Take A Trip To Mexico And Visit The World's Top Ranked City

Contrary to popular belief, Mexico isn't just Cancun, Tulum, and Mexico City. There's much more to the world's 14th largest country, and one of its cities is frequently ranked one of the world's best. And, no, it's not located on the Caribbean side or Yucatan. Instead, it's a city you might have never heard of, or perhaps only associate it with a popular type of Mexican cheese.

Oaxaca de Juarez, more commonly referred to as just "Oaxaca," is in the Mexican state of Oaxaca (it can get confusing, but here, when we say Oaxaca, we are referring to the city). The city is filled with luxury and boutique hotels, as well as old-school colorful Airbnbs, not to mention world-class cuisine that can be found both in fine-dining establishments as well as in street stalls. Oaxaca is a culturally rich destination that has something for every type of traveler. Underrated and frequently overlooked for resorts in Los Cabos or the admittedly impressive food scene in Mexico City, there's a reason the travelers who choose Oaxaca continuously rank it among the world's best.

What to do in Oaxaca

If you're planning to visit Oaxaca, or even thinking about it, here's what you'll want to do. The top attraction in Oaxaca is Zona Arqueologica de Monte Alban, a large archaeological center containing several ruins. The Temple of Santo Domingo de Guzman is another worthy site to see in Oaxaca. Inside, there are 24 paintings of saints, as well as an oil painting of the Virgin Mary giving a rosary to Saint Dominic.

Mezcal is a huge draw in Oaxaca, as the destination is home to hundreds of species of agave, providing a more complex taste for the spirit. For the best mezcal tastings, head to a tasting room such as La Popular or La Mezcalerita

Located only 1.5 hours from Oaxaca city center is Hierve el Agua, a nature preserve best known for its travertine rock formations and milky blue waters. A visit to Hierve el Agua is one of the most popular day tours from Oaxaca.

Logistics of planning your trip

Oaxaca can be visited year round, but the best times to go for prime weather are from October to April for dry season. To further that statement, if you plan a trip from late January to early March, you'll also be treated to low humidity and weather that's hot, but not unpleasant.

There are direct flights to Oaxaca (OAX) from Los Angeles (LAX), Houston (IAH), and Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW). There are also several flights to Oaxaca within Mexico, from Cancun (CUN), Mexico City (MEX), Guadalajara (GDL), Mérida (MID), and several others.  

While you could easily spend weeks in Oaxaca to properly explore all it has to offer, as little as three days is enough to get a feel for its enticing culinary scene and historical sites. Similarly to the rest of Mexico, the U.S. dollar goes far, meaning a trip to Oaxaca won't necessarily break the bank. According to data collected by Budget Your Trip, an average trip for one person costs about $46/day. 

Hotel Fortín Plaza is a fantastic four-star hotel with rooms as low as $53/night. For a boutique hotel, try Caso Santo Origen. If you want a hostel experience, go for Casa Angel Hostel.