Skip to Content

16 Oaxaca Tours & Day Trips Not To Miss in 2024

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. They give such 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 and Get Your Guide for booking tours around the world, and I especially recommend them for their cancellation policy. If your travel plans change, you can cancel most activities up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.

Limited time? These are the ultimate tours 👇

HIERVE EL AGUA TOUR Ultimate Hierve El Agua Hike + Mezcal
OAXACA CITY TOUR Culture, History and Traditions of Oaxaca
MONTE ALBAN TOURMonte Alban Guided Half Day Tour
COOKING CLASS The Real Traditional Oaxaca Cooking Class
PRIVATE TOUR Premium Mezcal, Hierve el Agua, Textiles & Lunch

Hierve El Agua Tours from Oaxaca

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 water is cold!

▶️ This Hierve El Agua, Tule Tree, Mitla, and Mezcal Distillery Tour from Oaxaca is a 12-hour excursion. Your first stop will be to visit the Tule Tree, a legendary 2,000-year-old tree. Then, continue toward Teotitlan del Valle, where you’ll tour a traditional rug workshop.

Accompanied by a guide, you’ll explore the Mitle Archaeological Site, the most important in the Zapotec culture. Learn about its history and legacy before heading to Hierve El Agua.

At the famous site you’ll get to admire the petrified waterfalls, and take a dip in the cool waters. Cap off the tour with a mezcal tasting at a local distillery. It’s a much more comprehensive excursion than the ones offered by other tours!

📝 This tour includes: Transportation, a guide, and mezcal tastings. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ The Ultimate Hierve El Agua Hike + Mezcal whisks you away from Oaxaca on a day trip designed to show you the most stunning attractions in the region. You’ll head to the popular Hierve El Agua to admire its rock formations and the petrified waterfall.

Then hike to Las Salinas, where you can cool off with a swim under a real waterfall. Next on the itinerary is a visit to a mezcal distillery, so you can learn all about the drink and enjoy some tastings.

📝 This tour includes: Roundtrip transportation, entrance fees, a guide, travel insurance, breakfast, lunch, and mezcal tastings. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

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 strolling down its cobblestone streets you’ll stumble upon many historical and cultural gems. Artisan shops, museums, galleries, and churches are but a few of them!

The Culture, History and Traditions of Oaxaca is a fantastic introduction to the city. In 2 hours you’ll explore Oaxaca’s historic center with a local guide. Learn about the fascinating history of the city, which has Aztec and Zapotec origins, and stop by the most iconic landmarks.

Discover the traditions that have been passed on for generations, the typical food, and the celebrations that take place in town. You’ll even get to try a traditional Zapotec drink!

📝 This walking tour includes: A local guide, and a traditional drink. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Monte Alban Tours from Oaxaca

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

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

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

▶️ The Monte Alban Guided Half Day Tour is a great way to explore the archaeological site. Travel in a comfortable, air-conditioned van with live commentary from your guide.

You’ll be introduced to the city’s origins and its citizens’ traditions and customs. Then, wander around the striking ruins, marveling at their size and history.

📝 This tour includes: Roundtrip transportation, travel insurance, and a guide. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ The Monte Alban – Full-Day Guided Tour with or without Food lasts around 9 hours. You’ll be picked up from your hotel in an air-conditioned vehicle and travel comfortably to the archaeological site.

Explore the magnificent – and very ancient – ruins with a professional guide. Learn about the history and culture not only of Monte Alban, but of the region of Oaxaca during this comprehensive tour.

Finally, visit artisan workshops to admire the making process of handmade figurines. You can choose whether you want to include lunch, along with entry tickets, at checkout.

📝 This tour includes: Hotel pick-up and drop-off, and a guide. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Oaxaca Cooking Classes

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?

▶️ The Flavors of Oaxaca: Cooking Class with No Set Menu and Local Market Tour will pretty much transform you into a chef. The class lasts around 4.5 hours, and it starts with a visit to a market. There, your guide will introduce you to the ingredients and fresh produce of the region.

