooftop views at Otro of Santo Domingo church
Rooftop views at Otro of Santo Domingo church
Incredible cocktails from Otro
Incredible cocktails from Otro

Everything about this property is beautiful and perfectly designed, but what sets it apart for me are the rooftop views (did you see those views of Santo Domingo) and the private cenote. Yes, I said private cenote. If you head into the spa area of Otro you’ll find a private cenote for guest use only. The temperatures are hot, almost like a large steam room!

Otro common and dining space - open to outside guests for a drink - where to stay in oaxaca
Otro common and dining space – open to outside guests for a drink
Check out current rates and availability

Michele’s Place (Long-term Apartment in Centro)

Although we checked out many of the hotels in Oaxaca, we actually stayed in a long-term Airbnb on the edge of Centro. The Airbnb, which is hosted by Michele, is a simple but sufficient Airbnb with an outdoor screened in porch and a small kitchen. The apartment has a minimum booking of 1 month.

Apartment complex at Michele's airbnb - where to stay in oaxaca mexico
Apartment complex at Michele’s airbnb
Shared outdoor courtyard at Michele's airbnb, a great place to stay in oaxaca
Shared outdoor courtyard at Michele’s airbnb
Check out current rates and availability

Outside Oaxaca

If you are traveling to Oaxaca solo or working as a digital nomad, then I highly recommend booking through Outside. They have locations all of the world. Each location is designed for co-living (with private bedrooms and bathrooms) with co-working spaces on-site.

I haven’t personally stayed at the Outside Oaxaca, but I have a number of friends who have and loved it! It’s a great way to build a community, especially if you’re working remote abroad.

Check out current rates and availability

Viajero Hostel Oaxaca

If you’re traveling to Oaxaca solo or budget, Viajero Hostel is a great option! It was just up the street from our apartment, so I can attest to the location being great.

The hostel is social, without being a party hostel. It has a lively rooftop, and the option to add breakfast on. Although there are tons of great cafes just a short walk from the hostel.

Check out current rates and availability

Add my Oaxaca recs to your Google Map

Stop wasting time saving all of my recs and instead easily add them all to your Google Maps in one go so you’re ready to explore!

100+ locations pinned of the best:
– Restaurants, cafes and bars
– The best markets and food stalls
– Best cultural sites including museums, churches, gardens, etc
– Print and pottery shops for souvenirs

Shop my Oaxaca Map

Getting to Oaxaca

Oaxaca is fairly easy to get to because it has its own international airport, Xoxocotlan International Airport (OAX). There are a few direct flights to Oaxaca from US destinations like Los Angeles and Dallas, but most international flights have a quick layover in Mexico City. 

If you’re planning to extend your trip and spend some time in Mexico City as well, you can find a number of domestic flights and buses between the two cities.

The Oaxaca airport is located about 15-20 minutes outside of the city center. You have the option of a private car ($28) or a shared car ($7). 

Getting around Oaxaca

It is super easy to get around Oaxaca, as the city’s tourist center is actually quite small. You can walk from one end of Oaxaca’s downtown to the other in about 30 minutes. 

If you’re traveling to other neighborhoods or don’t feel like walking, you can use the rideshare app DiDi. There is no Uber in Oaxaca, but DiDi is a comparable alternative. Between Centro and Reforma or Jatalaco we typically paid between 80-100 Mexican pesos (in 2024).

There are also collectivo available, which are shared taxis. These are hailed on the street and can be taken if the driver is already going in your direction. 

If you’re traveling further outside of the city then you have the option of renting a car or joining a tour, depending on your preference. We rented a car twice while in Oaxaca and it was a great way to have more independence when exploring, but you’ll learn a lot more about Oaxaca’s history and culture when joining a tour. 

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What to pack for a trip to Oaxaca

What to pack for a visit to Oaxaca will depend greatly on what season you visit in. Regardless the weather fluctuates greatly, so packing layers is always a good idea.

Even in March, which is considered one of the hotter months, the temperatures at night were often cool enough for a light jacket or sweater.

The sun is definitely strong so a good SPF, hat and sunglasses are a must.

Overall I found that locals in Oaxaca tended to dress more conservatively. There were definitely plenty of tourists wearing shorts, but I always felt more comfortable wearing longer pants in the city myself.

Best time to visit Oaxaca

The best time to visit Oaxaca is from October to February, this is when you’ll have dry, pleasant temperatures. March through May the temperatures start to rise, but we visited during this time and it was still lovely.

The summer months June through September bring a lot of rain, and tend to be the low season in Oaxaca.

Best things to do in Oaxaca

There is truly so much to do and see in Oaxaca. We spent a full month in the city and still felt like we only scratched the surface of this amazing place. From the endless art galleries and markets to the incredible cultural monuments and striking landscapes to visit on a day trip, you’ll never run out of fun things to do in Oaxaca! 

  • Take a tour at the Oaxaca Botanical Garden (Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca) 
  • Try Oaxacan food staples like tlayudas, mole, and tejate
  • Join a cooking class to learn how to make traditional Oaxacan dishes
  • Visit Santo Domingo Church (Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán)
  • Explore Oaxaca’s countless art galleries 
  • Check out Oaxaca’s museums like the Museum of Cultures of Oaxaca and the Museo de Arte Prehispanico de Mexico Rufino Tamayo
  • Visit the Centro Cultural San Pablo
  • Hang out in Zocalo 
  • Check out the street art of Jalatlaco 
  • Watch a performance at the Macedonio Alcalá Theater (Teatro Macedonio Alcalá)
  • Take a day trip to Hierve de Agua 
  • Spend a morning at the ruins of Monte Alban
  • Join a mezcal tour (or mezcal tasting)
  • Check out the local Oaxacan markets
  • Head to the coast for Puerto Escondido, Mazunte, and San Agustinillo 
  • Shop for local pottery

Visiting Oaxaca? Here are some other articles to check out:

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