This publish was penned by Emily Becker, who is a Mexico-based mostly freelance author for BMTM.
Oaxaca is a state in southern Mexico that has a superb name for remaining one of the most culturally lively areas in the place. The state is mountainous, with a rugged coastline that gives way to sandy seashores and quintessential surf cities. The funds, Oaxaca de Juárez (or Oaxaca City), is a bustling place, bursting with colour. It’s the gastronomic funds of Mexico — and for good rationale.
That mentioned, the problem on your head as a traveler is in all probability: Is Oaxaca harmless? As a solo feminine traveler who has frequented the metropolis of Oaxaca a handful of moments, I’m listed here to address your major basic safety problems with these ideas:
1. Select Your Lodging Properly
My most important piece of tips for remaining secure in Oaxaca City is deciding upon accommodations that are in the Centro, Xochimilco, Reforma, or Jalatlaco neighborhoods. The initially time I visited, I stayed in the Centro, and whilst I felt risk-free, it’s a noisy area to stay.
If you want to stay central but in a tranquil and secure community, opt for Xochimilco or Jalatlaco. Both of these locations are renowned for their impeccable street art scenes, so you’ll want to visit them anyway. I stayed in the Xochimilco community the last time I was in Oaxaca and definitely liked the quaint streets, vibrant murals, and relatives ambiance.
Reforma is also a protected neighborhood, but it’s a bit more out. It usually takes about a 20-minute wander to get to the Centro from Reforma, dependent on what finish of the neighborhood you’re in.
2. Be Cautious of Taxis
The initially time I visited Oaxaca at the conclusion of 2019, I was stunned by how considerably the taxi drivers harassed my mate and me. To be truthful, I would not have recommended taking a normal taxi in Oaxaca if you had asked me then.
However, the city has cracked down huge-time on harassment, and far more and much more gals are coming ahead to denounce their aggressors. I cannot be specified if these two points are connected, but I found a change this final time I frequented Oaxaca. I was not harassed at all — not in the road or in taxis. It’s possible this is exceptional to my encounter, but I’d like to hope that items are shifting.
A good way to guarantee your security whilst getting taxis in Oaxaca is to take swift images of the license plate and taxi amount in advance of you get in. Make this noticeable — when the driver sees your vigilance, they will be extra possible to be on their best actions.
If you continue to sense not sure about taxis in Oaxaca, take into account striving DiDi. It is like Uber and enables you to file a criticism if your driver helps make you experience unsafe.
3. A Minimal Mezcal Goes a Very long Way
Oaxaca is known globally for its mezcal, and there are a lot of spots to test it. Given that so quite a few people flock to Oaxaca to do so, it’s no surprise that there is a dense celebration lifestyle right here. Any presented day, you can obtain mezcalerías, bars, and clubs total of individuals ingesting and partying.
If you have tried using mezcal, you know that it’s very strong. If you haven’t, effectively, I’ll save you from a terrible hangover by breaking the information.
I have often had a good time in Oaxaca, dancing and socializing whilst sipping mezcal, but it’s by no means a superior notion to binge-drink in a international area.
Probably I audio like a broken history, but be thorough how much you consume when you travel. Letting your guard down also much can set you at threat — and no party is worth getting rid of regulate.
If you want to try out the distinct types of mezcal in a extra minimal-critical setting, decide for a daytime mezcal tasting. Many excursions offer you them as a component of the excursion, like this a person.
4. Try to eat Street Foods Correctly
Oaxaca is street meals heaven. From tlayudas to mole and all the things in amongst, you could commit your full excursion taking in absolutely nothing but street foods and be totally content with the selection you will discover.
Not all street foods stands are established similarly when it arrives to hygiene, nevertheless. In particular if your abdomen is not made use of to the spices employed in Mexican cooking, you may well discover on your own wishing you hadn’t long gone for that second splash of salsa verde on your roadside tacos.
To have the greatest chance of keeping away from any tummy problems while having fun with Oaxaca’s outstanding avenue fare, seem for the stands the place there are very long traces of men and women ready to buy. Odds are, locals won’t be lining up somewhere that has a popularity for remaining unhygienic.
A different tip is to take in inside the industry. Mercado 20 de Noviembre is comprehensive of small stalls, and several of them are nearby favorites, where by you will find a lot of individuals experiencing a meal. These stalls are commonly cleaner than the kinds on the street, as the sector has a higher standard of cleanliness.
I advise getting a lap all-around the market or the street food stuff stalls in the vicinity of the Zócalo all around lunchtime, say 2 or 3pm. See which put is the most common, and go again close to 4 or 5pm, when there are much less patrons.
5. Dress Down
Oaxaca is definitely not the spot to flaunt any flashy jewellery or designer garments that could make you a focus on for petty criminal offense. Thinking about that most people — locals and travellers alike — gown very casually, anything at all as well glamorous would make you adhere out like a sore thumb.
6. Find out Some Basic Spanish
At times I come across that individuals from Mexico are shocked that I speak Spanish fluently, which helps make me chuckle a tiny bit. Speaking the language has opened numerous doors for me and allowed me to make friends simply, even when I was a newbie.
For some individuals, it can be challenging to take on discovering a new language. You really do not have to be fluent to remain risk-free in Oaxaca, but it sure helps to know at minimum a tiny little bit of Spanish.
