Is Oaxaca Safe? What You Should Know As a Solo Traveler

March 1, 2022

This put up was written by Emily Becker, who’s a Mexico-based freelance creator for BMTM.

Oaxaca is a state in southern Mexico that has a beautiful standing for being one of many important culturally vibrant places throughout the nation. The state is mountainous, with a rugged shoreline that gives choice to sandy seashores and quintessential surf cities. The capital, Oaxaca de Juárez (or Oaxaca Metropolis), is a bustling place, bursting with coloration. It’s the gastronomic capital of Mexico — and for good motive.

That said, the question in your ideas as a traveler is likely to be: Is Oaxaca safe? As a solo female traveler who has visited the city of Oaxaca a handful of cases, I’m proper right here to cope with your largest safety concerns with the following advice:

1. Choose Your Lodging Appropriately

Santo Domingo Church is a central degree throughout the metropolis; there are an entire lot of lodging shut by.

My largest piece of advice for staying safe in Oaxaca Metropolis is choosing lodging which is likely to be throughout the Centro, Xochimilco, Reforma, or Jalatlaco neighborhoods. The first time I visited, I stayed throughout the Centro, and although I felt safe, it’s a loud place to stay.

Should you want to hold central nonetheless in a quiet and safe neighborhood, go for Xochimilco or Jalatlaco. Every of these areas are well-known for his or her impeccable street paintings scenes, so that you simply’ll want to go to them anyway. I stayed throughout the Xochimilco neighborhood the ultimate time I was in Oaxaca and utterly favored the quaint streets, vibrant murals, and family setting.

Reforma may also be a safe neighborhood, nevertheless it certainly’s a bit extra out. It takes a couple of 20-minute stroll to get to the Centro from Reforma, counting on what end of the neighborhood you’re in.

2. Be Cautious of Taxis

The first time I visited Oaxaca on the end of 2019, I was shocked by how quite a bit the taxi drivers harassed my buddy and me. To be reliable, I may not have actually useful taking an on a regular basis taxi in Oaxaca must you had requested me then.

Nonetheless, the city has cracked down big-time on harassment, and an rising variety of girls are coming forward to denounce their aggressors. I can’t make sure if these two points are associated, nonetheless I noticed a shift this remaining time I visited Oaxaca. I wasn’t harassed the least bit — not on the road or in taxis. Maybe that’s distinctive to my experience, nonetheless I’d want to hope that points are altering.

An efficient method to verify your safety whereas taking taxis in Oaxaca is to take quick images of the license plate and taxi amount sooner than you get in. Make this obvious — when the driving pressure sees your vigilance, they’re going to be further liable to be on their best conduct.

In case you nonetheless actually really feel unsure about taxis in Oaxaca, keep in mind trying DiDi. It’s like Uber and allows you to file a criticism in case your driver makes you are feeling unsafe.

3. A Little Mezcal Goes a Prolonged Means

Oaxaca is known globally for its mezcal, and there are numerous places to try it. Since so many people flock to Oaxaca to take motion, it’s no shock that there’s a dense social gathering custom proper right here. Any given day, you would discover mezcalerías, bars, and golf tools full of people consuming and partying.

In case you’ve tried mezcal, that it’s pretty strong. In case you haven’t, correctly, I’ll stop from a nasty hangover by breaking the knowledge.

I’ve always had fun in Oaxaca, dancing and socializing whereas sipping mezcal, nevertheless it certainly’s not at all an excellent suggestion to binge-drink in a abroad place.

Maybe I sound like a broken file, nonetheless be careful how quite a bit you drink everytime you journey. Letting your guard down an extreme quantity of can put you in peril — and no social gathering is value shedding administration.

Should you want to try the utterly differing types of mezcal in a further low-key ambiance, go for a daytime mezcal tasting. Many excursions provide them as a part of the tour, like this one.

