Last Updated on April 3, 2021
When I visited Oaxaca, I loved it so much I didn’t want to leave. My taxi driver and I chatted about it during my ride back to the airport. And even with my poor Spanish, there is one thing he said that I clearly understood: “Oaxaca es mágico.” With its art galleries, museums, craft markets, foodie culture, and annual Day of the Dead Festival, Oaxaca is a destination that will steal your heart, too. Read on for my best hotel recommendations for where to stay in Oaxaca City for your own magical trip, including hostels and hotels plus Airbnb and VRBO rentals for every budget!
Where to Stay in Oaxaca: Quick Guide
Short on time? Grab these quick tips for the best places to stay in Oaxaca. My favorites at all price points later in this guide!
- Oaxaca top hotel pick: Casa de las Bugambilias B&B
- Best budget rental: Penthouse with amazing views
- Best mid-range hotel: AYOOK
- Best historic hotel: Quinta Real Oaxaca
- Best boutique hotel: Casa Carmen Reforma
- Best place to stay for Day of the Dead: Hotel Casantica
- Most Instagrammable hotel (and pinkest!): City Centro Oaxaca
- Best budget hotel with a pool: Hotel Parador de Alcalá
- Best vacation rental stay for a small group: Elegant Home in Centro Historico
- Best rental for a large family or group: Casa Murguia with lush gardens and private pool
- Spectacular luxury rental with a pool, butler, and cook: Modern minimalist Oaxaca home
Everything booked for your dates? Don’t miss this stylish new listing of a Colonial home with city views, a rooftop soaking tub, and luxe appointments!
Where is Oaxaca?
Oaxaca City (pronounced “wah-HAH-kah” with the emphasis on the “HAH” ) is the capital of the state of the same name, located in Southwestern Mexico. The area is known for indigenous cultures including Zapotecs and Mixtecs, as well as historical sites at Monte Alban and Mitla. The state of Oaxaca is also famous for its Pacific-coast beaches in Puerto Escondido, Mazunte, Zipolite, and Bahias de Huatulco. Oaxaca’s beach towns are a quick flight or 6-7 hours by bus from the capital. If you visit, I recommend extending your trip with a few days at the beach, too!
Check out my comprehensive guide to visiting Oaxaca’s beaches and get help deciding which one is perfect for you!
Visiting Oaxaca: The Basics
Haphazard rating: 2 of 5. Stick to tourist areas and use common sense. Oaxaca is one of the safest areas for travel in Mexico.
Get there: Fly into Oaxaca International Airport, OAX, 5 miles from the city. It’s about an hour flight from Mexico City, or 4-6 hours by bus. Shared shuttle service to the city can be booked in the airport after you exit customs.
To do: Visit the city’s museums, art galleries, botanical garden, and cathedrals. Oaxaca is known for their art and foodie culture. Take a day trip to Mitla, Hierve el Agua, or Monte Alban, or a cooking class.
When to visit: The Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos) festival Oct. 31- November 2 is a huge draw, so book well in advance; April-May has higher temperatures but less rain.
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Best Neighborhood to Stay in Oaxaca: Historical Center
The historical center of Oaxaca is the best neighborhood to stay in, since you will be within easy walking distance of all the city sights. Within 12 blocks of the Oaxaca City center, you can walk from the historic Santo Domingo church to the Zócalo (city square) and the Mercado 20 de Noviembre market. This is the main tourist area, with lots of hotels, B&Bs, restaurants and shops in easy walking distance of this neighborhood. Many Oaxaca hotels are also historic, located in old homes that have been renovated.
During the Day of the Dead festival, Oaxaca hotels often display elaborate altars and other decorations in their lobbies. I spent a week popping into hotels all over the city to see these, so I have the best Oaxaca City hotel recommendations for you near the main city sights – including one hotel in a restored convent!
Check out my guide for visiting Oaxaca for Dia de los Muertos here including pics and itinerary!
Oaxaca, Mexico is magic, especially during the Dia de los Muertos celebrations! Learn about the holiday’s traditions and get an itinerary for your own Day of the Dead trip to Oaxaca!
In this Guide to The Best Hotels in Oaxaca City
Best Oaxaca Budget Hotels and Hostels ($50/night or less)
Azul Cielo Hostel | Best Oaxaca Hostel
Azul Cielo Hostel is located a few blocks from the Oaxaca zócalo, and has bunk options starting around $30 as well as private rooms. They have great reviews for the design of the rooms, atmosphere, and shared spaces, including a rooftop terrace. It’s also rated the #1 value hostel in Oaxaca by TripAdvisor! This is my recommended best hostel in Oaxaca. Check out their Instagram here.
