Skip to Content

11 Oaxaca Tours & Day Trips Not To Miss in 2023

Check out the best Oaxaca tours & day trips that offer the best value for your money. You’ll find only top-rated tours on this list!

Let’s start by saying that I’ve absolutely loved my time in Oaxaca City, Mexico, and I’m a little jealous that you’re visiting soon! The Historic Centre of Oaxaca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s absolutely charming.

Image of Hierve El Agua - Best Oaxaca tours and day trips not to miss.

Of the 3 months I’ve spent in Mexico, it was the place where I felt I was experiencing the most authentic side of Mexico. Plus, Oaxaca is surrounded by mountains and beaches, and it’s also a growing art and foodie destination. In short, you won’t run out of things to do!

READ ALSO: 14 Best Things To Do in Oaxaca

Get lost in the streets of Oaxaca City, with its many colorful colonial buildings and cobblestone streets that give a unique historical charm to the cityscape. You will discover a side of Mexico that is not as heavily featured in travel guides as other more famous destinations such as Cancun and Tulum.

One of the best ways to experience Oaxaca is to learn from locals about the place. I’ve compared tons of Oaxaca tours and excursions and came up with this list of the best tours in Oaxaca, Mexico. Ready to check out the tours and day trips from Oaxaca City that offer the best value for your bucks?

I usually use Viator, Get Your Guide, and Civitatis for booking tours around the world, and I especially recommend them for their great cancellation policy. If your travel plans change and you cancel the activity up to 24 hours in advance, you’ll get a full refund on most bookings, which is very much appreciated in current times!

Walking Tour of Oaxaca City

Cobblestone street in the center of Oaxaca, Mexico.

Exploring the city of Oaxaca on foot is one of the best ways to get to know the city. Simply by wandering along its cobblestone streets you’ll stumble upon many historical and cultural gems, from artisanal shops to museums, galleries, and churches.

▶ To learn more about the history of the (super charming) city, check out this walking tour of Oaxaca City. You will feel as though you were walking back in time as you wander the streets and learn about the colonial architecture and Mexican traditions.

On this Oaxaca City tour, you’ll explore the Benito Juarez Market, the Santo Domingo Church, and the Contemporary Art Museum, among a few other places. One of the best Oaxaca tours for first timers to the city!

This walking tour also includes: Pick up and drop-off at your hotel, and a bilingual guide. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

A Full Day Tour of Oaxaca

Image of textiles in a Oaxaca market inserted in a list of the best Oaxaca day trips and tours.

Are you going on a day trip to Oaxaca or you simply have only one day to spare? Make the most of exploring the region with a full-day tour of the area, which will take you to the most important highlights of Oaxaca in one day.

▶ The Full-Day Tour of Oaxaca starts at the Santa Maria el Tule, where you’ll get the chance to see the Tule Tree, which is 40 meters high and 50 meters in diameter. The tree is more than 2,000 years old and it’s gi-gan-tic! The next stop is the town of Teotitlan del Valle which is known for its homemade textiles.

Then you’ll head to Mitla, an archaeological site famous for its beautiful mosaics. End the day with a visit to breathtaking Hierve el Agua, which personally for me it’s the highlight of a trip to Oaxaca…

This tour also includes: Roundtrip transportation from Oaxaca, bilingual guide, all entrance fees and a Mezcal tasting. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Visit Hierve El Agua

Image of Hierve El Agua - a day trip to these incredible natural pools is one of the best Oaxaca tours .

If you only have time for one destination, please make it this one. Hierve el Agua is one of the most interesting natural wonders in Oaxaca state, and for me personally, the absolute highlight of a trip to the region. Many tourists travel to Oaxaca specifically for a chance to see this natural wonder!

You could potentially visit Hierve el Agua on your own, but it takes two hours and it’s not the easiest if you don’t speak Spanish. Hierve el Agua is a natural rock formation that resembles the look of a cascading waterfall.

When you visit the site, you will have the chance to marvel at the petrified waterfalls and bathe in the natural pools… no worries, even if the name means “boiling water”, the pools are actually made of cold water!

I looked for a few tours to Hierve el Agua, and this one provides the best value for money: Hierve el Agua and Teotitlan del Valley Day Tour.

