Skip to Content

Best Pueblos Mágicos in Oaxaca

Best Pueblos Mágicos in Oaxaca

Sharing is caring!

The southern state of Oaxaca is one the most culturally rich states in Mexico and has so many beautiful towns that need to be added to your Mexico bucket list.

For the most part, travelers are only spending their time either in the city of Oaxaca or catching some waves on the Pacific in Puerto Escondido.

Now don’t get me wrong, these are also two of my favorite places in Mexico. But getting off the traditional travel path and discovering some unique magic towns in Oaxaca is definitely worth your time.

What is a Pueblo Mágico?

Pueblos Mágicos in Mexico are little towns scattered throughout the country that the Mexican Government has named as important towns that maintain the country’s cultural aspects or offer a look into the country’s rich history.

These magic towns offer a certain sparkle that you won’t find just anywhere. They have done a beautiful job of preserving all of the magnetism of the Mexican culture and creating a space that attracts travelers from all over the world. In these magic towns, you’ll discover a different side to Mexico than just the tourist hubs and resort beaches.

Maybe you want to explore more of the magic towns in Guanajuato or see the historical towns in Yucatan. There are plenty of magic towns around Mexico that are well worth visiting.

What makes the initiative so special is that every year, the list is updated. So the towns are encouraged to maintain their magic to retain their title, and more towns are added, allowing for endless opportunities to discover off-the-beaten-path locations around Mexico.

How many Pueblos Mágicos in Oaxaca?

As of 2023, there are six Pueblos Mágicos in Oaxaca.

Pueblos Mágicos in Oaxaca

Get ready for a fusion of culture, delicious food, and some incredible historical sites.

Here are the six magic towns of Oaxaca.

1. Capulálpam de Méndez

First on the list and first to earn the title of Pueblo Mágico in Oaxaca is Capulálpam De Méndez. This town is one of the few magical towns that is populated by indigenous people of the region, and it brings a unique aspect to Mexico that is hard to find anywhere else these days.

Capulálpam de Méndez is only two hours from Oaxaca City, but the atmosphere is completely different. Due to the large indigenous population, the town does its best to continue living out the practices of its ancestors and preserving a lot of the customs that are still part of daily life in this pueblo.

The town also works hard to preserve the indigenous knowledge of traditional medicines and local plants that are used for healing at The Centro de Medicina Indígena Tradicional. You will be able to discover the ways of the Zapotecs and hopefully incorporate a little bit of their wisdom into your life.

Capulálpam also offers its visitors a look into South Mexico, away from the beaches and up into the mountains of Sierra Norte. The community makes an immense effort to bring consciousness to their tourism efforts to showcase their city and way of life in a more meaningful and magical way.

With the amount of ecotourism in the area, you can spend a few days exploring, eating some of the most delicious food made straight from the farms, and supporting a community that is preserving its culture.

Where to Stay in Capulálpam de Méndez

Ecoturismo Capulálpam

For a rural stay in Capulálpam, stay at these eco-cabins that are perfect for exploring the surrounding mountains and forests. The cabins are built in a traditional style, using natural and sustainable materials.

With an emphasis on eco-tourism, this accommodation is perfect for travelers looking to immerse themselves in nature while also being mindful of their impact on the environment.

beaches in mazunte.

The beaches of Mazunte are a beautiful place to spend your time.

2. Huautla de Jiménez

This remote magic town of Huatla de Jiménez definitely offers some magic, but this magic is in the form of mushrooms. I know that this topic can be a little taboo for some, but the town has become one of the most famous places in Mexico for psychedelic mushroom tourism.

The Mazatec people, the indigenous community of Huautla de Jiménez, have a long history with these mushrooms and lead shamanic healing ceremonies with them.

Maria Sabina was one of the first shamans in this area to bring the powerful psilocybin movement throughout the Americas. She was known as the Mazatec Priestess, and her legacy is still felt in Huautla de Jiménez today.

You can visit Museo Casa de Maria Sabina, where she once lived and led a life of natural healing. It is now a museum that honors her work and her cultural impact on the town.

Aside from going on a healing journey with mushrooms, Huautla de Jiménez is a beautiful little mountain town that offers its visitors a place of tranquility and nature to explore. In the mornings, the mountains are covered in a gorgeous fog, giving you that smoky mountain feel.

You can hike to The Velo de Novia, a stunning 115-foot waterfall, and for those who want to get below ground, the Sótano de San Agustín is only one hour away and is one of the deepest cave systems in the Americas.

Where to Stay in Huautla De Jiménez

There are a few homestays and hotels to stay at in Huautla De Jiminez, but booking them online can be a little bit of a struggle. Most of the time, just walking up to a hotel is just as easy as calling them.

Casa Cejota is a great option if you want somewhere that feels like home. The two women that run it are so lovely. It’s located in the mountains, and the homestay is simple but will have everything you need.

Rancho San Lorenzo is a step up in the luxury department, but not much! The Eco ranch is perfect for those who want to get out in nature and discover the local life in Huautla De Jimenez.

turtles being released on the beaches in mazunte.

Release turtles on a trip to Mazunte.

3. Mazunte

Mazunte is the only Oaxacan magical town on the coast. So, for those of you who love the beaches of Oaxaca and are looking for a sunny getaway, you have to check out this little hippy town just 40 minutes from Puerto Escondido.

While Puerto is fully loaded with huge resorts and expensive restaurants, Mazunte has kept it chill over the years, even with its massive popularity. It’s become known as a bohemian beach town with its unpaved roads and gorgeous beaches (kind of like Isla Holbox in Quintana Roo!).

You can stay in the most incredible eco-friendly treehouses with ocean views. Each road leads to something new to be discovered. The golden sands are lined with mountain views and are perfect for those who want to practice yoga on the beach in Mexico.

