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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, hotels and Airbnb options for every budget!
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 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!
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
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!
PRO TIP: If you are planning to visit for Day of the Dead, you’ll want to stay at a hotel in the neighborhood of the main tourist center below, including the Zócalo (square). There are many events throughout the day that you won’t want to miss, including parades that stop traffic! So be sure to book one of these hotels within walking distance of the Zócalo.
Best Oaxaca Hotels and Hostels on a Budget – $50/night or less
Azul Cielo 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! Check out their Instagram here.
Hostal Central Oaxaca This hostel 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 I was lucky to find a room available here 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.
Agrado Guest House This budget hotel has a central location, modern design and great reviews for the warm service of the staff. Some options include both breakfast and dinner, which makes this an amazing value. (Although of course you’ll want to try more of the many amazing restaurants in Oaxaca!) Their Instagram includes on-site event info – check it out here.
Best Mid-range Oaxaca Hotels
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 for Oaxaca’s Day of the Dead Festival, since it always has an amazing altar display in the interior courtyard.
Hotel Parador de Alcalá Super-central Oaxaca City accommodation with a terrace and bar. Plus, their pool is a show-stopper! Great reviews for the staff, location, and rooms. Breakfast is included in the room rates.
Hotel Pereyra 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 Bed and Breakfast Featuring colorful rooms and custom tiles, La Betulia also has 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.
Hotel Siglo XVII Art Gallery With an amazing location in the heart of the Oaxaca historic center, Hotel Siglo XVII Art Gallery has an outdoor pool, garden, and fitness center (which not many of the hotels here offer!).
Casa del Sótano This hotel 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!
Best Oaxaca Luxury Hotels ($150+/night)
Quinta Real Oaxaca With quite a “wow” factor, this historic 5-star Oaxaca hotel is 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. Check out their Instagram here.
Hotel La Casona de Tita 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 This 4-star hotel offers exceptional luxury in an old colonial building, with an indoor courtyard and rooftop terrace. Two words: FAN-CY! Palacio Borghese is another best hotel in Oaxaca, and is rated as the #2 best value luxury hotel by TripAdvisor.
Casa Antonieta 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.
BONUS: Best Oaxaca Boutique Hotels
City Centro Oaxaca Without a doubt, this the pinkest place in Oaxaca! City Centro Oaxaca 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 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 Corazón A socially responsible 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.
For people who want more space, kitchen facilities, or a more local experience, here are some good Airbnb options in or near the city center.
Boutique Airbnb Recommendations
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 truly unique space offered by a Superhost.
Beautifully-designed 2-bedroom apartment for up to 4 guests with kitchen, 2 baths and rooftop patio. Located a few blocks from the Oaxaca zocalo and part of the “Airbnb Plus” program of facilities that have passed an in-person inspection for design and quality.
Gorgeous modern penthouse accomodation e for 2 guests in the Jalatlaco neighborhood of Oaxaca with a full kitchen, amazing design, and outdoor space with views overlooking the city. Located 10-15 minutes’ walk from the Santo Domingo church. If you need space for 4, there’s a similar 2-bedroom option by the same host: Architect-Designed Penthouse with Open-Air Tub
Budget Airbnb Recommendations
Courtyard Apartment in the Oaxaca City Center that accomodates up to 4 guests. 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, with a kitchen and private courtyard located 3 blocks from the zocalo.
Casa Capechik, cozy downtown apartment for 2 guests. Stylish accomodation with 1 bedroom, bath, kitchen and living area. 10-15 minutes walk to the Oaxaca zocalo.
Studio Apartments with kitchens and an outdoor courtyard for 2 guests. 15 minutes’ walk from the city center.
Search More Oaxaca Hotels
When I travel, I always book my hotels through Booking.com because of its huge selection of properties including hotels, vacation rentals and apartments. Many of their hotels offer free cancellation in case your plans change, and it’s easy to manage bookings directly through the app. Plus their “Genius” loyalty program offers perks the more you stay, like 10% off certain hotels, welcome drinks, free airport shuttles, and late check-out. Check each hotel’s info for any Genius perks offered once you qualify – it’s usually 5 stays to become a Genius member!
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. Check out this article from USA Today on safety in Oaxaca.
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!
Or check out some Oaxaca tours:
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!
Pin these best hotel ideas for later and help others find it too!
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 or top things to do in Oaxaca any time of year.
And don’t miss my collection of nativity scenes from around the world, including one from Oaxaca plus a Day of the Dead nativity!