The Ultimate Itinerary to Road Trip Oaxaca

The Ultimate Itinerary to Road Trip Oaxaca

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Sunset at Agua Blanca, one of the best beaches in Oaxaca

Oaxaca state was one of our favorite places to explore during our time in Mexico. From the arts and food scene of the capital to the stunning and predominantly undeveloped coastline to the rugged Sierra Madre range that separates the two, Oaxaca was an incredible region to discover with our own vehicle. We spent over two months traversing this amazing state and have put together a four-week road trip in Oaxaca packed with all of our favorite places and experiences.

Obviously not everyone will have the luxury of a month to explore Oaxaca, so this itinerary is designed in sections to be dismantled and put back together in whatever way appeals to you. If you love the coast as much as we do you’ll find plenty of beaches to relax on. If you’re a mountain goat there are sections dedicated to the mountains that range Oaxaca state. Or, if you are a foodie or culture vulture, you will love the section devoted to Oaxaca City, one of Mexico’s cultural and culinary strongholds.

We have written the itinerary in a loop, however, the choice is yours. When we visited Oaxaca, we chose to visit all of the destinations in the north before heading south to the Oaxaca beaches. As we said earlier, how you dismantle and rework the itinerary for your road trip in Oaxaca is up to you. We just recommend you visit as many places as you can while still having a relaxed and enjoyable holiday. There is nothing worse than over-vacationing your vacation!

Road Trip Oaxaca Itinerary

Day 1 – 3: Oaxaca City

Walking the deck at the Oaxaca train station on our road trip in Oaxaca
Start any Oaxaca road trip off in the state’s capital of Oaxaca

As good a place as any to start your road trip of Oaxaca is the state’s capital, also known as Oaxaca. The city of Oaxaca is bustling with energy. Visitors flock to Oaxaca predominantly for the culinary and cultural reputation that exists, but there is more to Oaxaca than the food and art (which is impressive).

While we have heaps of recommendations on where to eat in Oaxaca, where to drink in Oaxaca and even the best cafes in Oaxaca, there are also other things that you should do while you are there to fill your day when you are not indulging in the abundant food and beverage establishments.

Monte Alban

Monte Alban outside of Oaxaca City is one of the prettiest ruins in all of Mexico.

Start your road trip in Oaxaca by visiting Monte Alban. We hesitated in visiting after seeing so many other ruins, but we especially enjoyed Monte Alban. The backdrop of the mountains behind the pyramids in the morning light was the perfect start to our day. We recommend going early to avoid the bus loads of tourists and the heat.

Useful Information:

  • Address: Ignacio Bernal S/N
  • Cost: $80 pesos per person
  • Hours of Operation: 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
  • Distance: 10 kilometers (~20m) from Oaxaca

The Tree of Tule

It might be a little bit cheesy, but a trip out to see the Guinness World Record Holder for the world’s widest tree is worth it. The Tree of Tule is in a word, impressive. It is almost unfathomable how a tree could grow so wide. We recommend a visit especially if you have your own wheels.

The town of Tule itself is also quite nice and there is a great food hall called Mercado el Tule offering cheap Oaxacan cuisine next to the tree.

READ MORE: Vanlife Oaxaca City

Useful Information:

  • Address: 2 de Abril
  • Cost: $10 pesos per person
  • Hours of Operation: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
  • Distance: 11 kilometers (~20m) from Oaxaca

Eat and Drink Until You Can’t Eat or Drink Anymore

(ok, maybe not literally)

Pozole lunch with tortillas at Cabuche
Delicious poloze at Cabuche in downtown Oaxaca

People say moderation is key, but on vacation, I think the rules change a bit and especially in Oaxaca. As mentioned previously, Oaxaca is a culinary destination. The food here is divine, the coffee amazing, and the drinks delicious. It is hard not to come back from a holiday in Oaxaca without carrying a few additional pounds back with you. Take the time in Oaxaca to truly explore and indulge in the culinary scene.

