Oaxaca de Juarez, or Oaxaca City, is the capital city of a Mexican state with the same name. Located in the southern part of the country, it has various places to visit and many activities to experience around the city.
This week, in our $10 series, we have Julien of Cultures Traveled to share how you could spend a day with your $10 USD in Oaxaca City.
So, what could you get in the city on the budget?!
Incredible Things to Do in Oaxaca City on the Budget
Discover what you can do in Oaxaca City for $10 USD or about 200 pesos. This affordable destination has a rich indigenous history that infuses into the city and brings its colonial bones to life.
There are some incredible things to do in Oaxaca that won't break the bank, including some amazing day trips that are accessible by public transportation. Let's explore what to do in Oaxaca City with a budget of $10.
Did you know?
Oaxaca is the state with the most diverse community, with at least 18 indigenous groups living there and retaining their own culture and language. Apart from the 32% of its indigenous population, the most spoken languages in the state include English, Italian, French, Catalonia, and Basque.
Start your day with an exploration of Monte Alban, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located just 25 minutes outside of Oaxaca City. This archeological site was inhabited over a period of 1,500 years, most notably by the Zapotecs. During that time, the site held considerable influence over the region of Oaxaca.
Buses depart every hour for 60 pesos ($3) round trip. The entrance fee to Monte Alban is 80 pesos ($4) and you do not need a guide, though they can provide valuable insight into the ancient city. Plan to spend about two hours, plus transport time.
Explore the Markets
Mexican markets are an experience. Tight passageways wind through vendors upon vendors selling everything from fresh produce to clothes and household goods. They are chaotic, colorful, and a vital part of life in Mexico.
The markets are also one of the best places to find an affordable lunch in Oaxaca, specifically the Mercado 20 de Noviembre. It's centrally located, only about one block from Mercado Benito Juárez.
You can find traditional foods such as tlayudas, a large tortilla fried on a flat grill and topped with beans, cheese, a few veggies, and your choice of meat. It's enough to fill you up and usually costs about 50 pesos ($2.50).
Walk Through Oaxaca City
After lunch at the market, it's time to explore Oaxaca city on foot. Keep your eyes open for the vibrant street art that is abundant throughout the city. It often tells a story about Mexico and its people, whether political or social in nature.
From the market, walk through Oaxaca's Zocalo to the pedestrian-only street, Acala. When you reach the Santo Domingo Church, take a peek inside. It's free to enter. You won't want to miss the intricately gilded gold Rosary Chapel on the right.
Continue your self-guided tour of the city towards the neighborhood of Xochimilco to see the old aqueducts. Along the way, opt to stop at Corazón de Cacao for a brief chocolate tasting with an option to purchase products to take home.
Tip: As you explore, keep your eyes and ears open for a calenda, a parade often organized to celebrate a wedding, baptism, or another special event.
Women dance in colorful skirts while holding a flower basket on top of their heads. The parade is led by a spinning circular lantern and large puppets whose arms fling about wildly as the person steering them also dances to the music.
Hierve el Agua
This is the most requested exploration from Oaxaca by travelers and it's easy to get to Hierve el Agua without a tour. The entire trip should cost you about 200 pesos ($10). First, you'll need to travel to Mitla. The cheapest way is by bus (20 pesos, $1) which departs near the baseball stadium in the north area of town.
When you get there, look for the white pickup trucks that take people to Hierve el Agua for 50 pesos ($2.50) each way. There is no set schedule, they simply leave when they are full. The entrance to Hierve el Agua is 25 pesos ($1.25), which leaves you just enough money left to get a quick snack or drink if needed and still only spend $10.
When you arrive, you'll find an infinity pool of natural spring water in a beautiful mountain setting. The mineral-rich water runs out of the pool and down the cliffside which over thousands of years has formed a petrified waterfall. Go for a hike for better views of the waterfall and return to the pool to cool off before heading back to the city.
Contributor: Julien Casanova from Cultures Traveled
Julien has always been intrigued to learn about the lives of other people. She enjoys slow traveling so that she can truly get to know a destination, its food, and its people. Follow along as she explores Latin America and beyond!