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2-Week Mexico Road Trip to Oaxaca Coast

I recently returned from a trip to the Oaxaca Coast, and, to be fully transparent, it was a bit of a disaster. On the upside, it was a fun Mexico road trip with friends to see exciting places and eat delicious breakfast in Oaxaca. However, I wish I’d done more research on when to visit Oaxaca and used some expert Oaxaca city tips.

The truth is I did no planning, which is essential—especially if you plan to enjoy the Day of the Dead in Oaxaca. I learned from my mistake and will prepare more for future trips to Oaxaca! I was inspired to create a 2-week Oaxaca itinerary incorporating solid road trip tips, like visiting outside the rainy season.

Are you wondering, “Is it safe to drive from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido?” or, “How many days in Oaxaca do you need?” This guide to the Oaxaca Coast will answer all your burning questions.

P.S. If you don’t want to rent a car in Oaxaca because you’re worried about driving in Mexico, you’ll be excited to know this Oaxaca itinerary can be done with public transport. You could also easily try hiking Camino Copalita in Oaxaca, Mexico!

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
Best Oaxaca ToursClick here to check out the top Oaxaca tours
Best Oaxaca Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Oaxaca
Best Oaxaca Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Oaxaca

2-Week Oaxaca Coast Mexico Road Trip

Regarding how many days in Oaxaca you need to see the top sights, I recommend at least two weeks. The longer you can explore this area, the better!

Days 1-2: Oaxaca City

Oaxaca Road trip itinerary

Oaxaca City is the most obvious starting point for your trip to Oaxaca, as most people arrive here via the international airport or on a bus from another Mexican city. It’s also a great place to rent a car in Mexico, as you’ll have more car rental options. We rented a car in Puerto Escondido, which was quite challenging. Before picking up your rental car, explore Oaxaca City by eating delicious Mexican food and catching up on some digital nomad work at Convivio.

There are also some fun nearby places you can take day trips to!

Monte Alban: This is one of Mexico’s most iconic archeological sites and offers magical views over the city.

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $39. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

The Tree of Tule: The Tree of Tule is the widest in the world and is located just 9 km outside of Oaxaca City.

Pueblos Mancomunados: Pueblos Mancomunados is more of a multi-day hiking adventure, so it’s better to go on an organized, guided tour. You can read more about it here. When you’re ready to leave Oaxaca, I suggest heading north and doing a big loop back to Oaxaca City. Please find a map below of locations on this Oaxaca Coast itinerary to see each location in relation to each other.

Day 3: San Juan Bautista Tuxtepec

More commonly referred to as Tuxtepec, San Juan Bautista Tuxtepec is located in the northern area of Oaxaca and is a beautiful place surrounded by the Papaloapan River. Tuxtepec was significant for the Aztecs and Spanish conquerors. It’s also the ideal starting point to enter the Chinantla and get in touch with nature. There’s a lot to do here, so give yourself plenty of time to immerse yourself fully.

Day 4: Tecotitlan del Valle

Next up on this Mexico road trip guide is Tecotitlan del Valle, located at the base of the Sierra Juarez Mountains. Tecotitlan de Valle is renowned for its artisan goods, from weaving to woodworking. This city is the best place in Oaxaca to shop for local products and learn about the traditions behind them.

Day 5: San Pablo Villa de Mitla

Commonly referred to as Mitla, people travel here to explore the archeological site, wander around the churches, shop at the craft markets, and, most importantly, eat all the different colored moles!

Days 6-7: Huatulco

It’s time to head south to the Oaxaca Coast to Huatulco Mexico, for beaches, waterfalls, and many hidden adventures. Spend time in Parque Eco-Arqueológico Copalita exploring the ruins and along the coast at Huatulco National Park. You can also take a day trip to the Copalitilla Waterfalls or relax in the beach town of La Crucecita.

Day 8: Mazunte

Oaxaca Road trip itinerary

Mazunte is an adorable Pueblo Magico with a great pizza restaurant and a lovely beach. We stayed at some accommodations high on a cliff with amazing views. We decided to leave early because of the rain, but I plan to return and stay there again.

Check out the Mazunte accommodations for your trips to Oaxaca.

Days 9-11: Puerto Escondido

Oaxaca Road trip itinerary

Give yourself at least three days in Puerto Escondido or more if you have time. The main activities here are exploring the beaches and surfing. Don’t expect decent WiFi here, or you will be disappointed. We stayed at Casa Daikiri and loved it!

Oaxaca Road trip itinerary

The location was great, with a pool and a decent kitchen, and the staff was super friendly. You may see lots of advertising for turtle releasing, but I would avoid this as I’m unsure how ethical it is. Do your research and decide what you’re comfortable with.

Day 12: Lagunas Manialtepec and de Chacahua

Lagunas Manialtepec is the place to see bioluminescence and a “frozen” waterfall! Meanwhile, Lagunas de Chacahua is off the beaten path but worth adding to your Oaxaca itinerary if you have time. The lakes here are stunning, and there’s also a traditional medicine center that I’m eager to visit.

Day 13: San Jose

Top Things to do in San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca

It’s time to leave the Oaxaca Coast and return to the mountains. San Jose del Pacifico is considered the mushroom capital of Mexico, and one or two nights is plenty of time.

Day 14: Santa Catarina Minas and Return to Oaxaca City

I’m sure you’ve been introduced to Mezcal during this Oaxaca itinerary, but how much do you know about the distilling process? Santa Catarina Minas is a great place to stop on your return to Oaxaca City to visit a small mezcal producer and learn all about it. You don’t need to spend the night here, as a few hours is plenty of time.

Oaxaca Road trip itinerary

And that’s it! You’ll end up back in Oaxaca City to return your rental car and hit up the fast WiFi at Convivio Coworking to upload your epic Oaxaca Coast pictures and catch up on emails.

Quick Tip: View my full Mexico packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Oaxaca Essentials shopping list here.

Wondering where to stay? Check out these options!
NaNa Vida Hotel Oaxaca
Pug Seal Oaxaca
Casa Antonieta

Oaxaca Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Oaxaca?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Oaxaca which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Oaxaca on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Oaxaca?

I strongly recommend using GottoGo. You can book almost all transport in the major Mexican tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Oaxaca?

First and foremost check out all of the amazing Oaxaca tours Where Sidewalks End has. They are a small local company and they have some really special experiences.

For everything else I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are Booking.comHotels.com, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

Oaxaca FAQs

Is it Safe to Drive From Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido?

The drive from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido is generally safe. Only drive during the day to have clear visibility to watch for pedestrians and animals.

Is Oaxaca Worth Visiting?

Yes, Oaxaca is a beautiful area of Mexico worth exploring on a road trip. Whether you’re a foodie, history buff, or art lover, Oaxaca has something for everyone.

When to Visit Oaxaca?

Spring and fall are the best times of year to visit Oaxaca. These are slower tourist seasons and offer warm, pleasant weather. Winter and summer are the rainy seasons in Oaxaca, so expect frequent thunderstorms.

Mexico Road Trip to Oaxaca Final Thoughts

The southern state of Oaxaca is a beautiful and diverse area of Mexico worth touring on a one or two-week-long road trip. From historic cities to beautiful beaches, Oaxaca has a little of everything. You’ll never run out of things to do on an Oaxaca road trip!

The Ultimate Oaxaca Road Trip (Oaxaca itinerary To Help You Plan)