READ MORE:

Need more time in Oaxaca? We understand, check out our article How to Spend a Week in Oaxaca.

Day 4 – 5: Santiago Apoala

If you are looking to get outdoors and explore the natural landscapes of Oaxaca, then look no further than Santiago Apoala located in the Sierra Mixteca mountains north of Oaxaca City. While getting here might be somewhat difficult as the road is windy and unpaved, it will be worth it in the end. Unlike other places you might visit in Oaxaca, Santiago Apoala is uncharted territory. Here you won’t find lots of tourists (if any) on your visit. Just nature and the local community.

The town itself is run as an ecotourism center which is common throughout Oaxaca. You must stop at the Ecotourism Center located in the center of town upon arrival to “check-in” and pay a small access fee. The fee is used to help support the local community. Cabanas can be rented at the ecotourism center and camping is available in the open field near the cabanas.

Here is a list of things to do in Santiago Apoala to keep yourself entertained for a few days.

Santiago Apoala Waterfall (Cascada)

Just a short walk from town down the river is the Santiago Apoala Waterfall. This stunning waterfalls is one of the main attractions and reasons for visiting Santiago Apoala. There are a few pools with crystal blue water for swimming, but beware as the water is frigid at best.

Cueva de la Culebra (Rattlesnake Cave) 

Only a short distance from the camping area is the Cueva de la Culebra or Rattlesnake Cave. This two cavern cave reaches a height of approximately 40 meters. One of the caverns contains a large underground lake which is fed by the Tamazulapan spring and the other a large stalagmite that the locals have named the Archbishop’s Stone.

Hiking

There is plenty of hiking to be had in the area. We advise, however, to go with a guide as trails are not readily marked and it is easy to get lost. Guides are available at the Ecotourism Center in town and the fee is charged per hour, not per person.

Useful Information

Day 6 – 7: Guacamaya Verde Canyon

If you like the outdoors, nature, and birds then a trip to Guacamaya Verde Canyon is a must on your road trip in Oaxaca. Guacamaya Verde means Green Macaw in Spanish. These beautiful birds can be seen here in their natural habitat from August to December each year. The number of birds that can be seen varies, but we have heard of people 3 macaws up to 90 macaws in a given viewing.

Green Macaws in Oaxaca
Green Macaws soaring above Guacamaya Verde Canyon on our road trip in Oaxaca

To have this amazing experience, you need a guide which should be arranged in advance, especially if you plan to visit on a weekend or want an English speaking guide. The best time to view the birds is one hour before it gets dark. The guided tour leaves in the afternoon and takes approximately 6-7 hours meaning that you will return to camp after the sun sets. The hike is 12 kilometers and gains approximately 500 meters in elevation and can be pretty grueling in the hot Mexican sun. Make sure to bring plenty of water, something to eat, and bug spray! And, don’t forget binoculars and a telephoto lens for your camera!

Useful Information

  • Contact Details: Senor Isidro Lopez Santiago
  • Cost: $250 pesos per person (guide + bioreserve fee)
  • Distance: 65 kilometers (~2h) from Santiago Apoala

Day 8 – 9: Pueblos Mancomunados

Pueblos Mancomunados, another tourism collective, consists of eight villages in the Sierra Norte mountain range. Extensive hiking trails connect these eight villages. Hiking this area offers a glimpse into what life is like in rural Oaxaca.

The mountains of Oaxaca's Pueblos Mancomunados
The view from our accommodation in Pueblo Mancomunados on our road trip Oaxaca

Even if hiking between the cities is not for you, there are plenty of day hikes available and you can drive between the cities. We also recommend that you try the trout from one of the many trout farmers in the area.

READ MORE: Vanlife in Oaxaca City

Useful Information

  • Cost: ~$60 pesos per person for access
  • Distance: 168 kilometers (~3.5h) from Guacamaya Verde Canyon

Day 10: San Pablo Villas de Mitla and Yagul

If you are visiting Mexico, it is almost mandatory to take a day to explore some of the many ruins of the ancient people who once ruled this beautiful land. The ancient civilization here was the Zapotec people who are indigenous to Oaxaca.

