Discover Color and Culture in Mexico's Most Vibrant State

Find out why Oaxaca is one of our Best Trips of 2018.

More than a dozen indigenous groups once inhabited the southern region of Mexico now known as Oaxaca. Today, it remains one of the most ethnically diverse states in the country. From the 16th-century Spanish colonial architecture in the Historic Centre of Oaxaca to the vibrant Day of the Dead celebrations that sweep the city each fall, discover the confluence of 1,500 years of history and culture.

Insider Tour Guide

Eric Mindling of Traditions Mexico has been organizing immersive tours and expeditions through Oaxaca since 1997. His skilled guides have access to even the most remote communities.

Where to Stay

Hotel Los Amantes: In an updated colonial-era building in Oaxaca City’s historic center, this boutique hotel fills its public spaces and 10 suites with contemporary art for sale.

Parador de Alcalá: Also in Oaxaca’s historic center, this 18th-century former mansion offers 21 luxe rooms and a blue-tiled rooftop pool. Traditional Mexican breakfast is included.

Hotel Casavegas: Outside Oaxaca City, base yourself in Pinotepa Nacional, which has big-city conveniences compared with smaller villages such as Pinotepa de Don Luis. Rest up at this no-frills hotel before venturing out to the coast.

Where to Eat and Drink

Caldo de Piedra: Northeast of Oaxaca City, in the town of Tlalixtac de Cabrera, Caldo de Piedra’s house specialty is a traditional soup cooked tableside using fire-heated stones.

Restaurante Casa Oaxaca : Alejandro Ruiz’s acclaimed kitchen in Oaxaca City celebrates the state’s flavors in sophisticated ways, from rabbit leg with yellow mole sauce to Oaxacan chocolate.


Nat Geo Expeditions offers the seven-day trip Mexico’s Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, a backstage pass to this colorful annual festival.

What is Day of the Dead? Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a celebration of life and death. While the holiday originated in Mexico, it is celebrated all over Latin America with colorful calaveras (skulls) and calacas (skeletons). Learn how the Day of the Dead started and the traditions that make it unique.
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