Mexico & Caribbean

Oaxaca, Mexico

A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Places to Run in Oaxaca

Dale Cruz

Oaxaca is the largest and capital city of the State of Oaxaca, located in the foothills of the Sierra Madre in the southeast of Mexico. A center of Zapotec and Mixtec culture, this popular tourist spot is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous for its colonial-era buildings made from green volcanic stone. Among the appealing aspects of running in Oaxaca is the good year-round weather, mile-high altitude, and great hill running opportunities in the foothills nearby.

For road running, the best place to run in Oaxaca is probably the  Bosque El Tequio, a 5 km dirt loop close to the airport. There is also a nice paved bike lane along Avenida Ferrocarril which reaches the ‘widest tree in the world’ (Arbol de Tule). It’s also fun to create your own ‘sightseeing’ route of Oaxaca’s historic center, which includes the Paseo Juárez El Llano. The Riberas del Río Atoyac is a 4 km out and back on a riverside path. The stairs and trails of Cerro del Fortin also make for a fun route. For a longer run and a taste of the secluded Oaxacan foothills, run on the Libramiento del Norte — an abandoned highway that’s now a car-free road. There’s more extensive hill and trail running in the hills above Libramiento. If you’d like to have an in-person guided running experience in Oaxaca, we highly recommend our friends at Go! Running Tours.

Getting around Oaxaca is easiest on foot, especially when it comes to the main neighborhoods downtown. There is public transportation in the form of buses and colectivos, which are affordable and hit most of the major destinations. For the hillside running, a car/cab is needed. We thank the folks at Run Oaxaca and Go! Running Tours Oaxaca for their help!

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Oaxaca has a very appealing climate for runners, with abundant sunshine. Temperatures are somewhat uniform year-round, with high temperatures ranging from 27-32C (81-90F). Due to the altitude and dry conditions, nights cool off to 10-15C (50-60F). Most of the rain falls from May-September.

The center of Oaxaca is compact and walkable. Luckily for tourists, that’s also where most of the hotels are located. There is not a website for the Ministry of Tourism, so check the web for options and booking information.

Oaxaca is home to several great running groups and clubs.

Run in Oaxaca was instrumental in creating this guide, and they frequently promote group runs and races. Check their Facebook for upcoming events.

Visitors can also book a running tour with Go! Running Tours or Off the Grid.

Oaxaca is a proud host to the Rock and Roll Marathon Series each year (which also includes a half marathon and a 10k).