Yagul

Yagul which means “old tree” in the Zapotec language is a great place to spend a morning or afternoon. These Zapotec ruins date back to 500 – 100 BC, however, the most visible ruins only date back to the 1200s.

A girl overlooking the Yagul ruins in Oaxaca
Overlooking the valley and the ruins of Yagul

One benefit of visiting these ruins is the lack of people. Very few tourists venture out this far, so you might find yourself alone when visiting like we did. Make sure you take the time to climb up to the top of the hill behind the ruins for great panaramic views over the ruins and the surrounding valley.

Useful Information

  • Cost: $75 pesos per person
  • Hours of Operation: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Distance:

San Pablo Villas de Mitla

San Pablo Villas de Mitla is one of Oaxaca’s Pueblo Magicos. Pueblo Magico is a designation by the Mexican government given to cities throughout Mexico that are recognized as especially significant. Either for their natural beauty, cultural significants, tradition, folklore, historical relevance, cuisine, art crafts, or great hospitality.

The Mitla ruins are the second most visited ruins in the state of Oaxaca (after Monte Alban) and the most important in the Zapotec culture. Mitla was the main religious center for the Zapotecs. The name “Mitla” is derived from the Nahuatl name Mictlan which is the place of the dead or underworld.

One of the unique things to see in the Mitla ruins is the Column of Death. Legend has it that if you hug the column you will see how much life you have left to live. If you wrap your arms around the column and feel it move, then you will die soon. Others believe that if you hug the column then you are cursed. Whatever the legend might be, the column is now off-limits due to damage from too much love.

Useful Information

Day 11 – 13: Playa San Diego

With hiking and exploring the outdoors completed in the North of Oaxaco, it is time to make your way down to Oaxaca’a best beaches on your road trip in Oaxaca. Your first stop should be none other than Playa San Diego.

Playa San Diego was quite possibly our favorite campsite in all of Mexico. Tucked away along a thirty-minute dirt road through local farms, you find yourself in one of the most stunning beaches in all of Mexico. Miles and miles of unspoiled beaches, headlands, and the hinterland behind. There is no accommodation, restaurants, bars, or anything resembling the tourism industry. Only nature and the occasional family or fisherman on the weekend.

The headlands and beaches of Playa San Diego
Road trip Oaxaca to magical places like Playa San Diego

Useful Information

  • Cost: Free
  • Address: To get here you will need to follow the road in front of the Pemex through the local farms. There will be a sign that says Playa San Diego. It is a long 30 minute drive. Just keep following the road and you will make it!
  • Distance: 300 kilometers (~5h) from Mitla

Pro-tip: As with many developing countries (and even developed countries) trash seems to find itself in unwanted places. Be a doll and take a bag of trash with you when you leave. Every bit of love we can give the planet will make it a better place!

Picking up trash at Playa San Diego in Oaxaca
Doing our part one plastic bottle at a time

Day 14 – 15: Playa San Agustin and Huatulco National Park

A highlight of our road trip through Oaxaca, Playa San Agustin is a small beach located on the outskirts of Huatulco National Park and is the best jumping off point for exploring the national park. The park is best explored by boat as the thick vegetation prevents accessing this series of amazing bays from the land. These bays are known for their stunning blue water, desolate beaches, and impressive snorkeling.

We recommend taking a boat ride or tour with Don Taco, a resident overlander who has set up base in Playa San Agustin for an enjoyable half day exploring Oaxaca’s beautiful coastline. Make sure to go early though if you want to avoid the crowds. Large snorkeling tours arrive around 11:00 am and stay for a few hours which can deter from the atmosphere for some of the larger bays. If you rent a boat and captain for the day though you can always find a small bay without any people.

