Getting from Mexico City to Oaxaca is very easy and you won’t have troubles finding a suitable way, regardless of your budget or favorite means of transport.
Oaxaca is one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico. A great example of colonial style architecture, the city is packed with nice plazas, beautiful churches, markets that are fun to explore and lots of fantastic restaurants where to try Mexican cuisine and local delicacies (think chapulines – fried grasshoppers). Not far from the city, you will find a selection of unique archeological sites such as Mitla and Monte Alban, and smaller villages where it is to wonder around. This really is a place worth including in your Mexico itinerary.
Depending on how much time you have in Mexico, you can decide to actually drive the very scenic route from Mexico City to Oaxaca, or to fly there. If you are still not sure how to do it, continue reading – I have done the trip a few times myself and can tell you what to expect!
4 Best Ways Of Getting From Mexico City To Oaxaca
Getting To Oaxaca From Mexico City by Bus
The most obvious way, for most people, to get between Mexico City and Oaxaca is to take the bus. Since Oaxaca is a state capital there are multiple buses running the route per day, operated by various companies. There’s a lot to choose from.
You can check the timetable of buses traveling from Mexico City to Oaxaca on the website of ADO. Although the site is in Spanish, the information is fairly easy to understand.
Travel by bus is convenient and cheap, making it a great budget option. Not only that, but you’ll be happy to know that Mexico’s largest bus company, ADO, has both a first class and deluxe bus service that runs to Oaxaca from Mexico City, and even a platinum service if you want a super comfortable trip.
ADO Platino is a super swish service. These buses come equipped with Wi-Fi, free snacks, comfy seats, and your very own screen to watch stuff.
The prices of ADO buses are as follow:
CLASSIC ADO FIRST CLASS – MXN706 ($35.50 USD)
ADO GOLD – MXN870 ($43.70 USD)
ADO PLATINO – MXN1092 ($54.85 USD).
Occasionally there are special offers and you can grab a seat for half of the usual price too.
There is also a selection of ADO subsidiaries such as AU, which although less luxurious, are the cheapest option in terms of buses.
To book your AU economy bus ride, click here.
To book your ADO regular first class bus ride, click here.
To book your ADO Platino bus ride, click here.
Buses bound for Oaxaca usually leave from Mexico City’s TAPO (Terminal de Autobuses de Pasajeros de Oriente) terminal. You can get there by Metro lines 1 and B. You will have to get off at San Lazaro.
Once you’re on the bus, it’ll whisk you along the toll highway all the way to Oaxaca; it takes around six to seven hours, but this time can really vary depending on which company you choose and on traffic leaving Mexico City. On the flip-side, the landscape on the way is truly stunning, with giant cactus trees dotting the beautiful mountains.
Flying from Mexico City to Oaxaca
If you’re really strapped for time, then you can consider taking a flight from Mexico City to Oaxaca. It’s fairly convenient, thanks in part to both cities’ airports being well connected to each respective city center.
That’s without even mentioning how speedy this transport option is. Flying between Oaxaca and Mexico City takes just one hour.
One thing to note though, is that Mexico City’s airport can be quite hectic (as in, very busy). Because of this, you should allow ample time to catch your flight – especially if you’re touching down in Mexico City from elsewhere and this is a connecting flight.
In terms of cost, you can actually find some very good deals for flights to Oaxaca from Mexico City. The lowest I’ve seen is around USD $60; all you have to do is shop around online for a good price. This is around twice the price of a first class ADO bus, but then again they do take about seven hours to arrive. So if time is of the essence, or you just don’t feel like sitting on a bus for half a day, then catching a flight makes sense.
Check out the prices of flights to Oaxaca from Mexico City here.
Getting To Oaxaca from Mexico City by Private Transfer
If you want to travel by road, but you don’t want to go through the hassle of catching a bus, then you always have the option of taking a private transfer.
Having a private transfer means you can travel without worrying about bus times, losing your luggage, or even finding the bus station to begin with. And not having to share your space with anybody else, especially on such a long trip, can be a welcome thing (especially after a long flight).
But with that convenience comes a price tag. It will cost you around $400 USD for a sedan. For a larger car, you’ll be looking at upwards of $700. It could end up being quite good value though, if you decide to split the cost between you and a group of friends. Say there’s 10 of you, the price definitely starts to come down.
Although this is one of the most expensive ways to get from Mexico City to Oaxaca, it is super convenient. A flight may win in terms of time, but a private transfer will pick you up from wherever you are located in Mexico City, and take you all the way to the doorstep of your accommodation in Oaxaca. No waiting in line, no airport hassle, and more time to enjoy your vacation.
For more information about private transfers to Oaxaca from Mexico City, click here.
Getting from Mexico City to Oaxaca by Rental Car
Driving between Oaxaca and Mexico City is fairly straightforward. So if you want to travel at your own pace, and you like the sound of a road trip, then renting your own set of wheels is the way forward.
There are literally so many rental car companies to be found in Mexico City – especially at the airport. While you can just rock up and start working out deals with staff behind the counter of whichever rent-a-car company takes your fancy, it’s probably best to book online in advance of your arrival. That’s mainly for two reasons: firstly, most likely you’ll get a better deal, and secondly, you won’t be disappointed in your choice of car.
To check out the prices of car rental in Mexico, click here.
Rental cars in Mexico City can cost as low as $10 USD per day. That is a particularly low price – expect other add-ons, such as insurance, as well as factoring the cost of fuel. Then there’s price hikes with increased demand (high season, spring break, etc.).
