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Ultimate Guide of Where to Stay in Oaxaca

Ultimate Guide of Where to Stay in Oaxaca

Where to stay in Oaxaca is a more involved question than a first-time visitor to the city might think.

Within Centro alone, there are pockets with different vibes that may or may not be what you’re looking for, and beyond Centro neighborhoods, you might think are too far from the action when they’re really just steps away.

In this neighborhood guide to Oaxaca, you’ll find a nice synopsis for each of Oaxaca’s best places to stay, all of which are safe and walkable to the city’s best sites and bites.

From quiet and quirky to local and modern or historic but overlooked, there’s a Oaxaca neighborhood on this list that is just your style, guaranteed.

The Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Oaxaca

This list of where to stay in Oaxaca begins with the Oaxaca neighborhoods that are right in the heart of it all and ends with the barrios that feel more like you’ve slipped into local Oaxaca life. It’s all here to guide you in finding the best place to stay in Oaxaca for your personal preferences.  

Plan more of your trip to Oaxaca by browsing the entire section of articles about this incredible city here.

centro of oaxaca

The city of Oaxaca has so many beautiful places to stay and neighborhoods to explore!

Zócalo

The Zócalo is technically the large, tree-shaded square at the historical heart of downtown Oaxaca, or Centro as it’s known locally. In this context of where to stay in Oaxaca, the Zócalo is also considered a neighborhood that covers everything in Centro that falls south of Avenida de la Independencia. 

This lively square and the streets that compose the Zócalo neighborhood are brimming with activity all hours of the day.

Market stalls selling all sorts of trinkets are permanently set up on its edges while restaurants poke through the portals with their patio seating and live music playing.

There are street food carts lining the streets just beyond the square and there’s always a chance of a street performance somewhere amidst the square’s benches and buzz.  

While full of life, this Oaxaca neighborhood does tend to quiet down around midnight when the restaurants close and people flock to the bars further north in Centro.

It’s certainly as in the thick of Oaxaca’s attractions as you could be, meaning everything is no more than a 15-20 minute walk from where you stay, including the famous markets of 20 de Noviembre and Benito Juarez that are actually just a couple of blocks away.

Almost all of the hotels and hostels you could book in the Zócalo neighborhood of Oaxaca are housed in former colonial mansions or historical buildings.

Surrounding the Zócalo itself is the former Government Palace, State Capitol Building, and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, a stunning church built in 1535. The Zócalo is certainly the most central place to stay, but also one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Oaxaca as a first-time visitor to the city.  

Where to stay in the Zocalo

  • AYOOK: The design of this hotel is absolutely fantastic. The rooms, the lobby, the courtyard, and the breakfast area all make you feel like you are in a Mexican hacienda. Rooms start at $65. Book a stay here.
  • Casa Antonieta: The peace and calm amidst a noisy city, this hotel exudes relaxation in its design and color scheme. The staff couldn’t be more helpful and the concierge service is exceptional. Rooms start at $200 per night. Book a stay here.
  • Hotel Sin Nombre: A 5-star hotel right in the center of the city is one of the best places to stay in Oaxaca if you want a slice of luxury during your trip. Rooms start at $275 per night. Book a stay here.
santo domingo church

Santo Domingo is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Oaxaca and is well worth spending some time during your trip to the city.

Santo Domingo

Everything north of Avenida de la Independencia in Centro is considered to be part of the neighborhood of Santo Domingo, named after the picturesque Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzman that anchors the neighborhood’s center.

Like the Zócalo, the Oaxaca neighborhood of Santo Domingo is always abuzz with foot traffic, art installations, and the music typically wafting from the concentration of rooftop restaurants and bars. 

This part of town tends to be less local and more touristic, with nearly all of the shops, restaurants, and attractions catering to tourists, right down to the price tag.

But, it’s also home to some of the most scenic and well-preserved stretches of Oaxaca’s UNESCO World Heritage Status, full of color, colonial architecture, and cobblestoned streets at every turn. The restaurants, bars, and art galleries that compose the Santo Domingo neighborhood are some of the best in the city, and the shops house some of the most gorgeous artisan goods, from mezcal to clothing, textiles, and pottery. 

Should you choose to stay in this Oaxaca neighborhood, expect pricier nightly rates than in other neighborhoods in Oaxaca, but an abundance of gorgeous boutique hotels and hostels to choose from.