▶ This tour is a great way to visit this iconic site and have the chance to soak in the spring waters. You’ll also visit the Zapotec town of Teotitlan del Valle, where you’ll learn about their ancient weaving traditions, and see how a Mezcal producer makes the region’s most popular drink.

This tour also includes: Roundtrip transportation from Oaxaca, mezcal tasting, and all entrance fees. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Explore the Ruins of Monte Alban

Image of woman sitting on a pyramid at the Monte Alban ruins, mexico

One of the best day trips from Oaxaca, this one is for all of you, history lovers. There are plenty of pyramids and ruins in Mexico, and Monte Alban in Oaxaca is one of the most important ruins in this part of Mexico.

This archeological site was founded by the Zapotec civilization in 500 BC, and inhabited until around 900 AD, being the city which ruled the other Zapotec settlements and where the most influential members of the community lived.

▶ The Half-Day Monte Alban Tour is the ideal opportunity to learn about the importance of this ancient city to the Zapotecs. On this walking tour, you’ll be passing through the stone monuments and impressive staircases and marveling at the beautiful views of the Oaxaca Valley from above.

This tour also includes: Hotel pickup and drop-off, and a bilingual guide. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶ The Monte Alban, Arrazola and Cuilapam tour is a full-day trip that takes you to explore the ruins with a professional guide, so you can truly understand the different structures and their significance. You’ll also get to visit Arrazola to marvel at the artisanal woodcarvings and alebrijes, and meet the artisans at San Bartolo Coyotepec which stand out for their black pottery creations.

This tour also includes: Roundtrip transportation from your Oaxaca hotel, a bilingual guide, and insurance. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Flavors of Oaxaca Cooking Class + Local Market Tour

Image of a market in Oaxaca inserted on a list of the best Oaxaca tours and day trips.

In Mexico it’s so tempting to just sample the local delicacies, they are so many! From grasshoppers to different kinds of sauces, soups, and tamales, you’ll want to eat all day every day.

But wouldn’t it be cool to also learn how to cook them, so you can go back and impress everyone with a traditional (and utterly delicious) Mexican dinner? I

▶ This Flavors of Oaxaca Cooking Class will pretty much transform you into a chef. The class typically lasts four and a half hours and it starts with a visit to a market where the ingredients are sourced. You’ll learn how to cook tortillas, salsas, an appetizer, soup, mole, dessert, and a drink, and while there is no fixed menu, all the dishes are traditional from the Oaxaca region. The best tour of this type.

This tour also includes: Tour to a market, all ingredients, and complimentary drinks. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Go on a Mezcal Tour

Did you know that Mezcal is a typical drink of this region in particular? While you’ll very likely find tequila in all of Mexico (and the world), mezcal can mostly be enjoyed in Oaxaca.

This alcoholic drink is made from the agave plant, and it’s known among the locals as the ”elixir of the gods” because, according to the legend, an agave plant was struck by a lightning bolt and that’s how the Mezcal was created. Even better, go on a mezcal tour, one of the most interesting Oaxaca tours.

▶ Go on this full-day Mezcal Tour in Oaxaca to witness a day in the life of mezcal producers, and learn how the drink is made from scratch. You’ll get to cut the agave in the field, bake it, prepare it for crushing and eventually distill the drink, working alongside the producers and their families.

You can also opt to have lunch at a local eatery and sample up to 30 mezcals, as well as buy your favorite bottles.

This tour also includes: Roundtrip transportation to your hotel in Oaxaca, and all taxes and fees. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Tree of Tule, Teotitlan Village, and Mitla Ruins

Image of Tree of Tule inserted on a list of the best Oaxaca tours.

Discover the culture and traditions of Oaxaca by visiting three of its most popular destinations: Santa Maria del Tule, the Teotitlan Village and the Mitla Ruins.

Santa Maria del Tule is particularly popular for the Arbol de Tule (Tree of Tule), which is the stoutest tree in the world and the area’s main attraction. Teotitlan Village depicts a lot of heritage and traditions of the Zapotec people, and the Mitla Ruins are the place where the Zapotecs settled after abandoning the Monte Alban location, so visiting these destinations is pretty much a must during your time in Oaxaca!

