Oaxaca City (Oaxaca de Juárez) is becoming one of the top places in Mexico for digital nomads. After spending nearly two months there as a nomad myself, I can wholeheartedly agree.
Not only is there so much to do in Oaxaca to keep you busy, but there is also a growing expat/nomad community. During our time there, we met many other remote workers and digital nomads.
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Of course, there is much more about the city that makes it attractive as a digital nomad in Mexico. For one, the internet in Oaxaca is fast. Actually, we had one of the best internet speeds in our little studio—and the cafes in the city center also have great Wi-Fi!
Once you factor in the low cost of living, incredible regional food, and sultry weather, it just makes sense that Oaxaca is rising on people’s radars.
In this guide, I’ll be sharing all my tips and experience after living in Oaxaca as a digital nomad this year. I’ll share more about Oaxaca’s lifestyle, internet speeds, how to find long-term accommodation, fun things to do, my favorite places to eat/drink, and more.
Keep reading to get the low-down on what digital nomad life is like in Oaxaca, Mexico! 🇲🇽
The Digital Nomad’s Guide to Oaxaca
Cost of Living in Oaxaca City as a Digital Nomad
Oaxaca is often referred to be affordable for digital nomads, but it really depends on your lifestyle—how much you eat out, your rent/housing and choice of activities, etc—will have the final say. But we ended up spending roughly $1200/month as a couple (who eats out a lot).
During the week, we cooked at home most days and ate out at least 3–4x either for lunch/dinner or to grab a coffee and work at a cafe for the afternoon.
Here’s the breakdown of our Oaxaca living costs:
- Rent: $578/month (for a small local studio)
- DiDi Transport/Delivery: $120/month
- Organic market: $80/month
- Supermarket: $150/month
- Cafes: $100/month
- Restaurants/Bars: $150–$200/month
- Activities/tours: $40-80/month
In total, it’s not that bad for two people! We always try to be conscious of our impact—where we spend our dollars, our housing choices, etc. As slow travelers, we have an opportunity (and responsibility) to leave a positive mark on the places we visit.
Do You Need the Mexico Digital Nomad Visa for Oaxaca?
You don’t need Mexico’s Temporary Residence Visa to be a digital nomad in the country. Most often—and this can change—Mexico will grant tourists up to 180 days. That’s six months that you could spend in Oaxaca as a nomad working online without having to extend.
If you wish to extend beyond 180 days, you’ll need to apply for a Temporary Residence Visa which grants visitors the opportunity to stay and live in Mexico for up to four years before deciding on whether or not they wish to apply for a Permanent Residence Visa.
Best Time to Be a Nomad in Oaxaca
The state of Oaxaca is very diverse. On the coast, you’ll experience a tropical, humid climate. But in the city, there is a drier, subtropical highland climate.
To make the most of your time in Oaxaca, you should consider visiting (or moving) during the shoulder seasons. That is, spring and fall from September to November and March to May. Summers can be very hot in the city.
Transportation – Getting Around Oaxaca City
There isn’t Uber in Oaxaca. Instead, locals use DiDi Rider, another (cheaper) ride-sharing app.
Since we lived about 15–20 minutes outside of Centro, we’d often take a DiDi into town or get one to go home late at night.
If you’re not familiar with Oaxaca yet, then getting around the city via DiDi is safe and cheap.
Taxis are always an option, as well. However, unlike DiDi, you will have to pay in cash and you will need to haggle a little. For rides within the city center, you can expect to pay around $40–$60 pesos
Best Neighborhoods & Accommodation Options in Oaxaca
If you’re staying for just a couple of days or weeks in Oaxaca, then your best option for accommodation will be within walking distance of the city center.
If you’re staying for a couple of months, you can find cheaper rent on the outskirts of downtown. We found a wonderful little Airbnb studio about a 15–20 minute walk from Centro. It was in a quiet, more local neighborhood (hence the better price). Jalatlaco is an up-and-coming artsy neighborhood to scout out housing as well.
For more options other than Airbnb (because that can quickly get expensive), check out the Facebook groups for Oaxaca. That’s where we usually start our search for accommodation when moving to a new location.
Oaxaca City’s Internet Speed
Much to our surprise, Oaxaca City had one of the best wifi speeds compared to other Mexican towns or cities we’ve lived in.