You can’t beat Santo Domingo’s walkability and proximity to all of Oaxaca’s top attractions, including its posh food and mezcaleria scene. It is certainly one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Oaxaca if you have a bit more wiggle room in your budget.

Though you may want to bring a pair of earplugs if you plan to sleep uninterrupted. 

Where to Stay in Santo Domingo

colorful mexican building

Oaxaca is a very colorful place and is packed with beautiful buildings like this one.

El Llano

Situated northeast of the Santo Domingo neighborhood is El Llano, a relatively quiet neighborhood in Oaxaca City. At its center is the Parque Juárez El Llano. Now a beautiful tree-filled park, it used to serve as the city’s zoo, hence the statues of the golden lions that greet you at every corner. 

This is a great neighborhood to stay in Oaxaca if you’re looking for something close enough to the action of Centro without being in the action of Centro.

One of the perks of staying in this Oaxaca neighborhood is that Parque El Llano is the largest park in Oaxaca, meaning it offers a glimpse into the leisure life of locals of all ages. 

The morning and evening hours are some of the best moments of the day to be in the energy of the park.

This is when families come together to rollerblade, go for a run, or line up for local snacks like elotes, esquites, nieves, tacos, and hamburgers. There’s also a play area for the kids and usually a group practicing a dance routine or doing a workout. 

There are just a few hotels and hostels to choose from in El Llano and they’re often slightly cheaper than anything you’ll find in Santo Domingo. This is one of the best places to stay in Oaxaca for those looking for a nice combination of walkability, local culture, and a good night’s sleep. 

Where to Stay in El Llano

  • Comala B&B: A classic Mexican-style architecture with a rooftop that you’ll want to relax on every night thanks to the bar up there. Rooms are simple and clean, location is fantastic, and prices are some of the best in town. Rooms start at $65 per night. Book a stay here. 
  • Las Mariposas Ecohotel: Great option for longer stays thanks to rooms with kitchens. Location is exceptional and staff couldn’t be nicer. Rooms start at $50 per night. Book a stay here.
  • Hotel La Casona del Llano: A simple motel-style hotel with great prices, very clean rooms, and nice on-site restaurant. Rooms start at $45 per night. Book a stay here.
colorful building in oaxaca

Barrio de Jalatlaco was once voted one of the coolest neighborhoods in Oaxaca.

Barrio de Jalatlaco

East of Centro is the charming and historic Jalatlaco neighborhood of Oaxaca. Containing just a few blocks within its narrow sliver of cobbled lanes, Jalatlaco is a place of neighborhood pride and you’ll feel it as soon as you enter. The best part is it’s still just a 15-20 minute walk to the heart of Centro. 

Originally Jalatlaco was its own Zapotec village. It wasn’t until the Conquistador Francisco de Orozco came along in 1521 and converted it into a Spanish enclave. Later still it became Oaxaca’s epicenter for saddle production.

Today, Jalatlaco remains a relatively quiet corner of Oaxaca, save for celebrations like Dia de los Muertos during which its decorations and parades attract the crowds.

It has a very artsy, colorful, and yet relaxed ambiance to it, full of family-run eateries as well as an assortment of hip cafes, artist’s workshops, and plenty of street art. At its center is the church of San Matías Jalatlaco thought to date back to the 17th century.

While the guesthouses and hotels within the neighborhood of Jalatlaco are few and far between, that’s actually what gives Jalatlaco its local neighborhood vibe, as many of the buildings are still inhabited by locals who continue to pass them through the generations.

In general, Jalatlaco is the best neighborhood to stay in Oaxaca if you’re looking for a nice hybrid between experiencing local life in Oaxaca and yet still feeling close to the center of it all in Santo Domingo and the Zócalo. 

Where to Stay in Barrio de Jalatlaco

  • Los Pilares Hotel: A rooftop pool and hot tub, luxurious rooms, and a calm courtyard. What more do you need in a hotel in Oaxaca? Rooms start at $95 per night. Book a stay here.
  • One Oaxaca Centro: The One hotel chain is a simple, clean, and affordable option around Mexico and this one is no exception. Rooms start at $60 per night. Book a stay here.
  • City Centro Oaxaca: This hotel was made popular thanks to its instagrammable rooftop. The design and colors of this bright hotel make it a wonderful place to hang out if you are traveling to Oaxaca with friends. The breakfast is a great addition and the hotel staff are very helpful and friendly. Rooms start at $150 per night. Book a stay here.
colorful orange building with cactus

Colorful places to stay in Oaxaca.