4. Eat Avenue Meals Appropriately

what to do in oaxaca

Oaxaca is street meals heaven. From tlayudas to mole and the whole thing in between, you’ll spend your complete journey consuming nothing nonetheless street meals and be completely pleased with the variability you’ll uncover.

Not all street meals stands are created equally in relation to hygiene, nonetheless. Significantly in case your stomach is not going to be used to the spices utilized in Mexican cooking, you might find yourself wishing you hadn’t gone for that second splash of salsa verde in your roadside tacos.

To have the best likelihood of avoiding any tummy troubles whereas having enjoyable with Oaxaca’s unbelievable street fare, seek for the stands the place there are prolonged strains of people able to order. Chances are, locals gained’t be lining up someplace that has a standing for being unhygienic.

One different tip is to eat contained out there. Mercado 20 de Noviembre is full of small stalls, and plenty of of them are native favorites, the place you’ll uncover quite a few of us having enjoyable with a meal. These stalls are usually cleaner than these on the street, as a result of the market has the following regular of hygiene.

I prefer to advocate taking a lap throughout the market or the street meals stalls near the Zócalo spherical lunchtime, say 2 or 3pm. See which place is the popular, and return spherical 4 or 5pm, when there are fewer patrons.

5. Costume Down

Oaxaca is certainly not the place to flaunt any flashy jewelry or designer garments that may make you a aim for petty crime. Considering that the majority people — locals and vacationers alike — robe pretty casually, one thing too glamorous would make you stick out like a sore thumb.

6. Examine Some Elementary Spanish

Usually I uncover that people from Mexico are shocked that I converse Spanish fluently, which makes me chuckle barely bit. Speaking the language has opened many doorways for me and allowed me to make mates merely, even after I used to be a beginner.

For some of us, it might be daunting to sort out learning a model new language. You don’t needs to be fluent to stay safe in Oaxaca, nevertheless it certainly sure helps to know on the very least barely little little bit of Spanish.

In case you may grasp major greetings and key phrases, you’re off to a tremendous start. Being able to ask for help must you need it, inform a taxi driver to stop, or let a waitress find out about your meals allergy are all important points to have the flexibility to categorical in Spanish.

7. Stick with the Centro at Evening time

Strolling spherical alone at night anyplace isn’t a tremendous thought, however when you are going to do it in Oaxaca, stick with the Centro. It’s well-lit, there are numerous of us, and likewise you’ll uncover pedestrian-only streets which is likely to be safer to walk alongside.

I noticed that a couple of of the streets outside of the Centro have been darkish, with sudden alleys and complete not probably the most safe vibe. When uncertain, merely take a DiDi automotive, or avoid going anyplace you’re not conscious of at night, significantly if it’s outside the city coronary heart.

8. Mo’ Money, Mo’ Points

It’s not at all an excellent suggestion to walk spherical with copious portions of cash whereas touring, and Oaxaca is not any utterly totally different. Nonetheless, ATM prices shall be method too extreme to consider taking out small portions further ceaselessly. To get spherical this, take out what you need throughout the morning at a monetary establishment’s ATM (avoid ATMs throughout the huge markets or on the street), then take a DiDi to your lodging and lock your cash in a safe. Solely maintain what you need everytime you depart your room.

Even must you solely take small portions of cash with you everytime you exit, keep in mind dispersing it between your pockets, purse, bra, and lots of others. That method, in case you’re robbed or pickpocketed, the thief gained’t take the whole thing you should have. Some vacationers advocate having a dummy pockets with a bit of cash and expired taking part in playing cards at hand over.

9. “No, Gracias”

This one is far much less about your safety and further regarding the safety of others.

You might uncover numerous folks throughout the metropolis coronary heart asking for change. Usually you’ll see youngsters selling gadgets as correctly. Even after dwelling in Mexico for over two years, I’m nonetheless unsure what my cash may be supporting if I’ve been to buy from these youngsters or give change to of us on the street. Some reports advocate that contributing to this informal market is analogous as contributing to baby trafficking, and that’s enough for me to avoid it altogether.