Our apartment included wifi at no extra charge and it tested around 40Mbps, which was plenty for working, Zoom calls, uploading photos, and streaming Netflix series.
Cafes also had great download speed, but the upload speed was a bit slower; still good enough for what we were using it for though. (More on that below.)
Coworking Spaces in Oaxaca City
There are just a few coworking spaces in Oaxaca City for the serious digital nomads among us.
- Céntrico CoWork
All of them offer daily, weekly, and monthly rates. The day rate is around $10 USD/day which is actually quite steep.
If you’re looking for a coliving space/hostel that doubles as a coworking space, our friends have a place called Co404 (they actually launched their first location for nomads in San Cristóbal de las Casas!)
Best Cafés in Oaxaca with Wi-Fi for Working on Your Laptop
Oaxaca City has several cafes with wifi ideal for nomads and remote workers.
Working on your laptop for a few hours in any cafe is usually deemed disrespectful, so you don’t want to just plop down with your computer anywhere.
Many of the brunch spots in Oaxaca would be good places, but they get so busy that it’s not respectful to occupy a table for several hours.
Some of the cafes in Oaxaca that have welcomed us and others as nomadic workers are:
- Muss Cafe
- Marito & Moglie
- Cafe Brujula
Read more about each in my dedicated post on the best coffee shops with wifi in Oaxaca.
Healthcare in Oaxaca – Digital Nomad Insurance
If you are coming to live in Oaxaca as a digital nomad for a couple of weeks up to six months, you need to get travel medical insurance.
If you don’t have insurance yet and are a digital nomad, check out SafetyWing – the travel medical insurance for nomads by nomads. I never really took insurance seriously because it was always so complicated to find a company that offered packages that suited my nomad lifestyle. I’ve been with SafetyWing now for a little over two years now and I’m so happy with it!
You can get covered for as little as $40 for 4 weeks and it really takes less than 5 minutes to sign up. So much cheaper than the airline insurance I used to always buy out of panic, lol!
If you’re moving to Oaxaca, it’s a good idea to get acquainted with the medical and healthcare services offered here.
Luckily, we haven’t yet had any reason to go to the doctor or hospital here, but in case you need one, Hospital del Valle, Clínica Hospital Carmen, and Hospital Reforma are among the best.
Fun Activities to Do as a Nomad in Oaxaca
There are so many fun things to do in Oaxaca City, so you should never feel bored!
From day trips to mezcal bars, there is something new to discover both within the city and outside of it.
Some of my favorite activities have been:
- 🥃 Tasting artisanal mezcal on a mezcal distillery/farm tour
- 🌳 Biking to the Tule Tree — the widest in the world!
- 🌮 Shopping and eating at the local markets
- 🇲🇽 Trying the traditional drink of tejate (it’s weird but good!)
- 🏔 Exploring the Zapotec ruins of Monte Albán
Other Destinations in Oaxaca & Mexico for Digital Nomads
Oaxaca as a state is awesome for digital nomads in general—it’s not just Oaxaca de Juárez, the city! The coast of Oaxaca, in particular, is popular among backpackers, remote workers, and fellow digital nomads.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Puerto Escondido and maybe even Mazunte. These small beach towns attract quite a crowd, which can be a downside of living there. Paul and I prefer to mingle with the locals as much as we can rather than stay with a group of English speakers.
After being in Oaxaca for two months, I’d go back in a heartbeat! It’s become one of my favorite cities in Mexico—both to visit and to live in.
Here are the other cities in Mexico besides Oaxaca where we’ve lived for months or years:
- Digital Nomads in San Cristóbal de las Casas (Chiapas)
- San Pancho in the state of Nayarit
- Digital Nomads in Tulum (Quintana Roo)
Overall, Is Oaxaca Good for Digital Nomads?
There are certain criteria Paul and I set when trying to find a good place to slow travel as nomads. We look for that “DANG” factor (and yes, I totally just made that up!):
- Diversity and culture
- Amazing food, restaurants, and cafes
- Naturescapes and outdoor activities
- Good cost of living
Oaxaca ticks all those, and much, much more. Honestly, there wasn’t much that we wanted for while living in Oaxaca City. I think two months was a bit short, but I can easily see us going back one day!
So, has this guide convinced you that Oaxaca de Juárez should be your next temporary home base? Feel free to contact me on Instagram @bucketlistbri or drop a comment below with your questions.
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