On days when the sun is beaming, you can hang out in cozy little cafes, drink some of the best smoothies in Mexico, and explore the colorful shops. When the sun goes down, locals and tourists will come together at the beach to watch the stunning sunsets. I’ve never seen the sun look so big floating on the water.

And if you are into water spots, this is one of the best places to go if you like skimboarding. This is when boarders use a small board to skim the water’s surface, like surfing without waves. But be careful. I’ve seen some gnarly crashes on the sand.

Mazunte is also home to the National Mexican Turtle Center, where you can learn about the different species of turtles that inhabit Mexico’s coasts and even have the opportunity to release baby turtles into the sea. Poaching was made illegal in this area, so you can feel good about supporting the conservation of these amazing creatures.

Where to Stay in Mazunte

Casa Mazunte Tierra Viva

Wake up to the sounds of the ocean at this quaint little hotel in one of the best pueblos mágicos in Oaxaca. You really can’t beat this location. You’ll be within walking distance from everything and have plenty of space to spread out if you decide to stay for a few days.

Posada Nautica

This studio apartment is perfect for a couple making their way along the coast. You’ll be just a few steps away from the beach. Enjoy chill afternoons hanging out in the hammocks, and the best part of it all, it has air conditioning! 

Zoa Hotel

If you are big on luxury and you want the 5-star treatment, then Zoa Hotel is perfect for you. Enjoy the gorgeous rooms and the huge pool for a morning or afternoon swim. 

mitla church from the angle below it.

The church in Mitla was built by the Spanish when they realized that this was a holy place.

4. San Pablo Villa de Mitla

San Pablo Villa de Mitla is the best magic town in Oaxaco for those who want to be immersed in history and culture. The town is usually just called Mitla, and it’s become one of the most popular day trips from Oaxaca City.

In less than an hour’s drive, you’ll find yourself transported back in time to when the Zapotec people once called this place home. Today, Mitla is an ancient burial site for the Zapotec nobles and carries a rich history spanning over 10,000 years.

In 2010, the Mitla archaeological site was named one of Mexico’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Mitla ruins are also what has put this town on the map as one of Oaxaca’s Pueblos Mágicos.

The ruins showcase rock art and archaeological evidence of the region’s human evolution. Mitla, also known as the Place of the Dead, served as a religious center run by priests who performed rites and made sacrifices. These are some of the most well-preserved ruins, and the intricate details on the buildings are out of this world.

If you’re a fan of mezcal, then Mitla should definitely be on your Mexico bucket list. You can join this tour and explore the agave fields in Mitla, where mezcal is produced. You can learn about the production process and even sample some of the local varieties.

Most people stay in Oaxaca City and drive 45 minutes to Mitla for a day trip. If you don’t have a car, you can join this half-day tour of the complex, and you’ll stop by one of the workshops and learn about the weaving and dyeing techniques used in the region.

historical site with mountains in the background.

My guide told me that the Spanish didn’t knock down the buildings in Mitla when they arrived because they looked like crosses and that would have been very bad luck.

5. Santa Catarina Juquil

This Oaxaca pueblo mágico is one of the most important places in Mexico for religion. The town was founded by the Mixtec people in 1272 AD and brings in over a million pilgrims each year to visit the Sanctuary of the Immaculate Virgin of Juquila. So, even if you haven’t heard of this magic town until now, it’s been one of the most popular places in Oaxaca for some time.

Santa Catarina is the second most important saint in Oaxaca, after Nuestra Señora de Soledad, the patron saint of Oaxaca.

The sanctuary houses a 14-inch-tall statue of the Virgin of Juquila. And it’s become a holy place and a popular religious pilgrimage site. The statue was brought to Mexico in 1552, but after a fire in 1633, the statue was relocated, and the sanctuary was built around the statue.

Every year on December 8, the town hosts The Virgin of Juquila Festival, and it’s one of the most important religious festivals of the whole year. People from all over Mexico come to Santa Catarina Juquil to pay reverence to the saint.

If religion isn’t your thing, you’ll find the magic town to offer more than just holy sites. The town is also known for its beautiful natural landscapes, with lush green mountains and stunning views. Visitors can also explore Chatino embroidery workshops and open-air markets showcasing the craftsmanship of the indigenous community that lives in the town.

I recommend staying in Oaxaca City and making the 1.5-hour drive into the town as a day trip.

misty clouds in the mountains with the sun rising behind it in one of the pueblos mágicos in Oaxaca.

Enjoy the mountains of Oaxaca. They are some of the most peaceful places to spend your time in all of Mexico.

6. San Pedro y San Pablo Teposcolula

The beauty of this town is what sets it apart from the rest of the Oaxaca magic towns on this list. Of all of the pueblos mágicos in Oaxaca, this one is a charming little place full of architectural wonders.

It’s easy to get lost in the enchantment of this pueblo mágico with its cobblestone streets and purple orchids that seem to be growing everywhere. The town is rich in Mixtec culture, and the historic house of Cacica is a must-see. It’s a 16th-century palace that draws visitors in with its unique architecture and pink marble.

But the town is most famous for the remarkable San Pedro and San Pablo Temple & Cloister. The religious complex was built in the 16th Century and has a unique blend of Renaissance and Gothic styles throughout. The complex also features one of the largest open-air chapels in Latin America.

Apart from the stunning architecture, visitors can also enjoy traditional Mixtec cuisines like pulque, a fermented drink made from agave (not my favorite), and mole, a rich delicious sauce made with chilies and chocolate (my favorite).

Where to Stay in Teposcolula

Hotel Casa Franco is a great option for a night of exploring the Puebla. It’s a beautiful 19th-century building that has everything you need for a comfortable stay. And they offer a yummy Oaxacan breakfast in the morning.