I do know that is is a flowery problem, and I don’t declare to have all the options, so use your private judgment on this one. I always merely smile and say “no, gracias” to the kids, after which they go on their method.

10. Vet Any Tour Corporations

Hierve El Agua (petrified waterfalls) is solely about two hours away from Oaxaca de Juárez.

As you stroll by way of the Zócalo in Oaxaca’s metropolis coronary heart, you’ll see an excessive amount of of us promoting excursions to shut by web sites. Loads of these are prime quality, nonetheless to say that they’re all utterly safe or value your money is usually a stretch. Some tour corporations don’t always observe safety protocols and do a sloppy job of giving vacationers appropriate particulars in regards to the web sites.

It’s best to solely avoid the hawkers altogether in Oaxaca, and go for a tour from GetYourGuide or Viator as a substitute. I’ve even executed Airbnb Experiences proper right here and had a wonderful (and safe) time.

11. Get a Mexican SIM Card

I don’t suppose that many people discover how low price it is to pick out up a SIM card and use it whereas they’re in Mexico. A SIM from Telcel (a very powerful provider in Mexico) costs 150 pesos ($7.50 USD), and you will merely pay as you go, loading info onto your SIM using your credit score rating or debit card.

Having a SIM card shall be an efficient option to stay safe, because you’ll have the peace of ideas of being able to affix at any time. You’ll have the flexibility to entry maps must you get misplaced, use a translator app to talk greater, and make a reputation must you’re in danger.

Some US phone corporations allow their clients a certain quantity of information per day whereas in Mexico, so ask yours sooner than you head to Oaxaca to see if getting a SIM card is even essential.

12. Touring Solo as a Woman in Oaxaca

Zipolite (a nude seashore in Oaxaca) was the place I felt most safe as a solo female traveler.

My first experience touring in Oaxaca was very utterly totally different from individuals who adopted. I don’t have a clear rationalization as to why, nonetheless possibly I’ve merely turn into greater at touring alone and now know the best option to avoid scams, meals poisoning, and complete hazard.

The first time I went to Oaxaca, I was adopted and catcalled twice. On prime of that, a couple of taxi drivers made very inappropriate suggestions to me that made me actually really feel unsafe.

To be reliable, I was hesitant to solo journey proper right here as soon as extra. Nevertheless since I had organized to fulfill a buddy in Oaxaca in January of 2022, I decided to face my concern and spend just some days alone proper right here sooner than she joined me. This time was utterly utterly totally different. Not a single taxi driver harassed me, for which I felt an infinite sigh of discount. I moreover noticed a lot much less street harassment, although I was there longer and was out and about further this time spherical.

Is that this to say that Oaxaca is safer now? Unlikely. I acknowledge that my feeling safer this remaining time I went to Oaxaca might be due to likelihood. Possibly two further years of dwelling in Mexico has moreover made it easier for me to combine in?

In any case, I nonetheless suppose Oaxaca is totally value visiting as a solo female traveler. Nevertheless it’s significantly important for us to be vigilant, to plan our journey fastidiously, and avoid dangers like rip-off artists and males who prey on drunk abroad girls in bars (positive, they exist).

Try to do as quite a bit as you probably can all through daytime, avoid consuming an extreme quantity of, and guarantee your phone is working order in case of emergencies. In no way interact with catcallers they often’ll depart you alone.


Complete, Oaxaca takes the cake as one of many important thrilling places to go to in Mexico. In case you keep in mind these safety ideas, you’ll be a bit sharper and ready to make safer selections everytime you go to Oaxaca de Juárez or the coast, allowing you to have an unbelievable experience.

Contemplating of heading to Oaxaca? Attempt our guides to Oaxaca City, Puerto Escondido, and Zipolite!

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