Getting from Mexico City to Oaxaca is very easy, and you won’t have trouble 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 you can 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 you can wander 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 To Get From Mexico City To Oaxaca
Getting To Oaxaca From Mexico City by Bus
Let’s tackle the big idea – how to travel from Mexico City to Oaxaca.
Since there is no train from Mexico City to Oaxaca, the most obvious way for most people to get between the two cities is by bus. Since Oaxaca is a state capital and Mexico City is a major hub, 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 ADO website. Although the site is in Spanish, the information is fairly easy to understand.
Traveling 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.
ADO Bus Prices
The current prices of ADO buses from Mexico City to Oaxaca are as follows:
CLASSIC ADO FIRST CLASS – MXN 822 ($48.11 USD)
ADO GOLD – MXN 1,002 ($58.64 USD)
ADO PLATINO – MXN 1,244 ($72.80 USD).
Occasionally there are special offers, and you can grab a seat for half of the usual price too. They also tend to offer discounts when you purchase tickets well in advance (two+ weeks prior to your trip).
There is also a selection of ADO subsidiaries, such as AU and OCC, which, although less luxurious, are the cheapest option in terms of buses.
ADO Bus Locations
Buses bound for Oaxaca usually leave from Mexico City’s TAPO (Terminal de Autobuses de Pasajeros de Oriente) terminal or Central Mexico North (Terminal Central de Autobuses del Norte).
You can get to Mexico City’s TAPO by Metro lines 1 and B. You will have to get off at San Lazaro. It’s about 4 km (2.5 miles) from Mexico City’s historic center.
You can get to Terminal del Norte with the Z1 bus route that goes directly to Terminal Norte. It’s about 7 km (4.3 miles) from Mexico City’s historic center.
Once you’re on the bus to Oaxaca, it’ll whisk you along the toll highway all the way to Oaxaca. It takes around 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.
How much are flights from Mexico City to Oaxaca?
In terms of cost, you can actually find some very good deals for flights to Oaxaca from Mexico City. The lowest I’ve seen for a one-way flight is around USD $35. All you have to do is shop around online for a good price.
A flight is around twice the price of a first-class ADO bus, but then again, it’s a much faster option. So if time is of the essence, or you just don’t feel like sitting on a bus for half a day (or night), 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 can cost you up to $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 are 10 of you, the price definitely starts to come down.
Although this is one of the most expensive ways to travel from Mexico City to Oaxaca, it is super convenient and allows you to enjoy the beautiful Mexico City to Oaxaca drive.
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.
Getting from Mexico City to Oaxaca by Rental Car
You may be wondering, is it safe to drive from Mexico City to Oaxaca?
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 to go.
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: first, most likely you’ll get a better deal, and second, you won’t be disappointed in your choice of car.
To check out the prices of car rentals in Mexico, click here.
Rental Car to Oaxaca: The Details
Rental cars in Mexico City can cost as low as $12 USD per day, depending on the length of your trip and your preferences. That is a particularly low price for a week or more rental. You can expect other add-ons, such as insurance, as well as factoring in the cost of fuel. Then there are price hikes with increased demand (high season, spring break, etc.).
If you’re concerned about driving in Mexico, don’t worry: there are 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 MXN 600, or $35 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.
What is the best way to get from Mexico City to Oaxaca?
If you’re on a budget, the best way to get from Mexico City to Oaxaca is usually by bus. If you plan and book in advance, you may be able to get an ADO bus ticket for around $20 USD.
If you’re on a tighter timetable, the best way to get from Mexico City to Oaxaca is by plane. The flight itself is only around one hour, and you’ll just have to factor in travel and airport time.
If you’re looking for more of an adventure, the best way to get from Mexico City to Oaxaca is with a rental car. This allows you more freedom during your trip, and you can make several stops along the way.
Unfortunately, there is no Mexico City to Oaxaca train, but you can still enjoy the beautiful scenery by bus or car.
Where is the 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) or the Terminal Central de Autobuses del Norte.
TAPO is 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 MXN 6 (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.
Terminal Norte (Terminal Central de Autobuses Norte) is located 4 km north of the city center. You can take the bus directly to Terminal Central de Autobuses Norte, which costs MXN 8 ($0.50).
Where is the 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, depending on traffic. 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 the Oaxaca bus station to the city center is between MXN 60 to MXN 80 (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 MXN 390 ($22.76 USD)
COLECTIVO – A shared transfer, or colectivo in Spanish, will take you to any destination in downtown Oaxaca. Prices start at MXN 100 ($5.84 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 the 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 $10 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.
With buses, there’s not just one flat fare. There are multiple options depending on how comfortable you want to be and when you book it.
Since it’s a seven-hour-ish journey, you may want to splash out a little bit. In general, you’ll be looking to pay a minimum of $48 USD for a bus ride between Mexico City and Oaxaca. Unless you book well in advance and find the special promotions, then you can find tickets for around $20 USD if you’re lucky.
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).