READ MORE: How to Overland Oaxaca’s Huatulco National Park

Useful Information

  • Cost:
    • Private Tour: $500 pesos per hour (includes boat and captain)
    • Pick-up and Drop-off: $1,000 pesos round trip
  • Distance: ~115 kilometers (~2.5 hours) from Playa San Diego

Pit Stop: Playa Tembo

Before you get to these three idyllic beaches and if you have more time on your road trip in Oaxaca, a stop at Playa Tembo is perfect for those looking to get away from it all. Playa Tembo may be hard to reach, but this unassuming little bay is worth the effort. A rugged dirt track crossing a steep hill will lead you down to Playa Tembo.

Overseen by the one local man who lives here full time, there will be few distractions while visiting Playa Tembo. Half constructed buildings dot the hillside and workers come in the early mornings to slowly work on some of the construction, but otherwise, you will have this small beach to yourself. Make sure you bring along everything you need as there are no restaurants, bars, or stores.

Useful Information

Day 18 – 21: Zipolite, San Augustinillo, and Mazunte

These three consecutive Oaxaca beaches with their distinctive, laid back vibe and hippy culture have become a beacon for free-spirited travelers from all over the world. The beaches are recognizable by their luscious jungle-covered headlands enclosing each beach. The communities strike the balance between providing creature comforts from the Western world while retaining some of the Mexican beach culture. Spend your time exploring the different beaches as each has a unique vibe.

Zipolite

If you like to don your birthday suit, then Zipolite is the place for you. Zipolite holds the prestigious title of being the only nude beach in Mexico (although nudity is not required, only encouraged). This two kilometer white sand beach is always full of life and activity especially around sunset. We loved our time in Zipolite with its relaxed vibe and chill atmosphere.

Sunset from the parking lot / overlanding spot in Zipolite
The sun setting over the Pacific Ocean on our road trip Oaxaca

Zipolite also offers the best free camping spot we have seen in Oaxaca if you want to stay somewhere you can be connected and somewhere with restaurants and bars. There is a small parking lot towards the end of the beach where at least a handful of other vanlifers set up show for a night or even weeks. There is nothing better than waking up to crashing waves in the morning and watching the sunset over the ocean every night. This truly is a gem of a spot and you won’t want to miss it on your Oaxaca road trip.

Pro-tip: We highly recommend eating at Sal Y Pimienta. These guys do seriously delicious seafood and even better margaritas right on the beach. Great seafood, and generous portions for reasonable prices. Plus, for $50 pesos a glass or more aptly a goblet, the margarita is as delicious as it is dangerous. It is hard to say how much tequila is actually in the margarita since it is frozen, but after one margarita each we could definitely feel the effects. Sal Y Pimienta is the perfect place to watch the sunset with a cocktail in hand. Just make sure you get there in time as the best seats fill up fast at this time of the day.

San Augustinillo

San Augustinillo is the most quiet and tranquil of the three beaches. There are only a handful of restaurants or bars on the beach here compared to its neighbors and there is a more chilled, relaxed vibe here.

Sunrise over San Agustinillio, one of the best beaches in Oaxaca
San Agustinillo may be the prettiest of the three beaches

San Augustillo also has the best breakfast spot in our opinion from the three beaches. La Mora Posada offers a range of breakfast from traditional Mexican breakfast dishes like chilaquiles and huevos rancheros to waffles with caramelized bananas and ice cream. Our personal favorite was the chipotle chilaquiles. What is more Mexican than tortilla chips tossed in a chipotle sauce topped with queso fresca, a fried egg, onion, avocado and cilantro served with black beans and tortillas. These might have been the best chilaquiles we have had in Mexico. And trust me, we have had our fair share of chilaquiles over the past six months. This place fills up fast, so be prepared to wait or get there early.

Bonus: If you like to make your own meals, there is a fish monger down the road perpendicular to La Mora Posada. Here you can buy fresh fish and shrimp for a fraction of the price anywhere else to take back and cook to your liking. Read more about our favorite seafood recipes that are easy to make in the van!