Hostal Central Oaxaca | Oaxaca Hostel Pick
Hostal Central Oaxaca is located near the Oaxaca Basilica, and has great reviews, free yoga classes, and a friendly atmosphere. Their rates start around $10/night with a vegetarian breakfast included! Check out their Instagram here.
Comala Bed & Breakfast | Best Oaxaca Budget Hotel
Comala Bed & Breakfast is where I was lucky to find a room available when I visited Oaxaca during Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos). Many Oaxaca accommodation options book months in advance during this time, but Comala had just opened. The staff, including the proprietor Carlos, go out of their way to be helpful. Comala has basic but comfy rooms, a great rooftop terrace and bar with live music at night, plus a lovely breakfast included. This is my recommendation for the best place to stay in Oaxaca on a budget.
Best Mid-Range Oaxaca Hotels
Hotel Casantica | Best Oaxaca Hotel for Dia de Muertos
Hotel Casantica Located only a block from the zócalo, Hotel Casantica is set in a restored 16th-century building and has a beautiful inner courtyard with a pool. The hotel Casantica is also one of the best places to stay in Oaxaca for the Day of the Dead Festival, since it always has an AMAZING altar display in the interior courtyard!
Casa de Las Bugambilias | Oaxaca Hotel Top Pick
Casa de las Bugambilias B&B is located just a block from the Santo Domingo church. This is my overall top pick for where to stay in Oaxaca. The owners go out of their way to make you feel welcome, and can help with booking tours or providing information for your stay. Gourmet breakfasts are served each morning featuring local flavors and ingredients (included in the room rate). This B&B usually sells out, so if it’s available during your stay dates, don’t wait to book!
Hotel Parador de Acala | Oaxaca Hotel with a Pool
Hotel Parador de Alcalá is a centrally-located Oaxaca City hotel with a terrace and bar. Plus, their pool is a show-stopper! They get great reviews for the staff, location, and rooms, with breakfast included in the room rates. This is my recommendation for a mid-range Oaxaca hotel with a pool.
AYOOK | New Oaxaca Boutique Hotel
AYOOK is located a few blocks from the Basilica. This new hotel with a chic design truly captures the Oaxaca aesthetic. Guests rate AYOOK highly for its local character, attentive staff, and lovely breakfasts in the courtyard. This is my pick for a mid-range boutique hotel in Oaxaca.
Hotel Pereya | Charming Colonial Oaxaca Hotel
Hotel Pereya is conveniently located a few blocks between the Oaxaca Basilica and the main tourist street. The Hotel Pereya gets rave reviews for its helpful staff and large rooms, most with seating areas, private terraces, or balconies. Breakfast is served each morning in the courtyard.
La Betulia B&B | Colorful Historic Oaxaca Hotel
La Betulia Bed and Breakfast features colorful rooms and custom tiles throughout. La Betulia gets great reviews for comfy beds, helpful staff, and clean rooms. Breakfast is included and served daily in the quiet courtyard. Check out their totally charming Instagram here.
Casa del Sotano | Oaxaca Hotel with the Best Views
Casa del Sótano has a rooftop terrace with spectacular 360-degree views of the city, including the Santo Domingo church a few blocks away. Guests gave high ratings for the charming architecture, breakfast and overall experience. I really want to go back for sunset drinks here! This is my recommendation for the best hotel in Oaxaca with a great view.
Best Oaxaca Luxury Hotels ($150+/night)
Some of these hotels are offering deals right now! Even if your budget doesn’t include luxury hotel prices, you might still check out your dates.
Quinta Real Oaxaca | Best Historic Oaxaca Hotel
Quinta Real Oaxaca is a historic 5-star hotel in Oaxaca set in a restored convent from the 16th century. It’s centrally-located with impressive stone architecture and a pool. Also, after my visit, I read that staff dressed as monks light candles outside of each room at night. (I must return!) Quinta Real is one of the best hotels in Oaxaca, and was rated as the #1 best value luxury hotel by TripAdvisor. This is my recommendation of the best cultural place to stay in Oaxaca! Check out their Instagram here.
Hotel La Casona de Tita | Oaxaca Art Hotel
Hotel La Casona de Tita is located a few blocks from the cathedral. This 5-star Oaxaca hotel has a spacious terrace, colonial decor, and rooms decorated with pieces by local artists. Plus, the hotel has an-site restaurant and rates include breakfast.