▶ The Hierve el Agua and Teotitlan del Valle day tour includes a visit to the so-called “Tree of Life”, the Tree of Tule that is estimated to be around 2,000-3,000 years old, and a tour around Teotitlan Village, where you’ll get to see the artisans’ work and learn about the traditional weaving process.

You’ll then head to the archaeological site of Mitla for a guided exploration of the ruins, and finish the trip at Hierve el Agua, where you’ll get to dip in the natural pools.

This tour also includes: Roundtrip transportation from Oaxaca, a bilingual tour guide, and a tasting at a mezcal distillery. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Go on a Oaxaca Chocolate Tour

Chocolate tour in Oaxaca, Mexico

Any chocolate lovers out there? Chocolate and maize are two products that are closely tied to the Mexican tradition, particularly with the region of Oaxaca, so you’ll find plenty of deliciousness during your time here.

Better yet, you can go on a tour to taste your way through the best shops and factories in the city, and learn about the production of chocolate.

▶ The Chocolate Experience is a fantastic way to learn more about this loved product, and you will get a deeper and more profound understanding of its value when you embark on this Oaxaca chocolate tour.

A knowledgeable guide, born into a family with strong chocolate-related traditions, will guide you through the different varieties and processes of chocolate and cocoa, and you’ll get to taste all of them! You’ll also discover the history of chocolate in the region and its ties with Oaxaca.

This tour also includes: Chocolate tasting, cocoa-based sandwich, and drink. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Eat, Eat, Eat on This Oaxaca Food Tour

When it comes to learning about the culinary tradition of Oaxaca, there is no better way to do that than through its street food; it’s where you’ll get to taste the most typical Oaxacan food and some distinctive, delicious savors that include mole, roasted meat, tamales, stuffed chilis and grasshoppers (yes, for real!).

▶ With the Authentic Oaxaca Food Tour (one of the best Oaxaca food tours I could find), you’ll get to sample over 20 traditional dishes, most of which you will only find here. One of the highlights is visiting the Benito Juarez market, which is lively and filled with fresh produce and food, and you’ll also explore the November 20th Market as well as various street food stalls.

Besides tasting all the food, you’ll also learn about the culinary traditions, culture and history of the region from your local guide.

This tour also includes: Breakfast, lunch, coffee and bottled water. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Tlacolula Sunday Market

Tlacolula de Matamoros is a quiet town located 18 miles (30 km) from Oaxaca which boasts an incredibly popular and colorful Sunday market. Once a week, people from all the surrounding areas come to this market to stock up on food and other essentials, and many make a living selling their crafts and other wares at the stalls.

Visiting the Market is a great way to witness the authentic lifestyle of Oaxacans, and even if you don’t buy anything (which is hard!) it will still be worth the trip – it’s one of the hidden gems of the region.

▶ The Yagul Archaeological Site & Sunday Local Market guided tour takes you on a half-day adventure to explore the archeological site of Yagul with a guide, and visit the town of San Jeronimo Tlacochahuaya, particularly known for its religious art. You’ll also have time to wander around the Tlacolula Sunday Market and buy your souvenirs.

This tour also includes: Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Oaxaca, bilingual tour guide and insurance. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

The Temazcal Experience

Looking for a unique, cultural tradition? Then look no further than the Temazcal, a sacred experience of purification that is done via steam bath. But don’t expect something like a regular Finnish sauna! You are actually placed in a so-called house of steam, and it’s a uniquely satisfying experience that will detox your mind, body, and spirit.

▶ Sounds like something you’d like to try? Check out the Temazcal Experience with Massage and Sauna, one of the most unusual Oaxaca activities, and get purified the way the ancient Mayans did! After the steam bath you’ll get a massage for the ultimate relaxation experience.

This tour also includes: Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Oaxaca. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

And there you go! Hopefully this list of the best tours in Oaxaca will help you plan your trip. Before you go, make sure to also check out all the other things to do in Oaxaca.

Oaxaca Tours & Day Trips FAQ

Is Oaxaca City worth visiting?

Oaxaca is a great place to visit in Mexico, and it’s definitely worth it! The city boasts history and traditions, as well as incredibly delicious food. It’s very close to many natural and cultural attractions in the area, like the Monte Alban ruins and Hierve el Agua, and the birthplace of Mezcal, an alcoholic drink from Oaxaca.

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you book something through one of my links I might get a commission, at absolutely no extra cost to you

  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.