There might be no more romanticized state in Mexico than Oaxaca. As home to 16 distinct Indigenous groups that both anchor and drive the culture, the state of Oaxaca is as varied, complex, and beautiful as the rich moles for which it is famed. The word itself seems to emit a perfume of chiles, wild herbs, chocolate, and smoke. It’s no wonder then, that Oaxaca has, over the last several years, become a must-hit destination for visitors from around the world — especially those who travel for food. Eater and its team of local experts have assembled the ultimate guide to getting the most out of this essential destination, outlining all the best things to eat and drink and where to find them, as well as ambitious itineraries, vital explainers, and spotlights on some of the unique aspects of Oaxacan gastronomy. It, like the place, is a lot to digest — but that’s what the mezcal is for.
Why everyone is so obsessed with Oaxaca
10,523 rural villages, 18 recognized ethnic groups, eight regions. Truth is, it’s more than one guide could ever contain, but here’s a start.
- What Makes Oaxacan Food Oaxacan?
- At This Mother-Son Restaurant, the Mole Is Never Truly Done
- The Ongoing Fight Over Who Owns ‘Mezcal’
- The Indigenous Farmers Preserving Mexico’s Native Corn
- The Bold, Spicy Power of Oaxaca’s Afromexican Cuisine
- No Matter Your Craving, In Oaxaca There’s a Drink for That
All your eating and drinking, planned
Bookmark these restaurants, bars, mezcalerías, street stalls, coffee shops, chocolaterias, tlayuda stands, and more for a feast that will last the entire trip.
- The 32 Essential Restaurants in Oaxaca
- Oaxacan Mezcal Is Astounding. Here’s Where to Drink It
- The Perfect 24-Hour Food Itinerary for Oaxaca
- A Street Food Guide to Oaxaca City
Why three days isn’t enough
The capital city of Oaxaca is an ideal long weekend destination, but for a true taste of the state, save plenty of time to get out of town.
- The Best Food-Focused Day Trips from Oaxaca City
- Where to Eat on the Long Road from Oaxaca City to the Coast
- Behold Oaxaca’s Most Unforgettable Seafood Restaurant
- Unwrapping Oaxaca’s Must-Try Tamales
- The 21 Essential Restaurants of Puerto Escondido
- The 27 Essential Restaurants in Huatulco