Mazunte

Mazunte is the best beach of the three beaches to enjoy a swim. A headland to the right of Playa Riconcito in Mazunte protects the water making it the perfect place to take a dip in the Pacific Ocean. The only downside is the lack of shade in the morning, so make sure to bring an umbrella or rent one on the beach.

Mazunte also is a great place to watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean at Punta Cometa. La Punta Cometa is a popular spot to enjoy the sunset with a cold cerveza (beer). There are three separate trails shown on Google Maps to Punta Cometa. We recommend following the trail off Camino Mermejita and keeping to the right when the path splits. This will take you to a separate “viewing” area and not exactly to the point, but you will have fewer people crowding your space as you watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

Watching the sunset from Punta Cometa in Mazunte
Goofing off while taking photos in Mazunte at Punta Cometa

Bonus: La Baguette is a great spot to grab a delicious pastry or freshly baked French bread.

Day 22 – 24: Chacahua

It’s time to get off the beaten path. A road trip in Oaxaca is not complete without visiting Parque Nacional Lagunas de Chacahua (the National Park of Chacahua Lakes). Visiting here means you will need to ditch your wheels for a bit and take a boat ride through the mangrove forest to reach the beach which is an adventure in itself.

Sitting on the dock of the bay at Chacahua, one of the best beaches in Oaxaca
Sitting on the dock of the bay watching the tides roll away – Otis Redding

Once there you will be rewarded with miles of deserted beaces, a great surf break, and relaxation. Basic accommodation is available and booking in advance is only essential if you want to stay somewhere particular or if your trip coincides with the Mexican holiday season. There are no ATMs available, but there are restaurants and bars and stores selling basic goods. This is the place to come and relax, read a book and catch some rays. Watch out for the crocs.

Useful Information

  • Cost:
    • Boat Ride: ~$1,300 pesos one way (inclusive of parking)
    • Accommodation: ~$300 – $500 pesos for a double room or $800 – $1,200 for a quadruple room
  • Distance: 128 kilometers (~ 2.5h) from Mazunte

Day 25 – 28: Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido is a hot spot on the Oaxacan coast. Attracting visitors from both near and far, there are plenty of beaches to explore here. We spent a week jumping between the different beaches of Escondido. Here is our rundown.

Sunset over Puerto Escondido
The sunsets in Oaxaca are stunning!

La Punta

La Punta is the hotspot for backpackers. Plenty of dreadlocked foreigners in harem pants and bare feet hang out in this part of Escondido enjoying the bohemian lifestyle. You will find plenty of other overlanders here peddling arts and crafts, sleeping in their car at the beachfront parking lot and catching a wave on the easy (but crowded) point break. La Punta is also a popular spot for watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

Playa Zicatela

Playa Zicatela is famous for its heavy shore break that draws serious surfers from all over the world. It may not be the nicest beach in Oaxaca, but on the right day, you could get to see some incredible surfing.

With plenty of surfers staying down this end of Puerto Escondido there is also a number of cafes, bars and restaurants here.

Check out Mar & Wana. This restaurant and bar combo is a great place to grab a meal and a few beers under the Mexican stars.

Playa Coral in Carrizalillo

The beach through the palm trees at Playa Coral in Carrizalillo, one of the best beaches in Oaxaca
Playa Coral in Carrizalillo was one of our favorite beaches in Oaxaca

Playa Coral was our favorite beach to relax on Puerto Escondido. This small beach is less crowded than the neighboring beach of Playa Carrizalillo which at one point probably was a lovely beach. Now overcrowded with tourists, beach chairs and restaurants. We walked down the insanely steep staircase to Carrizalillo, only turn right back around and head back to Playa Coral.

Playa Coral is the perfect place to swim as the cove is protected by the headland. Make sure you bring everything with you to the beach as there are no vendors, restaurants, or bars and the hike back up to the main road is long. If you are looking to grab lunch on the go to take to the beach, we recommend El Sultan. A slight change to your standard Mexican fare, this restaurant serves delicious Mediterranean meals. Think mouth-watering falafel and yummy hummus. The perfect beach snack or lunch!