Palacio Borghese | Best Oaxaca Luxury Hotel
Palacio Borghese is a 4-star hotel offering exceptional luxury in an old colonial building, with an indoor courtyard and rooftop terrace. Palacio Borghese is another best hotel in Oaxaca, and is rated as the #2 best value luxury hotel by TripAdvisor.
Casa Antonieta | Stylish Oaxaca Luxury Hotel
Casa Antonieta One of the best hotels in the city, the Casa Antonieta is a 4-star luxury Oaxaca hotel with stylish modern design, lush interior courtyard, and central location. It has fantastic reviews for all aspects of guest stays, and I’m sort of in love with their peaceful Instagram vibe — check it out here.
Best Oaxaca Boutique Hotels
Casa Carmen Reforma | Best Oaxaca Boutique Hotel
Casa Carmen Reforma is located just blocks from the Santo Domingo Church and Ethnobotanical Garden. This is my pick for best boutique hotel in Oaxaca. With chic modern designs, some rooms have outdoor patios with open air tubs. It also gets good reviews for the attentiveness of the staff and included breakfast.
City Centro Oaxaca | Most Instagrammable Oaxaca Hotel
City Centro Oaxaca is the pinkest place in Oaxaca! This hotel has a chic design, outdoor pool, and great reviews for the rooms and breakfast. When I visited, the church across the street was the site of a competition for artists creating sand tapestries for the Day of the Dead festival.
Hotel NaNa Vida | Oaxaca Boutique Art Hotel
Hotel NaNa Vida features an exceptional location and colorful, modern rooms. Hotel NaNa Vida has great ratings for the helpfulness of the staff, the charming interior courtyard, and spaces filled with local art. It’s also rated as the #1 best value boutique hotel in Oaxaca by Tripadvisor. Check out their Instagram here.
Hotel con Corazon | Socially-Responsible Oaxaca Hotel
Hotel con Corazón is a socially responsible Oaxaca hotel that invests in local education projects, Hotel con Corazon is located a few blocks from the central tourist area of Oaxaca. It scores high accommodation reviews for its overall design, included breakfast, and thoughtful service. Check out their Instagram here.
The Best Oaxaca Airbnb & VRBO Stays
For people who want space for a family or group, kitchen facilities, or a more local experience, these are my top picks for unique and comfortable Oaxaca vacation stays in or near the city center.
Oaxaca Airbnb & VRBO Vacation Rentals for a Group
Luxury Minimalist Home with Pool, Butler & Cook for up to 9. This luxe property is ideally located in historic downtown Oaxaca just 2 blocks from the Santo Domingo Square. With a modern minimalist Oaxacan style, the home features local art, gardens, and private outdoor patios. The house has 4 bedrooms. a private swimming pool, gym, AC in all bedrooms, TV room, WiFi, library, and 24-hour security. There is also a staff of 3 — a butler, cook, and maid — to ensure your comfort during your stay.
Charming and Historic Colonial House perfect for a family or group of friends a block from the Santo Domingo church. With 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a kitchen, living area and private parking, this is a unique space for your stay and super-convenient to all the city sights, restaurants, and bars.
Elegant Home & Private Oasis in Oaxaca for up to 8. This light-filled colonial home is located just three blocks from the Santo Domingo church. Explore Oaxaca’s markets, museums, art galleries, language schools and restaurants all within walking distance. There are 3 full bathrooms, a spacious kitchen with modern appliances, dining areas for 8 both inside or outside on the patio, and a terrace overlooking the city.
Budget Oaxaca Airbnb & VRBO Stays
Private Guest Suite and Patio in Former Tannery for 2 guests. Located in the Jalatlaco neighborhood (10-15 minute walk to the Centro) and a unique space offered by a Superhost.
Casa del Barrio Apartment in Jalatlaco for up to 3 guests. Just a 10-minute walk from the Santo Domingo church, this charming apartment is located in the Jalatlaco neighborhood. It features one king bedroom, a full kitchen, and a private sun terrace for relaxing with margaritas or a good book.
Dream Penthouse Apartment with Amazing Views for up to 6. This penthouse is located just north of the Centro Historico with sweeping views of the city and Monte Alban in the distance. Museums, art galleries, cathedral, churches and historic landmarks are within easy walking distance. It gets great reviews for a responsive host, spacious rooms, and the terrace which is perfect for sunset views. A cook is also available for an additional fee.
