Solo Travel Destination: Oaxaca, Mexico

We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Alie, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Alie is from the United States, and submitted the following report about Oaxaca. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!

Solo travel rating: 1.5 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult. Please see chart below)

Languages spoken: Spanish

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Teotitlan del Valle cathedral

Reasons to go:  Oaxaca is a feast for the senses. Whether you love discovering a new favorite food, visiting ancient sites, or poking around in local markets, galleries and churches, there is no limit to the things to see in this diverse city.

The main Zocalo of Oaxaca provides endless people watching and is lively all day and into the evening. Oaxaca is a culture lovers paradise with a wide variety of local artisans vending their wares. It is easy to get lost wandering the cobblestone streets while looking inside all the different little shops. There are beautiful weavers and unique hand painted animals that are definite standouts. If you are curious about the source of these products, it is easy to take a tour or a bus out to the small weaving community of Teotitlan del Valle, where you can see the craftsmen at work.

Not far from the city center, Monte Alban is a wonderful ancient site that is easily accessed and provides stunning views over the city. After you’ve returned to town, it will be difficult to decide where to eat. Oaxaca is known for its moles, richly spiced sauces that are generally served over meat. At times, the sauce has a base of chocolate, which is locally produced, and it is a real treat. To buy the chocolate or mole sauce itself, you can check out the chocolate sellers (I enjoyed Mayordomo) down by the central market area. Another Oaxacan specialty is the “tlayuda.” This Oaxacan dish features an oversized tortilla with refried beans, lettuce, tomatoes, and your choice of meats (chorizo sausage, spiced pork, spiced beef – or all of them!), all topped with delicious fresh Oaxacan cheese, known as “quesillo.” Another delicious meal is to be had in the 20 de Noviembre Market in the carne asada hall. Here you order meat by the kilo, it is cooked for you on the spot, and you can add fresh tortillas and homemade salsas.

Accommodation is reasonable and well priced around the San Domingo church area. I recommend looking at Hostal Casa del Sol which has private rooms and dorm beds that are situated around a sunny courtyard with communal breakfast tables that make meeting other travelers pleasant and easy.

I always felt very comfortable walking in Oaxaca even into the later evening, and some of the most beautiful sites in the city are the large cathedrals drenched in night time spotlights. If you go, bring comfortable shoes, sunblock, and some space in your bag for your new treasures that you will certainly find while wandering around town.

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Chilis in the market.

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Children’s Day festival in the Zocalo.

Solo Travel Destination Rating System

Safety – 2 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)

Language – 2 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)

Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)

Culture – 1 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)

Average Rating – 1.5 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult)


  • Geri Anderson

    One of the dangers of solo travel is falling in love with a destination. Oaxaca changed my life. After a week there, I decided to move there. I just self-published a book, OH OAXACA, about my 17 years living in this enchanted place.

  • Green Global Travel

    Love the pictures of chilis from the market. Great post!

  • John Scherber

    Beautiful Oaxaca is one of eight cities featured in my new book, which looks
    at Americans and Canadians who’ve chosen to avoid the big expat colonies in San
    Miguel de Allende and Lake Chapala. What they’ve found is both diverse and
    surprising. If you’re wondering what the expat experience is like, whether on
    the beach or in the colonial cities of the interior, you need to listen to this
    conversation. The book is called Into the
    Heart of Mexico: Expatriates Find Themselves Off the Beaten Path, and there
    is no other book like it. There’s a sample on my website:

  • beachtours


    next time when you visit Mexico must visit Cozumel’s best beach club: Mr Sanchos iam sure it will be fun and you will have a great time there.

  • inger

    Thanks for your posting. I am going there in October and am looking forward to it.