We also recommend grabbing a coffee and pastry from Dulce Tierra nearby. These guys are serving one of the best coffees we had in Puerto Escondido.

READ MORE: The Best Beaches in Oaxaca: A Vanlife Guide

Other Things To Do in Puerto Escondido

Indulge at Los Manjares

If you’re a carnivore then you should visit Los Manjares. Los Manjares is a specialty butcher shop located above Playa Zicatela. A bit of a break from cuts of meat and whole chicken you find hanging in the mercados, these guys sell high-quality premium meats. Additionally, find specialty condiments, fancy cheese, nice wines, and sweets. A little out of place on a busy road in Escondido, it was an unexpected find.

The butcher is open every day, however, from Thursday to Sunday, you’ll find the grill next to the butcher being manned. Here they cook up what you just purchased and it is all tip-based. Grab a rack of ribs and the hot bbq sauce from the butcher, pop over to the grill master return a few hours later to pick up some of the best meats you’ll find in Mexico!

Useful Information

Eat at Papa Tots

Tots three ways from Papa Tots
Give me more TOTS!

Papa Tots was one of the best meals in Puerto Escondido and reminded me of my 3 years spent in the Netherlands. Papa Tots specializes in one thing… potatoes, particularly, deep-fried potatoes. These potatoes are somewhere between a tatter tot and a hashbrown. You can choose from a variety of flavors from garlic rosemary to cheese and onion and many more flavors. Have them plain or as part of a burrito, but you cannot choose wrong. We also recommend the jalapeno poppers. Hands down the best we have had this side of the border.

Useful Information

Grab Fresh Produce at the Mercado Benito Juarez

One of my favorite things about visiting countries in Latin America is shopping in the local markets. The Mercado Benito Juarez is no different. Here you can find the freshest fruit and veg in the city and numerous other things. We even did some of our Christmas shopping this year at the market.

Useful Information

Watch Turtles Hatching at Playa del Palmarito

Growing up as a young girl, I loved when our beach trips coincided with hatching season for baby turtles. Oaxaca’s coastline is home to many turtles who return each year to nest and lay eggs.

Olive Ridley turtles come each year ashore to lay eggs in mass nestings. These baby turtles hatch between August and November each year. While there are many spots to visit and see turtles hatching, we recommend Playa del Palmarito.

Playa del Palmarito is a desolate beach 8km north of Puerto Escondido. You won’t find large tour groups here (or any tourists for that matter). There is a 6:00 pm release and you can volunteer between 9:00 pm – 2:00 am.

The van boondocking on an Isolated Beach Above Puerto Escondido on our road trip in Oaxaca
Camped outside the hatchery on our own private beach

Pro-tip: You can also camp at the hatchery or further down the road near a large palapa.

Useful Information

  • Address: Reserva de Tortugas
  • Cost: Donation based
  • Hours of Operation: 6:00 pm
  • Distance: 8 kilometers (~15m) from Puerto Escondido

Day 28 – 30: San Jose del Pacifico

The sunset gleaming through the clouds over the treetops in San Jose del Pacifco. San Jose del Pacifico is an absolute highlight of any road trip in Oaxaca
How relaxing is this sunlight?

The final stop on your road trip of Oaxaca is San Jose del Pacifico. We spent one of my favorite nights on our road trip in Oaxaca camping under the stars in this magical mountain town.

Tucked into the mountains separating the city of Oaxaca from the coastline is San Jose del Pacifico. You might regret it later if you don’t stop in this small mountain town if only for one evening. The town is known for its incredible natural beauty, traditional temazcal sweat lodge ceremonies, and the various mushrooms. But, it is especially famous for the hongos magico, the local psilocybin mushroom, psilocybe mexicana, which grow abundantly in the mountains.

Find out more about where to stay, what to do and best restaurants in San Jose del Pacifico in our article Overlanding San Jose del Pacifico!