Casa Capechik is a cozy downtown apartment for 2 guests. Stylish accommodation with 1 bedroom, bath, kitchen and living area. 10-15 minutes walk to the Oaxaca zocalo.
Search More Oaxaca Vacation Rentals
Safety in Oaxaca
While no destination is completely safe, Oaxaca state is one of the safest places to visit in Mexico. The city has a small-town vibe, and I was surprised to find that there’s quite a number of U.S. “expat” retirees living there. During my week here for the Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos) festival, I definitely felt safe, even as a solo traveler.
It can be a bit intimidating to arrive to a new city late at night, so be sure your hotel knows your flight number in case of delays. Upon arriving at the airport, I booked a shared van drop-off with no problems, and the van was full of women travelers! Stick to tourist areas, and take the usual precautions when traveling, of course.
Also, obviously it’s not recommended to walk alone most places late at night. However, due to a mishap with one of the tour companies, I ended up walking back to my hotel after a late excursion. I quickly realized that every passing taxi beeped gently at me, but it was only in case I wanted to flag them down!
Oaxaca Sights & Activities
Need more tips for your trip? Check out my post of the top 15 things to do in Oaxaca – whether you have 48 hours or a full week to explore Oaxaca!
Oaxaca has become a hotspot for arts, food, museums & culture. Build your own trip itinerary of a few days to a week with these top things to do in Oaxaca and best cultural tours!
And don’t forget to try at least one Oaxaca tour:
I always recommend a tour with a lot of interaction early in your trip, like a cooking class. It’s a great way to find people to do other activities with and/or get tips on the local area — especially for solo travelers!
Check out these Experiences from Airbnb below. Airbnb Experiences have become a favorite way to explore local culture when I travel – and you know you’re supporting local residents rather than big tour companies.
- Learn to make traditional Oaxacan cuisine with a cooking class with a local
- Visit local markets to try over 20 local dishes and drinks when you become a local for the day
- Explore small-town Oaxaca with a guided experience on The Mixtec Route
- Eat your way through Oaxaca on a street food tour (I am so hungry just looking at those photos!)
Don’t miss my guides to the best beaches of Oaxaca or detailed advice on visiting Puerto Escondido and Huatulco – the perfect way to end your trip!
Can’t decide where to stay on the golden beaches of the Oaxaca coast? Take a beach style quiz to find your perfect match! Then get travel tips on how to get there, where to stay, and top things to do at the best beaches in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Discover the secrets of Huatulco’s best beaches! Ultimate vacation guide with Huatulco hotels & beach resorts, things to do & best tours in this guide to Bahias de Huatulco, Oaxaca.
And be sure to get my tips on a virtual Day of the Dead field trip!
Learn about Dia de los Muertos traditions with videos and resources for a virtual Day of the Dead field trip for kids & adults! See how the holiday is celebrated in different cities in Mexico and the U.S.
Pin these Oaxaca hotel ideas later so you have my latest tips when you’re ready to book!
Interested in more Mexico travel tips?
Grab this great 4-day itinerary for Mexico City.
Check out my guide to visiting Oaxaca for the Day of the Dead celebration, best Oaxaca beaches, in-depth guide to Huatulco, or top things to do in Oaxaca any time of year.
Is Baja California on your bucket list yet? Find out why you should visit Todos Santos, a colorful, laid-back beach town in Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. And add on a few days in La Paz to swim with sea lions and whale sharks!
And don’t miss my collection of nativity scenes from around the world, including one from Oaxaca plus a Day of the Dead nativity!
Booking Resources & Tips for Your Trip
✈ Flights | Check routes with Skyscanner or Google Flights. I usually book direct with the airline for ease of seat selection as well as changes or cancellations.
🏨 Hotels | My favorite site for the best rates and flexible bookings is Booking.com. After just 2 stays in 2 years, you can get special perks with their Genius program.
🧳 Travel Gear | Check out my favorite gear and packing lists for resources for your trip.
🏡 Local Stays & Experiences | Airbnb is one of the best ways to stay like a local and have extra amenities for your trip. Their Experiences – tours led by locals – are one of my favorite ways to delve into local culture.
🧾 Travel Insurance | Travel insurance can protect you in case of illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. I use World Nomads for my trips, with coverage designed for adventurous travelers including overseas medical, evacuation, baggage, and a range of adventure sports and activities.
🌄 Group Adventure Tours | Small group adventure tours from G Adventures or Intrepid Travel are the perfect solution for traveling on a budget or with minimal planning. Read my reviews here.