Life as Digital Nomad in Oaxaca, Mexico
by Josien - 11 Apr, 2020
This colonial city of Oaxaca locates in southwestern Mexico and in one of the safest states in the country. The city is characterized by colorful buildings, majestic cathedrals, and lively markets. But what is it like to be here as a digital nomad? Is the internet good enough? Is there a community of ex-pats in Oaxaca? And what about things to do, will I be bored? Let me point out the pros and cons of living life as Digital Nomad in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Pro 1. Co-working offices and community
I haven’t tried all of them, but I have worked from two of the six co-working offices in Oaxaca: Selina and Convivio. I picked these two because they are located in the center of Oaxaca AND had the best reviews online. And I can absolutely recommend both of them! Selina is also a co-living location, so staying here would connect you with other travelers faster, but Convivio had more available seats. They both have a lot going for them. If you’re a digital nomad in Oaxaca, go check them both out and pick your own favorite!
The fact that there are six co-working spaces also means there is a great community of ex-pats and digital nomads in Oaxaca. Through the co-working spaces, I met a few like-minded travelers and they added me in their Whatsapp group. I’ve seen many of these Whatsapp groups through traveling and they have great value! You’re not only meeting new people, but the group also takes care of each other. During my stay, we experienced a small earthquake. People in the Whatsapp group were immediately checking in with everyone and see if anyone needed help. Community is key for digital nomads, and Oaxaca has a great one!
Pro 2. Oaxaca is affordable for digital nomads
It is not the cheapest city but compared to Tulum or Yucatan, Oaxaca is affordable. You can book a small apartment in the city center from $ 35 USD per night, and through Airbnb, you can get discounts if you book for a month. If you book through my link, you get $ 40 USD off of your first booking.
Pro 3. Coffee bars, cafes, and restaurants for digital nomads in Oaxaca.
Oaxaca has a long list of hipster cafes and restaurants! It is the culinary capital of Mexico, so I wasn’t surprised by the many places I could go. From barista bars to local taquerias and from expensive Michelin star restaurants to Mezcalitas, you can find whatever you like in this city. We ate our hearts out on local Moles and tacos, but absolutely enjoyed the rooftop cocktails too!
As a digital nomad in Oaxaca you hope to find bars and restaurants with great wifi too, but sadly, fast wifi in restaurants is scarce in Oaxaca.
Pro 4. Culture and nature in Oaxaca
Besides being the culinary capital of Mexico, Oaxaca is also famous for the real Mexican culture. For example, the Zócalo, the central square, is all about culture and fun. The square is a meeting place, where you can eat delicious food and where basically everything happens. On one corner, street vendors pass by with handmade cloths. On the other corner, you’ll hear the guitar throb of a local. And right in front of you is the scrubbing of a Mexican shoe shine.
Mexican traditions and cultural features are well kept in the city. Oaxacas authenticity is therefore well preserved. You will also find rows of artists selling their handicrafts between the colorful streets. Don’t miss Mercado Juárez, Mercado de Artesianías, and Mercado Sánchez Pascuas, where you’ll mingle with the locals.
Besides culture, Oaxaca is surrounded by beautiful nature. The city is the base for Hierve El Agua, a petrified waterfall with waterholes. Although this natural phenomenon is wonderful to capture with your own eyes, you don’t want to arrive here in the late afternoon. Try to travel to the waterfall early in the morning so you have the waterholes to yourself.
The city is also a base for the ruins of Monte Albán, once the capital of the Zapotec. In addition, Teotitlán de Valle should be on your list, a community with impressive weaving techniques.
Con 1. Oaxaca is a small city
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful city that has a lot to offer, but it’s also a small city where you might get bored. As a digital nomad, I’m used to quick-changing environments, lots of things to explore and many people to get to know. Oaxaca felt like a big village and if you want, you can experience all the high lights in one weekend. Once you tick off all the highlights, there is still great things to see and do, but those are small events. Think about jazz concerts, cultural shows, karaoke bars, etc.
Con 2. No beach and cold weather
If you’re a beach lover like I am, you really are going to miss the beach here. On the map, it looks like Oaxaca isn’t too far away from the beach, but the ride to the nearest beach town Puerto Escondido is at least 7 hours on a very sketchy road. Not for the people sensitive to motion-sickness!! So if you love the beach, don’t go to Oaxaca, but fly directly to Puerto Escondido. It’s a great place for Digital Nomads too!
Oaxaca is not close to a beach because it’s situated up in the mountains. The elevation of Oaxaca is 1.550 meters. This means great views, (petrified) waterfalls, and colder weather. To know which month is best to travel to Oaxaca, click here.
Read about my experience as Digital Nomad in Puerto Escondido here!