Useful Information

  • Distance: 170 kilometers (~3h 15m) from Yagul or 140 kilometers (~3h) from Oaxaca

Pit Stop: Santa Catarina Minas

If you have more time before heading to Oaxaca, we recommend making a stop in Santa Catarina Minas. Here you can visit local small-batch mezcal producers and learn about the distilling process.

Booking.com

Useful Oaxaca Travel Tips

Now that you where to go on your road trip in Oaxaca, you need to start planning. We have put together a list of FAQs and dos and don’ts to help you navigate and plan your road trip in Oaxaca.

When is the Best Time of Year to Visit Oaxaca?

The best time of the year to visit Oaxaca is during shoulder season. This coincidentally coincides with the North American spring and fall. There are typically fewer tourists, accommodation prices are lower and temperatures milder. With this being said, we visited from November to January and found it enjoyable. While Christmas felt different being at the beach in my swimsuit, it reminded Eddie of home and the summer warmth of Christmas down under.

Do remember to always pack bug spray as Oaxaca is a tropical climate.

Don’t forget your sunscreen… you’re going to need it!

Is Oaxaca Safe?

Generally, yes. We did not experience any issues with safety on our road trip in Oaxaca. As always, using precautions is wise. No camping on unlit streets, avoid walking late at night and use common sense.

Do camp in well lit, well-known camp spots, like this million dollar spot in Zipolite.

Don’t park at El Llano in Oaxaca city or you might wake up to a burglar in your car.

Do practice caution and mindfulness when you travel.

Don’t flaunt money, jewelry or gadgets.

What are the Driving Conditions in Oaxaca?

In general the road conditions in Oaxaca are fairly good. There are certain roads that we do recommend avoiding such as the Mexico 125, Mexico 131 or the “alternative” short cut from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido. We thought shaving an extra forty-minutes off our drive sounded nice for a 7+ hour journey. Little did we know that this “detour” was actually a dirt track littered with potholes up the Sierra Sur mountains. Trust us on this one, stick to the paved roads in Oaxaca.

Do stick to the paved roads and avoid detours from Google.

Don’t fall asleep at the wheel as the Oaxacan roads from the city to the coastline are dangerously windy.

Where Can I Find Gas in Oaxaca?

There is no shortage of gas stations in Oaxaca with one exception. Make sure you fill up before crossing the Sierra Sur mountains from Oaxaca to the coast. Once you pass Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz, gas stations are fewer and further in between.

Do fill up before crossing the Sierra Sur mountains.

Don’t fret if you forget as locals are always selling gas in plastic bottles along the side of the road.

Can You Drink the Water in Oaxaca?

No.

A general rule of thumb is to follow the lead of the locals. Everyone in Oaxaca buys waters for consumption and you should too. Getting sick in Oaxaca especially in one of these remote locations would not be fun.

Do ask the server if the ice is prepared using filtered water before ordering a cocktail.

Don’t be a fool. Buy WATER or filter your own.

Are there ATMs in Oaxaca?

Finding an ATM in the state of Oaxaca depends on where you are. ATMs can be found in many of the cities, but not in the small remote villages and communities in the mountains or along the coast. Make sure you have enough cash with you when you visit these communities as cards will definitely not be accepted.

Do check out the Santander Bank on the Mexico 200. No ATM fee is collected at the terminal in Mexico (your bank could still charge, but hey, one less fee).

Don’t forget to always carry some cash. Even in cities, cards are often times not accepted.

How Reliable is the Mobile Internet in Oaxaca?

Finding reliable 4G with Telcel or a cafe with internet in the major towns of Oaxaca is not difficult. More remote destinations and villages are a different story. Many of the destination we have recommend will not have a cell phone signal or a cafe with the internet. If you do decide to visit these, enjoy the serenity of not being connected all the time.

Do use nperf.com to check out the most up to date information on 4G signal throughout Mexico.

Don’t forget to unplug for awhile on vacation!

What do you think of our Oaxaca road trip itinerary? Did we miss anything? Let us know below!

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