Getting Around Oaxaca
The best way to get around Oaxaca is on foot, especially if you're sticking to the tourist areas in downtown Oaxaca. To travel farther afield, buses or taxis are fairly affordable ways of getting around, though keep in mind that they're not known for efficiency. A rental car will give you the flexibility to travel on your own time, yet might not be the best option for someone unfamiliar to the area and the road rules.
The closest airport is Aeropuerto Internacional de Oaxaca (OAX), which is located about 5 miles south of Oaxaca City. You can reach the city by taxi, bus or rental car.
Oaxaca City is very pedestrian-friendly, especially along its Andador de Macedonia Alcala pedestrian walkway. But if you're planning on seeing sights located beyond the city in Oaxaca state, such as Hierve el Agua, you'll need to rely on another mode of transportation.
Buses can take you most places in Oaxaca city and state, and they're very affordable. For instance, you can catch a bus to Monte Albán from the Hotel Rivera del Angel on Mina Street. You can also take colectivos, which run local routes around the city, and you can hop aboard one of these around Oaxaca's main market, called Central de Abastos.
If you don't want to wait around for a bus, you can take a taxi for 100 pesos (about $5) an hour. Make sure that you're only hopping in taxis that are located at designated stands, called sitios. It's also a good idea to get the name of the driver, as well as the taxi's license plate number, and to agree on a rate before departing in case you need to report anything later. Before you get into a taxi at the Oaxaca airport, make sure that you pay the taxi fare inside the airport's arrivals area. And at your hotel, ask how much rides to certain attractions or areas usually cost (the property may even have it posted) to get a feel for an appropriate fare.
A rental car can also cut down on time spent waiting around for a bus or a taxi, but it's also the most expensive mode of transportation. And unless you're very familiar with the area and Mexican road rules, you could be in for some anxiety. What's more, some areas of Oaxaca state are less safe than others. If you do decide to drive, a valid U.S. driver's license will suffice, but you should make sure you have an insurance policy that covers driving in Mexico. You can rent cars at the airport.
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