5 Days in Oaxaca to the Scenic Countryside & Oaxaca City

5 Days in Oaxaca to the Scenic Countryside & Oaxaca City

Oaxaca is a cultural gem in Mexico, celebrated for its deep indigenous roots, artisan culture and timeless culinary traditions passed down through generations. From authentic markets and vibrant streets in its capital city to traditional villages and natural wonders in the countryside, there is so much to see and do during your 5 days in Oaxaca.

Our 5 day Oaxaca itinerary first brings you to the scenic countryside to explore traditional villages and extraordinary sights, and lastly, to Oaxaca City to dive deeper into Oaxaca's food, mezcal and artisan culture.

Overview: 5 Days in Oaxaca

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Best months to visit Oaxaxa

Natural mineral pool at Hierve el Agua

For the best weather, visit Oaxaca from November to February. You will avoid the rainiest months from May-October and the hottest months of March-May.

Is 5 days in Oaxaca enough?

5 days in Oaxaca is enough if you wish to see the highlights of Oaxaca City and spend some time in the countryside exploring a couple villages, visiting mezcal distilleries and seeing natural sights, like Hierve el Agua.

5 Days in Oaxaca Itinerary

Days 1-2: Oaxacan Countryside

Spend downtime in the mountainous desert, explore traditional villages and see extraordinary sights

Hanging out with agave plants in the desert

Start your adventure in the Oaxacan countryside, where traditional villages and agave plants dot the mountainous desert.

We recommend beginning your trip in the countryside before heading to Oaxaca City, so you won't have to lug around new items you buy in the city. The shopping is amazing in Oaxaca City, and it's common for travellers to buy an extra suitcase or duffel bag to fit their new finds. There were a couple times we went over a speed bump too hard and were nervous we cracked our pottery in the trunk.

Another benefit of starting your trip in the countryside is that you won't have to wait in the long taxi line up at the airport to get into the city. Instead, your rental car or driver will be waiting for you at the airport.

Day 1

Explore Oaxaca's famous weaving village and unwind at a casa with scenic desert views

Driving into the Oaxacan countryside

Pick up your rental car or hire a private driver

We enjoyed driving in the countryside and exploring at our own pace, however, if driving in another country makes you nervous you can easily hire a private driver by the hour.

๐Ÿš— If you want to drive: compare car rental rates and arrange for pick up at Oaxaca Airport and drop off in Oaxaca City.

โš ๏ธ Note: car rental companies in Oaxaca are very strict with dings and dents on your vehicle, so make sure you have full coverage with no deductible and take pictures/videos of every part of your rental car.

๐Ÿš• If you don't want to drive: browse TripAdvisor for transportation companies, like Tlayodona or Enjoy Oaxaca, and also reach out to your hotel to compare rates. A bonus of going with a local guide is that they can recommend additional spots.

Stop 1: Grab a coffee and browse the shops at Casa Textil Arte Zapoteco Teotitlan

Make your first stop at Casa Textil Arte Zapoteco Teotitlan, located just off the highway on the way to the famous weaving village, Teotitlan del Valle. The artisan collective is a great spot to grab coffee, take a bathroom break and browse their nicely curated shops.

Items here were pricier than what we found in Oaxaca City, but if you see something you absolutely love, you might not want to take your chances.

One of their shops had the best selection of sombreros I had seen - I was excited to buy one to wear around!

โœ”๏ธ Top Tip: we recommend holding off on buying a rug until you visit Teotitlan del Valle village first. You will be coming back this way to get on the highway.

Stop 2: Drive into Teotitlan del Valle village

Teotitlan del Valle was the nicest village we saw while driving around the countryside. It's renowned for its vibrant, intricate textiles, woven using natural dyes and traditional techniques passed down through generations.

If you're looking for a rug, this village is the place to go - they are so beautiful that you'll want to hang them on your wall as art.

We highly recommend making a stop at The Bug in The Rug, the gallery and studio of master weaver, Isaac Vasquez, who is internationally recognized. We were pulled in by the designs we saw hanging and learned more about the late artist from his grandson.

We loved how they used traditional Zapotec design elements rather than renditions of popular artworks from famous artists, like Picasso or Matisse. We weren't even looking to buy a rug and couldn't help ourselves from getting one here. They also sold beautiful sham covers and handbags.

