Tag Archives: travel to Oaxaca

Getting to Oaxaca: Airfares and Travel Tips

Stephen and I just completed our Oaxaca travels over the winter holidays.  We booked round trip in and out of Mexico City which can be a 30-40% savings.  We took a taxi to TAPU (regional bus station) and then the ADO GL bus to Oaxaca (6.5 hours for about $50USD).  There’s an overnight bus to Oaxaca from Mexico City — the one to take is the Platino or Uno, which has reclining seats that are like beds.

You’ll just need to check the going rates for the best fares.  I have become a Continental Airlines frequent flyer because they fly direct from Houston to Oaxaca and sometimes the fares are good.  We’ve paid from $450 to $800, so it’s important to book in advance (way in advance) for best fares.  American has a codeshare with Mexicana in which you fly to DFW, then to MexCity, then to Oaxaca.  You can fly any carrier into Mexico City and then get to Oaxaca various ways.

There is a bus, Estrella Roja, in the international terminal in Mexico City, that will take you to Puebla ($15USD), one of my favorite cities.  It is two hours from M.C.  We stay overnight there at Camino Real Puebla (great breakfast buffet) which is a 16th century ex-convent, then continue on to Oaxaca the next day, making the bus trip a little more bearable for me (even though there are toilets on the ADO GL).

I book all our hotel rooms online using www.hotels.com and save 40-50% off the rack rate.  For airplane fares, I belong to www.airfarewatchdog.com and use www.hotwire.com.  Most of the discount airfare websites are not substantially different in pricing, but you can get tricked into booking a low cost fare only to discover that they haven’t added on airport taxes and booking fees until check-out.  On my next trip to Oaxaca coming up in February for the documentary filmmaking workshop we are offering, I booked round trip from RDU to Mexico City for $388USD including taxes and fees.  I then went onto the Mexicana website and booked an internal round trip from MexCity to Oaxaca for an additional $200, making the total fare come in under $600.

Airfare Bargain Discounts to Mexico: What’s True, What Isn’t

We were trying to book a “last-minute” trip to Oaxaca over winter break and having no luck with “good” fares, ie. those under $600.  Indeed, prices were veering upwards of $900-1200 per ticket.  Okay, granted, we are less than five weeks away from our intended departure date and there is a penalty for waiting so long to decide whether we were going again.  I think we spent a good six to eight hours traveling around various travel sites to compare prices and schedules and determine whether the published fare was what it would actually cost us once the taxes and fees are added on.

Our preferred routing has been on Continental through Houston which is the only airline that has a direct flight to Oaxaca.  However, the hefty cost was prohibitive.  We searched Travelocity, American Airlines, Expedia, CheapOAir, and Airfare Watchdog, finally landing on Hotwire where the published prices include all taxes and fees (no hidden costs here).  On the others, the enticement is a low fare until you go to book and discover that $110 to $160 can be added on, or the price quoted is only for one-way!

We decided to book on Hotwire to Mexico City where we found a round trip fare for $438.  We’ll spend the night in Houston for $45 (with our AAA discount) at a Knight’s Inn three miles from the airport, and pick up the morning flight to Mexico City.  From there, we’ll take a $5 taxi to the CAPU bus station and take a $35 first class bus (TV and toilet) to Oaxaca and get in in time for dinner.  Our total savings will be around $400 plus or minus.  Not bad for a bit of online fare sleuthing.

On the return trip, I’m planning to bus from Oaxaca to Puebla, spend the night and pick up another Talavera ceramic plate or two.  Four hours via bus from Oaxaca to Puebla, another hour and a half from Puebla to Mexico the next day.