Exploring Oaxaca: A City Guide for Digital Nomads
Oaxaca City is a great place for digital nomads and expats alike. The city is full of vibrant culture, great food, and friendly people. The city has a rich history, and there are plenty of attractions to explore. With high-speed internet, plenty of cafes and coworking spaces, and a variety of accommodation options, it’s the perfect destination for digital nomads and expats looking for a safe and comfortable place to call home. Additionally, the city offers a wide range of activities, from exploring the city’s beautiful parks and museums to enjoying its shopping, restaurants, and nightlife. Whether you’re looking for a place to work or relax, Oaxaca City has something for everyone.
Best Places to Work Remotely in Oaxaca
Oaxaca, Mexico, is a beautiful and culturally rich city that can offer excellent options for working remotely. Here are some of the best places to work remotely in Oaxaca:
- Co-working spaces: Oaxaca has several co-working spaces that provide a productive environment for remote work. Examples include Impact Hub Oaxaca, Centro de Diseño Oaxaca, and La Co-Munal. These spaces typically offer amenities such as high-speed internet, comfortable workstations, meeting rooms, and a community of professionals.
- Cafés and coffee shops: Oaxaca has a vibrant café culture, and there are numerous cozy and welcoming coffee shops where you can work remotely. Some popular options include Boulenc, Café Brujula, and Café El Volador. These places often have Wi-Fi, power outlets, and a relaxed atmosphere conducive to work.
- Libraries: The Biblioteca Henestrosa is a renowned library in Oaxaca that provides a quiet and studious atmosphere for remote work. It offers free Wi-Fi and comfortable reading areas. Additionally, the Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca has libraries that are open to the public.
- Coworking-friendly hotels: Some hotels in Oaxaca offer coworking spaces or business centers, making them suitable for remote work. Casa Bonita Hotel Boutique & Spa and Hotel Parador San Agustín are examples of hotels with facilities catering to remote workers.
- Cultural centers: Oaxaca is known for its rich cultural heritage, and some cultural centers and museums offer spaces for remote work. For instance, the Centro Cultural San Pablo and the Museo Textil de Oaxaca provide tranquil environments where you can focus on your work while being surrounded by art and culture.
- Parks and outdoor spaces: Oaxaca is blessed with beautiful parks and plazas that can serve as refreshing locations for remote work. The Zócalo, or main square, and the Alameda de León are popular options. Just ensure that you have a reliable internet connection and appropriate precautions for working outdoors.
Remember to check the availability of Wi-Fi, power outlets, and other necessary facilities before choosing a place to work remotely in Oaxaca. Also, be considerate of local establishments and support them by purchasing food or drinks while using their spaces.
Culture and Food in Oaxaca
The culture of Oaxaca is a vibrant tapestry woven with indigenous traditions, artistic expression, and culinary excellence. It is a place where ancient customs and beliefs intertwine with modern influences, creating a unique and dynamic cultural landscape. Oaxaca is known for its rich artistic heritage, with skilled artisans producing intricate textiles, pottery, and traditional alebrijes. Festivals and celebrations are integral to Oaxacan culture, with vibrant music, dance, and colorful processions filling the streets throughout the year.
At the core of Oaxacan culture lies a deep connection to community and a strong sense of identity. Indigenous traditions and languages are proudly preserved, adding depth and authenticity to the cultural fabric. Oaxacans are known for their warm hospitality, embracing visitors with open arms and sharing their customs and traditions. The city of Oaxaca itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, testament to the significance of its cultural heritage. The people of Oaxaca take immense pride in their history, art, and culinary traditions, creating a captivating cultural experience that delights visitors and provides a rich tapestry for exploration and appreciation.
Oaxaca is renowned for its traditional cuisine, and you will discover the incredible flavors of the region in the numerous restaurants, taco stands, and markets throughout the city. Traditional dishes include tlayudas, which is a large, crisp tortilla topped with beans, lettuce, cheese, and pork, and mole, a spicy sauce usually served over chicken and rice. Oaxacan cuisine is rich in flavor and history, and the markets are a great place to sample the local specialties.
The markets also offer a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and spices, and are a great place to find ingredients for your own culinary creations. The city is also home to a vibrant street-food scene, with vendors selling an array of tacos, tamales, and other tasty treats. Whether you’re looking to sample the local specialties or create your own Oaxacan feast, you’ll find plenty of delicious options in Oaxaca.
Healthcare in Oaxaca
Healthcare in Oaxaca is plentiful, with a wide range of options for expats. Oaxaca has a number of hospitals and private clinics, including two of the best hospitals in Mexico: Hospital Ángeles Oaxaca and Hospital Oca. Both facilities provide excellent medical care to expats, and have English-speaking staff. Additionally, there are several pharmacies in the city that offer over-the-counter medications, and the nearby town of Tlacolula is home to many traditional healers who can offer alternative treatments.
Expats in Oaxaca also benefit from access to world-class medical tourism, with several clinics catering to those seeking medical care abroad. For those looking for more specialized care, Oaxaca has a number of specialized clinics, such as Oaxaca Osteopathic Clinic and Oaxaca Cardiology Center, that offer expert medical care.
Costs for healthcare in Oaxaca are generally more affordable compared to Western countries. For Instance, a doctor’s visit can range from $20 to $50, while basic health insurance coverage may cost around $50 to $100 per month. Having comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies during your stay is important.