Once in the kitchen, don an apron and learn to prepare corn tortillas, salsas, soup, mole, and an authentic dessert.

There is no fixed menu, so you can choose your favorite local dishes to cook. They’re all originally from the Oaxaca region, and are bound to make your taste buds tingle!

📝 This tour includes: A market visit, a cooking class, all ingredients, a meal, and drinks. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ The Real Traditional Oaxaca Cooking Class is a half-day experience. You’ll join a local chef and discover the art of preparing authentic Oaxacan dishes from scratch.

The class focuses on local cuisine, which is incredibly rich and delicious. You’ll learn the ancient methods used to create the dishes and be introduced to their heritage. The menu includes classics such as empanadas, mole, arroz con leche, tetelas, and tortillas made on a wood stove.

Drinks, tea, and coffee will be provided to pair your meal at the end of the class. Take home the recipes to keep honing your culinary skills!

📝 This tour includes: A cooking class, all ingredients, a meal, drinks, and recipes. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Mezcal Tour in Oaxaca

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”.

This is 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.

The Mezcal Journey is a must for lovers of this drink. Mezcal is often referred to as the sibling of Tequila, and while they originate from the same plant, they’re incredibly different!

Learn what makes mezcal unique as you tour agave fields and the charming towns of Mitla and Matatlan. An expert will introduce you to the thousands of agave specimens, and explain the step-by-step process of making mezcal at a distillery.

Cap off the trip with unlimited tastings of mezcal. An Oaxacan lunch at a local restaurant (with even more mezcal) is also included!

📝 This Oaxaca mezcal tour includes: Round trip transportation, a guide, entrance fees, mezcal tasting, and lunch. ➥ 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 in the region of Oaxaca. 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 Cacao, Chocolate Experience in Oaxaca for Small Groups is a delicious tour. You’ll get to learn about one of the world’s most beloved products in the very region where it originated.

Gain a deeper understanding of its value as you embark on this Oaxaca chocolate tour with an expert guide. Discover the process of converting a cocoa nib into chocolate, and how its flavor changes depending on its elaboration.

As expected, you’ll get to try plenty of chocolate during the trip.

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

Oaxaca Food Tours

Three Mexican tacos served on a plate, with lemon wedges on the side

When it comes to learning about the culinary traditions of the region, there is no better way to do it than through its street food.

Street food is how you’ll get to taste the most typical Oaxacan dishes and some distinctive, delicious savors. Some staples include mole, roasted meat, tamales, stuffed chilis, and grasshoppers. Trust me, you won’t want to miss that!

▶️ With the Authentic Oaxaca Food Tour: Eat Like a Local, you’ll get to sample over 20 traditional dishes. Most of them are originally from the region, so you won’t find them anywhere else!

One of the highlights is visiting the Benito Juarez market, which is lively and filled with fresh produce. You’ll also explore the November 20th Market and various street food stalls, getting to sample various bites.

Besides tasting all the food you can manage, you’ll also learn about the city’s culinary traditions. It’s one of the best food tours in Oaxaca city I could find, so I wouldn’t think twice!

📝 This Oaxaca tour includes: A guide, and all food and drink tastings. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ This Earth, Corn & Fire: Tasting the Roots of Oaxacan Cuisine is a fabulous alternative. You’ll spend half your day immersing yourself in local gastronomy with a foodie guide and a small group.

Learn about the role of corn products in regional food, and sample everything from mole to grilled meats, grasshoppers, ice cream, and juice.

All the while, you’ll be wandering around the city, visiting markets, an artisan workshop, and local eateries.

📝 This Oaxaca culinary tour includes: A guide, and all tastings. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Oaxaca Bike Tour

This Street Art Bike Ride is an incredibly fun way to explore the city! Hop on a bicycle and follow your local guide around three neighborhoods. You’ll be chasing murals, stencil art, and posters made by local artists, bringing color and life to the streets.

The trip includes visits to local workshops, where you’ll learn about Oaxacan culture. Plus, you’ll be doing some exercise, and covering much more ground than if you were on a walking tour.