โœ”๏ธ Top Tip: ask for a demonstration of how the tiny bugs in prickly pear cactuses produce a vibrant red dye. It will blow you away!

Stop 3: Check into your hotel and unwind in the beautiful surroundings

Since today was a big travel day, take the evening to unwind at your hotel and take in your natural surroundings. We saw some of the most beautiful sunsets we've ever seen and even a coyote.

We have two options based on budget. Both of these spots are hidden oases that can only be booked direct. Book your stay for 2 nights.

Fully Loaded Potato ๐Ÿฅ”โœจ: Casa Silencio ($$$$)

Casa Silencio is both a mezcal distillery and luxury boutique hotel and restaurant. It's one of the most impressive buildings we've ever seen and it has been featured in magazines like Conde Nast, Vogue and Architectural Digest. It's self-sustaining and completely solar powered.

It started as a mezcal distillery by two Mexican founders and they commissioned Mexican architect, Alejandro Dโ€™Acosta, to create the hotel. The boutique hotel is built with raw local materials and its contemporary rooms feature works by local artisans. The mountain and desert views are also spectacular.

The price per night includes a mezcal tour, breakfast, multi-course lunch and a 5-course dinner for 2 people. The only thing not included was cocktails and premium mezcals. Since there are only 6 rooms, you feel like you have the whole place to yourself, but with attentive and friendly staff.

๐Ÿ’Ž Insider Tip: if Casa Silencio is outside of your budget, you can still tour their mezcal distillery and dine at their restaurant without staying at the hotel. You just have to reserve in advance.

See reviews of Casa Silencio

Casa Lyoba Mitla Oaxaca ($$)

Located a 15-minute drive from Casa Silencio, Casa Lyoba Mitla Oaxaca is a budget-friendly option with beautiful natural surroundings. The 5-room boutique hotel sits on three acres of organic gardens and its rooms feature thoughtful touches from local weavers and potters. It has a pool and includes breakfast.

You can also book a one-hour session in their temazcal, a traditional sauna where you detoxify or meditate.

See reviews of Casa Lyoba Mitla Oaxaca

Day 2

Swim at the edge of a petrified waterfall, visit a local mezcal distillery and dine at Casa Silencio

Your second day brings you further into the countryside to explore some of the region's most beautiful sights. If you're not renting a car, organize a private driver through your hotel or with the tour company you used the day before.

If you're comfortable with heights and driving mountain roads, we recommend driving over the mountains from Xaaga to Agua Hierve. The quiet dirt road takes you high up with panoramic views over the valley and is completely doable with a 2-wheel drive car. We don't recommend taking this route if it's raining or dark, however.

Stop 1: Swim in natural mineral pools at Agua Hierve

Swim at the edge of a petrified waterfall at Agua Hierve, a natural travertine rock formation with mineral-rich pools and panoramic views. Over thousands of years, mineral deposits from the natural springs have created the look of cascading waterfalls over the limestone cliffs. It's a remarkable sight to see and a natural wonder of the world.

The entrance fee is 50 pesos (~3 USD) per person and parking is 100 pesos (6 USD).

Doing the small hike at Hierve el Agua

Is the hike worth it? Yes, we recommend doing the hike because not only will you get a view of the petrified waterfalls from above, you'll also get to see the limestone cliffs from underneath. If you really don't like hiking, we recommend walking the first 5 minutes to see the view from above the pools.

The loop is 2.7 km (1.7 mi) with an elevation gain of 164 m (538 ft) and takes about an hour to complete.

โœ”๏ธ Top Tip: go early before the temperature gets too hot and hike the loop first to reward yourself with a refreshing swim in the mineral pools.

Refuel with fresh mangos drizzled with lime juice

Fresh mangos mm!

Beside the parking lot at Hierve de Agua, there are many stalls selling drinks and food. Don't miss buying juicy mangos drizzled with fresh lime juice from one of the vendors on your way out!

Stop 2: Taste mezcal at a local ancestral distillery

On our way back down the dirt mountain road from Hierve del Agua, we noticed a cute looking mezcal distillery called Mezcal Ancestral La Herencia de Lucas, off the side of the road. We decided to stop in and it was one of the most local tasting experiences we had.

The local mezcalero was distilling ancestral mezcal at that moment, so we got to see it being made in action. "Ancestral" means that it's distilled in a clay pot. We sat in two plastic red chairs and sampled his mezcals made from different agave varieties.

