There are two main things that determine what to wear in Oaxaca. The first is the Mexican region’s weather conditions. The second is what you hope to do while visiting this incredible part of southwest Mexico. If you’re keen to know what to include on your packing checklist to meet these requirements, you’ve come to the right place!
What to Expect from Oaxaca Weather
Thankfully there are few surprises when it comes to weather conditions in Oaxaca. Although it has four distinct seasons, like most of Mexico, Oaxaca’s weather can also be divided by the wet and dry periods of the year.
Temperatures are relatively stable throughout the year, with highs that average around 80°F (27°C) or thereabouts. Even when it does rain significantly, between June and the end of August, it is still warm.
We therefore don’t suggest packing any major rain gear, since it will be just too uncomfortable to wear. Do like the locals and sit out the short tropical downpours, and perhaps take a lightweight umbrella to be on the safe side.
What to Wear in Oaxaca
So rain gear is out. But what should you wear in Oaxaca? Let’s take a look at your potential Oaxaca wardrobe piece by piece.
Ideal Clothing for Daytime Adventures
Because of Oaxaca’s subtropical warmth, you’re not going to what to pack anything that’s too heavy or too tight. Leave those pair of denim jeans at home for your return, alongside anything that’s skinny fit or figure hugging. They’ll just make you hotter than you’d otherwise be.
Take items from your home wardrobe that are loose and free-flowing. Pale colors will also help to reflect, rather than absorb, some of the intensity of the afternoon sun. For women, summer dresses, skirts and shorts are a great idea for what to wear in Oaxaca. For men, loose fitting tops and shorts or chinos are the best bet.
Natural materials, namely cotton and linen, are a much better than man-made materials such as polyester. That’s because polyesters can trap heat and sweat against your skin, while natural materials help your skin to breath. Specially-designed breathable activity wear is great at wicking away sweat, but are perhaps not the most attractive of garments, if this is important to you.
Evening Wear You’ll Actually Use
Oaxaca is a pretty laid-back place, so when we talk about evening wear we’re not referring to tuxedos and cocktail addresses. But as the sun dips, it can get slightly chilly, and it’s well worth being prepared.
Depending on how cold you get as a person, you might want to swap your shorts or skirts for a pair of pants, whilst a light sweater or even a shawl will also help keep the chill at bay. They can also be small enough that you can carry them around with you all day – saving the need of making an extra trip to your hotel and back out again when you should be enjoying the coastal sunsets.
What to Wear to the Beach
Oaxaca has some fantastic beach resorts, and its soft sands curving around gentle coastline is what quite rightly attracts many to the idea of a vacation in the region. There’s no great secret to what to wear in Oaxaca beaches.
The most popular are well-catered for when it comes to umbrellas and sun loungers, meaning you can reduce your packing list down to what you feel most comfortable with whilst lying on the sands or swimming in the Pacific waves. To be sensitive to local residents, it’s sensible to wrap up on leaving the beaches.
Footwear for Oaxaca
If you’re heading to Oaxaca for a week of rest and relaxation, then you’ll need nothing more than a pair of flip-flops or sandals to take you from beach to restaurant to hotel. However, if you’re planning to explore some more of what the region has to offer, such as the archeological sites at Monte Albán and Mitla, or the markets of Oaxaca City, a closed pair of shoes will also be needed.
The top tip is to ensure they are comfortable. Don’t take any shoes that are fresh out of the box, as they’re likely to cause some blistering in the Mexican heat, and no one wants that! Instead, grab those old trusty sneakers you know aren’t going to let you down. But make sure they’ve still got a good grip on them, to avoid slipping on the gravel surfaces of the archeological sites. Ensuring they are waterproof is another plus if heading to Oaxaca during the wetter summer months.
As well as its beaches, Oaxaca is gaining a growing reputation for its hiking opportunities, which include the paths that wind around the Hierve el Agua rock formations and the Sierra Norte mountains.
If you’re considering heading out on any serious hiking routes a good pair of walking shoes is an absolute must. When it comes to clothing, long-sleeved pants and tops can be useful for avoiding the irritation of thorns and biting insects.
Other Must Have Items for Your Oaxaca Trip
Foremost in your mind should always be the sun, which at the latitude of Oaxaca is likely to be stronger than the intensity of light and heat you’re used to back home.
When thinking about what to wear in Oaxaca, a good sun hat should be high on your packing list. It doesn’t matter too much whether it’s made from straw or cloth, but it should cast a good level of shade over both your face and your neck. Straw hats are usually less hot to wear. If you forget to pack one, there are various places selling them throughout the state.
A pair of sunglasses with UV protection are equally important, or you’ll find yourself squinting through your time in the region.
The Only Packing List You’ll Ever Need
While the exact contents of your suitcase are up to you, we’ve provided a helpful guide to the types of things you should be thinking about taking to Oaxaca, given the prevailing climate and number of different things to do.