If you’re concerned about driving in Mexico, don’t worry: there’s not too many safety issues to think about. The toll road between Mexico City and Oaxaca is safe, well maintained and signposted. It’s pretty much smooth sailing the whole way.
The drive itself takes 5.5 hours; and you also need to factor in paying for the tolls (around MXN500, or $25 USD).
Unless you really like the sound of a road trip, and you want to stop off along the way and make a real journey of it, the bus is probably more cost effective. Tolls alone cost more than a bus ticket.
Make sure to read my post A Guide To Renting A Car In Mexico.
The Best Way to Get from Mexico City to Oaxaca – FAQ
What is the distance from Mexico City to Oaxaca?
Oaxaca is the state capital of… Oaxaca. And though it’s quite far from the Mexican capital, it’s still an easy journey to make in one day. You’ll find it situated around 462 km (287 miles) to the south of Mexico City. But depending on the mode of transport you take, be prepared to set aside a whole day for travel between these two cities.
Where is Mexico City bus station?
Mexico City has a total of four bus stations (being the Mexican capital and all), but to get between it and Oaxaca, you’ll usually be taking the bus from the TAPO (Terminal de Autobuses de Oriente).
Located between the city center and Benito Juarez International Airport to the east of Mexico City, it’s quite convenient to reach and well connected by the city’s comprehensive network of public transport. You can get there from the city center by taking Metro Line 1 or Metrobus Line 4; this journey costs MXN6 (that’s $0.30 USD), making it super affordable. Make sure to get off at San Lazaro Station.
To get to Mexico City’s TAPO bus station from the airport, take Metro Line 4. Alternatively you could get a taxi to the TAPO bus station from either the city center or the airport, which might be a good idea if it’s busy or you’ve got heavy luggage.
Where is Oaxaca bus station?
Once you’ve made the journey from Mexico City on a bus, the likelihood is that you’ll be rocking up at the city’s main bus station: Central de Autobuses de Oaxaca. This is situated to the northeast of the center of Oaxaca, specifically in the neighborhood of Jalatlaco.
If you travel with AU, however, these will take you to Terminal Periferico, situated in the west of the city.
How do I get from Oaxaca bus station to the city center?
From the Central de Autobuses de Oaxaca
From the Central de Autobuses de Oaxaca, you can get to the city center in about 15 to 30 minutes. Here are the available options:
TAXI – This is the most convenient way to do this is to take a taxi. There’s an authorized taxi stand in front of the terminal entrance, so you won’t have to flag down a cab on the street or walk far to find one. The cost of a taxi ride from Oaxaca bus station to the city center is between MXN60 to MXN80 (between $3 and $4 USD).
WALK – Alternatively, there’s also the option to walk. It takes about half an hour to walk from the bus terminal to the Zocalo (main plaza) in the center of Oaxaca. This could be a good option for you if you are on a shoestring, or if you just plain like walking. But if you’re not traveling light, it probably won’t be a fun walk.
From the Terminal Periferico
If you are traveling by AU bus, you will be arriving at the Terminal Periferico. This is situated on the other side of the city as opposed to the main bus terminal, but it is actually much more convenient. To get to the center from there, you have these options:
TAXI – The drive from Terminal Periferico to Oaxaca center is only five minutes. You’ll also find an authorized taxi stand just outside the terminal.
WALK – The proximity of this bus station also means that walking is even more of a valid option from this particular bus station (it takes around 20 minutes on foot).
How do I get from Oaxaca airport to the city center?
Oaxaca’s Xoxocotlán International Airport is located 12 km (7.4 miles) north of Oaxaca city center. It will take around 25 minutes by car to get between the two, and you have 3 options to pick from.
TAXI – These are easy to find. In fact, as you exit the airport arrivals you will spot a counter to your left. Here is where you can buy a pre-paid ticket for a cab. Depending on your destination in the city, these cost up to MXN350 ($17.50 USD).
COLECTIVO – A shared transfer, or colectivo in Spanish, will take you to any destination in downtown Oaxaca. Prices start at MXN90 ($4.50 USD) if you get it locally, but you may have to pay more if you’ve got lots of luggage. Note that it will cost more if you want to go anywhere other than this particular part of the city. It takes longer than a taxi (because of all the stops along the way), but for price alone, you may want to consider this option.
SHARED TRANSFER – Finally, you have the option of booking a shared transfer online. This costs around $13 USD. You can book it here.
At the moment, Uber and other ride sharing platforms are available anywhere in Oaxaca, and there isn’t a public bus that connects the airport to the city.
What is the cheapest way to get from Mexico City to Oaxaca?
For those of you who are watching your pennies on your trip to Oaxaca, you’ll want to know the cheapest mode of transport to get there in the first place. As with most travel in Mexico, the most budget-friendly option is to take the bus.
Wth buses there’s not just one flat fare. There are multiple options depending on how comfortable you want to be. Since it’s a seven hour-ish journey, you may want to splash out a little bit. In general, however, you’ll be looking to pay a minimum of $30 USD for a bus ride between Mexico City and Oaxaca.
But if you’re not spending time in Mexico City at all, and you’re arriving by plane, it’s a good idea to take a look online to see the price of a flight from here to Oaxaca on your travel dates. This could actually work out being the cheapest option, but prices vary and change.
Whatever mode of transport you decide to take, one thing is for sure: book ahead. You can book ADO buses online, which is a particularly good idea if your travel dates coincide with a local holiday (which you may not necessarily know about if you go to buy a ticket on the day).