If you can master primary greetings and key phrases, you’re off to a terrific start off. Being equipped to check with for help if you want it, notify a taxi driver to stop, or enable a waitress know about your food allergy are all important points to be ready to convey in Spanish.
7. Stick to the Centro at Night time
Going for walks all around by itself at evening anyplace isn’t a terrific concept, but if you are going to do it in Oaxaca, stick to the Centro. It’s properly-lit, there are lots of people today, and you are going to obtain pedestrian-only streets that are safer to stroll together.
I observed that some of the streets outside of the Centro were being dark, with unforeseen alleys and overall not the safest vibe. When in doubt, just choose a DiDi motor vehicle, or avoid going everywhere you’re not acquainted with at evening, specially if it’s outside the metropolis center.
8. Mo’ Revenue, Mo’ Challenges
It’s under no circumstances a fantastic notion to walk close to with copious quantities of hard cash when touring, and Oaxaca is no unique. On the other hand, ATM service fees can be way also large to consider having out small amounts additional regularly. To get all around this, get out what you require in the morning at a bank’s ATM (avoid ATMs in the significant marketplaces or on the avenue), then acquire a DiDi to your accommodation and lock your income in a safe. Only hold what you need to have when you leave your room.
Even if you only acquire compact amounts of funds with you when you go out, take into account dispersing it concerning your wallet, purse, bra, etc. That way, if you are robbed or pickpocketed, the thief won’t take every thing you have. Some tourists propose owning a dummy wallet with a little bit of funds and expired cards to hand above.
9. “No, Gracias”
This one particular is fewer about your basic safety and additional about the security of other folks.
You could recognize a lot of folks in the city heart inquiring for alter. At times you’ll see kids offering merchandise as nicely. Even after dwelling in Mexico for more than two many years, I’m continue to doubtful what my funds would be supporting if I ended up to purchase from these children or give change to men and women on the street. Some reviews counsel that contributing to this casual industry is the same as contributing to little one trafficking, and that’s adequate for me to steer clear of it altogether.
I know that is is a advanced problem, and I do not declare to have all the answers, so use your own judgment on this a single. I constantly just smile and say “no, gracias” to the youngsters, and then they go on their way.
10. Vet Any Tour Organizations
As you stroll by the Zócalo in Oaxaca’s town centre, you are going to see masses of people endorsing excursions to close by sites. A whole lot of these are fantastic, but to say that they are all entirely safe or value your revenue would be a extend. Some tour businesses never always abide by safety protocols and do a sloppy position of providing tourists exact information and facts about the web sites.
It’s best to just prevent the hawkers altogether in Oaxaca, and choose for a tour from GetYourGuide or Viator as an alternative. I’ve even performed Airbnb Experiences right here and had a amazing (and secure) time.
11. Get a Mexican SIM Card
I really do not feel that several folks recognize how inexpensive it is to select up a SIM card and use it although they’re in Mexico. A SIM from Telcel (the most significant service provider in Mexico) charges 150 pesos ($7.50 USD), and you can effortlessly pay as you go, loading facts on to your SIM utilizing your credit history or debit card.
Getting a SIM card can be a excellent way to keep protected, simply because you will have the peace of head of remaining equipped to link at any time. You will be able to access maps if you get dropped, use a translator application to communicate superior, and make a get in touch with if you are in risk.
Some US cell phone companies permit their consumers a certain amount of knowledge per working day while in Mexico, so ask yours right before you head to Oaxaca to see if finding a SIM card is even vital.
12. Touring Solo as a Woman in Oaxaca
My initial knowledge traveling in Oaxaca was extremely various from those that followed. I really do not have a obvious clarification as to why, but potentially I have just turn out to be much better at traveling on your own and now know how to steer clear of frauds, meals poisoning, and all round threat.
The first time I went to Oaxaca, I was followed and catcalled twice. On top rated of that, a pair of taxi drivers created really inappropriate opinions to me that built me come to feel unsafe.
To be straightforward, I was hesitant to solo journey below once more. But considering the fact that I experienced arranged to meet up with a mate in Oaxaca in January of 2022, I decided to facial area my dread and commit a number of days alone here right before she joined me. This time was absolutely unique. Not a one taxi driver harassed me, for which I felt a large sigh of aid. I also discovered a lot less avenue harassment, even however I was there extended and was out and about extra this time close to.
Is this to say that Oaxaca is safer now? Not truly. I acknowledge that my emotion safer this final time I went to Oaxaca could possibly be owing to likelihood. Probably two additional a long time of living in Mexico has also manufactured it much easier for me to mix in?
In any situation, I nonetheless feel Oaxaca is absolutely truly worth checking out as a solo feminine traveler. But it is specially important for us to be vigilant, to program our excursion diligently, and stay away from hazards like scam artists and guys who prey on drunk foreign women of all ages in bars (indeed, they exist).
Consider to do as considerably as you can in the course of daylight several hours, steer clear of consuming also significantly, and make positive your telephone is doing the job order in situation of emergencies. Never ever interact with catcallers and they’ll leave you on your own.
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Over-all, Oaxaca can take the cake as just one of the most thrilling spots to visit in Mexico. If you preserve in intellect these basic safety strategies, you’ll be a little bit sharper and able to make safer choices when you take a look at Oaxaca de Juárez or the coast, allowing you to have an extraordinary experience.
Imagining of heading to Oaxaca? Check out our guides to Oaxaca Town, Puerto Escondido, and Zipolite!