Things to Do in Oaxaca
Oaxaca offers a wide range of activities and attractions that cater to diverse interests. Here are some popular things to do in Oaxaca:
- Explore Oaxaca City: Take a stroll through the charming streets of Oaxaca City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the grand Santo Domingo Church, explore the vibrant markets like Mercado Benito Juárez, and admire the colorful architecture and historic buildings.
- Visit Archaeological Sites: Discover the ancient civilizations of Oaxaca by visiting archaeological sites such as Monte Albán, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was once the capital of the Zapotec civilization. You can also explore other sites like Mitla, Yagul, and Dainzú, which offer fascinating insights into Oaxaca’s pre-Columbian history.
- Sample Oaxacan Cuisine: Indulge in the gastronomic delights of Oaxaca. Try traditional dishes like mole, tlayudas, and chapulines (roasted grasshoppers). Take a cooking class or visit local markets to learn about the ingredients and techniques that make Oaxacan cuisine unique. Don’t forget to pair your meals with a taste of mezcal, the region’s famous distilled spirit.
- Experience Art and Crafts: Oaxaca is renowned for its vibrant art scene and traditional crafts. Explore the studios of talented artisans, witness the intricate weaving process, and shop for textiles, pottery, and alebrijes. Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Textile Museum, or the Rufino Tamayo Museum to appreciate the rich artistic heritage of the region.
- Attend Festivals: Immerse yourself in the colorful festivities of Oaxaca by attending one of its many festivals. The Guelaguetza, Day of the Dead celebrations, Semana Santa processions, and the Night of the Radishes are just a few examples of the vibrant cultural events that showcase Oaxaca’s traditions, music, dance, and elaborate costumes.
- Explore Nature: Oaxaca’s natural beauty is awe-inspiring. Take a trip to Hierve el Agua, a unique petrified waterfall, or venture into the stunning Sierra Norte mountains for hiking, birdwatching, and ecotourism. Explore the breathtaking landscapes of the Oaxacan coastline, including places like Puerto Escondido and Mazunte, known for their beautiful beaches.
- Visit Indigenous Villages: Venture outside the city to visit indigenous communities and gain insight into their customs and way of life. Experience the traditional crafts, music, and rituals of villages like Teotitlán del Valle, San Bartolo Coyotepec, and Santo Tomás Jalieza.
These are just a few highlights of what Oaxaca has to offer. Whether you’re interested in history, art, food, nature, or cultural experiences, Oaxaca is sure to provide a rich and captivating journey.
Weather and Best Time to Go
The best time to visit Oaxaca is during the dry season, which typically runs from November to April. This period offers pleasant temperatures and minimal rainfall, ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the city. The weather in Oaxaca is generally mild and comfortable, with average temperatures ranging from 70°F (21°C) to 85°F (29°C). However, it’s worth noting that evenings can be cooler, so it’s advisable to pack layers to accommodate temperature variations.
Cost of Living in Oaxaca
Oaxaca is known for its affordability compared to many other tourist destinations in Mexico. The cost of living can vary depending on factors such as accommodation, dining choices, transportation, and lifestyle preferences. Here are some examples of typical costs in Oaxaca:
- Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city: Approximately 4,500 MXN to 8,500 MXN per month.
- Inexpensive restaurant meal: Approximately 60 MXN to 120 MXN.
- Mid-range restaurant meal for two: Approximately 300 MXN to 500 MXN.
- Street food or market snacks: Approximately 15 MXN to 40 MXN.
- Cup of coffee: Approximately 20 MXN to 35 MXN.
- Local beer (0.5L) in a restaurant: Approximately 30 MXN to 50 MXN.
- Dozen eggs: Approximately 30 MXN.
- Milk (1 liter): Approximately 20 MXN.
- Loaf of bread: Approximately 15 MXN.
- Rice (1kg): Approximately 20 MXN.
- Chicken (1kg): Approximately 60 MXN.
- Single journey on public transportation: Approximately 7 MXN.
- Taxi starting fare: Approximately 30 MXN.
- Monthly public transportation pass: Approximately 200 MXN.
- Movie ticket: Approximately 60 MXN to 90 MXN.
- Fitness club monthly membership: Approximately 400 MXN to 700 MXN.
- Entrance fee to museums or attractions: Approximately 50 MXN to 100 MXN.
It’s important to note that these are approximate costs and can vary based on factors such as location, inflation, and personal preferences. Additionally, exchange rates can affect the prices when converting to different currencies. It’s always recommended to research and consult up-to-date sources for accurate and current cost information before making financial decisions in Oaxaca.
The visa requirements for Mexico depend on your nationality and the length of your stay. Citizens of many countries, including the United States, Canada, and the European Union, can enter Mexico as tourists and stay for up to 180 days without a visa.
Mexico offers a digital nomads visa allowing internationals to work remotely (in non-mexican companies) for a period from 6 months to years.
To apply for the temporary resident visa for digital nomads in Mexico, you’ll need to visit a Mexican embassy or consulate outside of Mexico, preferably in your home country. Book an appointment in advance through the online reservation system. Once your appointment is confirmed, bring the required documents for your visa interview.
Required documents include a valid passport, completed visa application form, a color photograph, proof of legal stay in your current country (if applicable), and proof of income (around $2,600 per month).
The cost for the visa interview at the Mexico Consulate is a fixed fee of 40$ USD, typically paid in cash. To obtain the temporary resident permit card in Mexico, an additional fee of approximately (150$ – 350$) is required, depending on the visa duration. This fee should be paid at a bank before visiting the INM building. The visa and card usually need to be renewed annually, requiring the payment of renewal fees.