Barrio de Xochimilco

The neighborhood of Xochimilco is another scenic and a local gem of a Oaxaca neighborhood with a very tranquil vibe about it. It’s famous for two things: the 18th-century aqueduct that still runs the length of it and for its abundance of family-run weaving workshops. During your stay, keep an eye out for the gigantic pedal loom, as you’re sure to spot at least one. 

Xochimilco is also home to several exemplary restaurants and cafes, many of which contain some of the best rooftop views or naturally romantic patio settings Oaxaca has to offer. Because Xochimilco is so often overlooked by the tourists distracted by Centro’s gems, many of the restaurants don’t require any reservations, despite being just as good as anything in Centro. 

Part of the reason Xochimilco remains off the radar of travelers is that it sits just over the busy highway 190 from Centro. Even still, Xochimilco is an easy and short walk from Santo Domingo at just 15 minutes along gorgeous aqueduct-lined lanes. Consider Xochimilco to be the best Oaxaca neighborhood for a quiet stay with plenty of culinary, cultural, and architectural gems you’ll have almost entirely to yourself.

Where to Stay in Barrio de Xochimilco

buildings in different places in oaxaca

Wandering the different neighborhoods in Oaxaca is one of the best things to do in this city.

Colonia Reforma

Paralleling Xochimilco to the east across a dry river bed is the Oaxaca neighborhood of Colonia Reforma.

Though it may be lacking the heritage and aesthetics of Centro, Xochimilco, and Jalatlaco, it does make up for it in modern conveniences like fully stocked supermarkets, high-end shopping, and international restaurants. 

Colonia Reforma is mostly residential and commercial, but there are a few boutique hotels laced within its familiar streets and it is just as walkable to Centro as its neighbor Xochimilco.

Colonia Reforma has the reputation for being a more affluent area of Oaxaca, though it still maintains a very approachable local charm with restaurants that dish up a menu del dia for just a few pesos and smaller mercados that are void of any tourists or tourism trappings. 

This is the best neighborhood to stay in Oaxaca if you’re looking for an environment that’s more familiar to what you might be used to back at home, but that still offers a glimpse into local Oaxaca life and is easily within reach of the attractions of Centro.

It will certainly get you away from the tourist crowds and have you feeling like you’ve slipped into a Oaxaca untouched by tourism.

Where to Stay in Colonia Reforma

streets of oaxaca mexico

The colorful papel picado can be found blowing in the wind all over Mexico (especially in pueblos magicos!).

Barrio de la Noria

Last but not least, La Noria is a Oaxaca neighborhood on the southern edges of Centro. It’s perhaps the quietest and most local neighborhood on this list of where to stay in Oaxaca, as it’s mainly residential with just a few family-run restaurants and corner stores here and there. 

Barrio de la Noria is a great option for families, those on a budget, or those simply seeking a quiet oasis from the action of Centro.

Still just a 20-minute walk from Santo Domingo and 10-minute walk from the Zócalo, it can feel a bit far at night when walking down dark and quiet streets. If you do stay here, it’s best to take a taxi after dark and, in general, that’s probably a good rule of thumb no matter where you stay in Oaxaca. 

La Noria will give you yet another side of local life in Oaxaca, complete with its own beloved Mercado de la Noria where you can go for lunch, grab a freshly made juice or stack of tortillas, and sample local delicacies like quesillo, tlayudas, memelas, and piedrazo. 

Where to Stay in Barrio de la Noria

  • Azul Cielo Hostal: The best place to stay if you are traveling solo or backpacking Mexico and want to meet other travelers or just stay in an affordable and beautiful spot in Oaxaca. Beds start at $19 per night. They also have private rooms for singles and doubles. Book a stay here.
  • Hotel Camba: An incredibly affordable family-style hotel. Rooms are simple but clean and colorful. Rooms start at $35. Book a stay here.

Abraham

Monday 2nd of May 2022

$ means pesos - not USD?

Laura Bronner

Monday 2nd of May 2022

The prices are listed in USD.