📝 This street art tour includes: Bike rental, helmet, a guide, entrance fees, snacks, and bottled water. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Oaxaca Private Tours

View on colonial buidlings in old town of Oaxaca

Looking for tours to Oaxaca, Mexico’s most impressive attractions with your group of friends? These private tours will take you and your gang on a whirlwind adventure.

The best part is that you’ll have a personalized experience, and in some cases even get to plan the itinerary!

▶️ This A Day in the Life of a Zapotec Village is a fabulous cultural experience. The tour caters to eight people, and introduces you to the daily life of the Zapotec community.

You’ll visit an authentic village to meet its inhabitants, and discover their gastronomy, culture, traditions, and craftmanship. Learn ancestral techniques for making chocolate, visit workshops where the locals handmake clothes and footwear, and tour a mezcal distillery.

Cap off the day with a traditional meal including the famous tortillas.

📝 This tour includes: Transportation, a guide, snacks, water, and lunch. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ This Oaxaca Conmigo Tours is a private, full-day sightseeing excursion. Led by a professional guide, you’ll learn about the Oaxacan culture, history, and traditions by visiting key locations.

The itinerary includes a trip to Monte Alban, an archaeological site dating back to 500 BC. You can also visit the Mitla ruins, Hierve El Agua, and Teotitlan del Valle, known for its weaving artisans.

Other attractions, such as Mercado Tlacolula, San Bartolo, and the Tule Tree can be included. The schedule is yours to plan!

📝 This Oaxaca excursion includes: Hotel pick-up and drop-off, a guide, parking fees, and bottled water. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ This Exclusive: Premium Mezcal, Hierve el Agua, Textiles & Lunch combines everything that makes Oaxaca unique. Your group of up to 10 will be picked up from your hotel early in the morning, ensuring you’re the first ones to arrive at Hierve el Agua.

Learn about this fascinating location from your guide, and take a dip in its picturesque pools. You’ll then continue to a premium mezcal distillery for tastings of 9 different labels.

Have lunch in the middle of a Maguey field, sampling authentic food with more mezcal, and discover the local art of weaving Oaxacan textiles. Marvel at the complex designs and vibrant colors of the handicrafts, clothing, and rugs.

📝 This tour includes: Hotel pick-up and drop-off, a guide, all visits, mezcal tasting, and lunch. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

A Day Tour from Oaxaca to Tlacolula 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. 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 Sunday Local Market & Yagul Archaeological Site is a half-day guided tour from Oaxaca. You’ll get to explore the ruins of Yagul, associated with the Zapotec civilization, with a professional guide.

Learn about its ancient history before heading to the town of San Jeronimo Tlacochahuaya. Particularly known for its religious art, its church is considered an architectural treasure.

The star of the tour might very well be the Tlacolula Sunday Market. This bustling market bursts with colors, flavors, and aromas, attracting people from all over the state. Locals exchange products, and you’ll have time to do some shopping and eat.

📝 This tour includes: Hotel pick-up and drop-off, a tour guide, and travel insurance. ➥ 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

What are the best tours in Oaxaca?

In my opinion, these are the best excursions to tour Oaxaca in a fun, informative way:
Culture, History and Traditions of Oaxaca Walking Tour
Flavors of Oaxaca: Cooking Class with No Set Menu and Local Market Tour
Conmigo Tours Oaxaca Private Experience
Street Art Bike Ride

What are the best day trips in Oaxaca?

Finding the perfect Oaxaca trips is not a hassle when you have a comprehensive list of the very best experiences out there! These are the ones I consider to stand out:
Hierve El Agua, Tule Tree, Mitla, and Mezcal Distillery Tour
Monte Alban Guided Half Day Tour
Exclusive: Premium Mezcal, Hierve el Agua, Textiles & Lunch
Sunday Local Market & Yagul Archaeological Site

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.

Are there private tours in Oaxaca?

Yes! There are quite a few adventures you can enjoy with your group in Oaxaca. These are my top three:
A Day in the Life of a Zapotec Village
Oaxaca Conmigo Tours
Exclusive: Premium Mezcal, Hierve el Agua, Textiles & Lunch

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.