Posted: 10/16/2023 | October 16th, 2023
Oaxaca is now one of the most popular destinations in Mexico. Thanks to its history, textiles industry, and architectural beauty — and the growing popularity of mezcal — everyone wants to go there. There’s a ton to see and do, and every time I visit, it seems busier. (It’s not just foreigners either: it’s become really popular with Mexicans and Argentinians too.)
While there are lots of neighborhoods to stay in, most everything is adjacent to downtown (Centro). Whether you stay in one area or another is just a matter of how far you want to walk to the center. Do you care if you walk 20 or 30 minutes, or would you prefer just 5 minutes? That’s the only real difference that you have to think about.
The only noncentrally located neighborhood is Reforma, the more modern and upscale part of town. It’s a really nice area, and there are a lot of good accommodations, shops, and restaurants there.
However, as a tourist with likely only a few days here, I think you’re better off staying in a more central part of town. This will make it easier to get around (Reforma is not really within walking distance of the main sights).
So, with that said, I’m just going to name my favorite places to stay and tell you how far of a walk they are from the Zócalo (the main public square downtown):
BUDGET: Casa Angel Hostel – This is a super social hostel on the northern edge of downtown, just a 15-minute walk to the main square. The staff organize many events, including happy hours, yoga classes, and group barbecues. Breakfast is included and there’s also bar on the roof that makes hanging out and meeting people a breeze. The beds are soft, comfortable, and come with privacy screens. The bathrooms are kept really clean too. It’s one of the best hostels in the city.
BUDGET: Hostal Central – Located on the western edge of downtown, just a 10-minute walk to the main square, Hostal Central offers one of the best free breakfasts in town. The beds have orthopedic mattresses and all the dorms have lockers so you can store your gear safely and securely. There’s a shared kitchen for cooking your own meals and the staff organize regular activities so it’s easy to meet people.
MIDRANGE: La Casona del Llano – Right on Parque Llano, about 15 minutes’ walk from the main square, this is a really nice, traditional hotel with rooms centered around a beautiful garden. The restaurant serves a delicious breakfast (as well as tasty traditional cuisine throughout the day), and the rooms are rustic and quiet. The interior may be a bit outdated, but the staff is super friendly, the Wi-Fi is strong, and the water pressure is great. I love staying here. When we used to run tours here, this is where we stayed with our groups.
MIDRANGE: Los Arrayanes – This hotel in the center of town is in an old hacienda (large estate house) with lots of plants and colorful art around. The rooms are bright, spacious, and colorful; the water pressure in the showers is great, and the beds are comfy. There’s a beautiful courtyard and rooftop garden and the staff goes out of their way to ensure you have a comfortable stay. It’s one of the best hotels in Oaxaca.
MIDRANGE: One Oaxaca Centro – About 20 minutes’ walk from the Zócalo, in the Jatalco district, this modern business hotel has comfy (though a bit bland) rooms. The beds are soft, there’s lots of natural light, showers have good pressure, and there’s a table to work from. There’s also a robust breakfast spread to fill up on too. Consider this lodging to be like a Holiday Inn.
MIDRANGE: Oaxaca Real Hotel – This huge hotel in a restored colonial mansion right in the center of town has a small pool, a rooftop restaurant serving delicious traditional food, and friendly staff. The rooms are homey and clean (albeit a little dark and dated). But the beds are soft and it’s quiet so you can get a good sleep. It’s located minutes from the main square and has the best location out of all the hotels on this list.
UPSCALE: City Centro by Marriott – Located east of Centro in the Jatalco area, this is one of the most modern, hip hotels in town. Its room are plush with trendy art, lots of light, and firm beds. The staff is really helpful and there’s a gym, bar, and outdoor pool here. It’s quite photogenic with its pink décor and inspirational signs, so you’ll see lots of people popping into the hotel just to take photos.
I love Oaxaca. It’s a beautiful, lively city that’s easy to get around if you stay in the center. All the properties here are excellent and rather centrally located, so no matter what your choice is, you’ll have a great place to stay. Oaxaca lives up to all the hype, so you’re going to have a blast!
Book Your Trip to Mexico: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner. It is my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the globe, so you always know no stone is left unturned!
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as it has the largest inventory. If you want to stay elsewhere, use Booking.com, as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancelations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it, as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- SafetyWing (best for everyone)
- Insure My Trip (for those 70 and over)
- Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)
Looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all the ones I use!
Want More Information on Mexico?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Mexico for even more planning tips!