It was a special experience trying mezcal at the place where the mezcal maker crafted it. We had only tried mezcal at mezcalerias (mezcal bars) in the city.

Stop 3: Dine at Casa Silencio and tour their sustainable mezcal distillery

Even if you're not staying at Casa Silencio, you don't want to miss out on their mezcal tour and dining experience. It's one of the best tours we've ever been on, including winery tours!

Upon arrival, you're greeted by a large ice bucket filled with your choice of refreshing drinks, one of their thoughtful touches setting the tone for the hospitality you're about to experience.

Guided by a knowledgeable and enthusiastic host, you're led through the architecturally impressive distillery, learning about Casa Silencio's blend of tradition and self-sustaining innovation.

The best part is the tasting experience at a 53-ft-long table made from giant slabs of hand-cut basalt. It's impeccably set with 5 tasting glasses and 5 mystery jellies that look like minerals. Each jelly is infused with a local ingredient that complements the distinct flavour of the mezcal.

It was so much fun guessing the flavour of each jelly. After tasting 5 different mezcals, you choose your favourite to have a full glass of.

Dining room at Casa Silencio

Afterwards, take in the spectacular view as the sun sets and enjoy your gourmet 5-course dinner made with local ingredients and Oaxacan flavours.

Book your dinner and distillery tour.

Days 3-5: Oaxaca City

Explore the historic city and dive deeper into Oaxaca's food, mezcal and artisan culture

View of Santo Domingo church in Oaxaca City

Make your way back towards Oaxaca City to dive deeper into Oaxaca's cuisine and artisan culture. Here you will find an abundance of markets, street foods, mezcalerias, artisan boutiques and colourful streets to wander.

Drop your rental car off in Oaxaca City, or if you're not driving, arrange a private driver through your hotel or transport company.

Where to stay in Oaxaca City

Our private terrace at Hotel Materia

Oaxaca buzzes with energy, so while some street noise is inevitable, there are ways to minimize it. Opt for hotels on quieter side streets or choose rooms that don't face busy streets.

For the best access to the city's highlights, we recommend staying in the Centro District. Everything will be within walking distance.

Our top hotel pick

For a blend of affordability and design, we recommend Hotel Materia. The charming boutique hotel felt like a home away from home. We loved the terracotta pink building and the thoughtful design elements inspired by traditional ceremonial practices.

We stayed in their most secluded room, Humo, tucked away up a short flight of stairs. It has a private terrace where you can eat breakfast each morning. Breakfast is included in the price of your stay.

๐Ÿ›๏ธ Browse more hotels in Oaxaca

What to do in Oaxaca City

See our comprehensive 3 Day Oaxaca City itinerary covering the best places to eat, drink and shop, and unique activities you don't want to miss.

Here are the highlights:

  • ๐ŸŒฎ Explore Oaxaca's authentic markets and lively pedestrian streets
  • ๐Ÿ˜‹ Eat mouthwatering street foods - we include a downloadable checklist
  • ๐Ÿงถ Shop artisan boutiques for unique handcrafted items
  • ๐Ÿฅƒ Taste different agave varieties at mezcalerias
  • ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿณ Dine at Oaxaca's top restaurants for innovative dishes and nice views
  • ๐ŸŽจ Walk around quieter art districts to see colourful buildings and street art

Read the full 3 day itinerary here.

Enjoy your 5 days in Oaxaca!

See more of our Oaxaca City travel guides:

Get started on booking your trip to Oaxaca

  • 🌃 Book your accommodation: Booking.com is our go-to for finding places to stay. Sort by top reviewed.
  • ๐Ÿš— Book your car rental: compare rates across different companies with Rentalcars.com
  • ๐ŸŒฎ Book a food tour in Oaxaca City: through Viator
  • ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โš•๏ธ Get affordable travel insurance: with SafetyWing - it's budget-friendly and you can even buy it while abroad, but note the max medical coverage is $250,000 USD.
  • ๐Ÿฅ Get comprehensive travel insurance: with World Nomads - it's more expensive, but the max emergency medical coverage is $5-10 million, depending on the plan.
  • โœˆ๏ธ Track flight prices: with Hopper

Combine Oaxaca with a trip to Mexico City - you can easily fly there direct. Check out our itineraries:

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