How to Visit Tlacolula Oaxaca Sunday Market

The small town of Tlacolula (or its full name is Tlacolula de Matamoros) is approximately 1 hour by bus from the centre of Oaxaca.

If you’re in the area on a Sunday, I highly recommend you visit the incredible Tlacolula Market, Oaxaca.

How to Visit Tlacolula Oaxaca Sunday Market

The small town of Tlacolula (or its full name is Tlacolula de Matamoros) is approximately 1 hour by bus from the centre of Oaxaca.

If you’re in the area on a Sunday, I highly recommend you visit the incredible Tlacolula Market, Oaxaca.

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Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

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This cultural experience should be on your bucket list for one of the best day trips in Oaxaca.

A bonus about visiting these markets is that catching a local bus to get there and back is straightforward if you stay in Central Oaxaca. 

Oaxaca is known as Mexico’s foodie capital! Oaxaca is one of my favourite places in Mexico to eat!

The best food in the state is found in the bustling local markets, and Tlacolula’s Sunday market is one of the best places to immerse yourself in the culture and incredible food!

About Tlacolula Oaxaca Market

Every Sunday in Tlacolula, local villagers, artisans and farmers come from numerous towns and villages to sell and trade their specialties. 

This market is one of the oldest in North America and directly reflects the region’s rich farmland and rural culture.

Tlacolula Sunday market is fantastic – an unmissable experience when travelling in Oaxaca.

Some things you’re likely to find in Tlacolula Oaxaca markets include organic fruit and vegetables, fresh Oaxacan cheese, endless varieties of dried chiles, honey, beautiful handmade dresses and traditional clothing, locally produced Mezcal, pottery, crafts, textiles, and much more!

Tlacolula Sunday Market in Oaxaca is essential to include in your Oaxaca itinerary.

My Tlacolula travel guide covers how to get there, what to expect at the Oaxaca Sunday market, and what I recommend you should eat!

How to Get to Tlacolula Market from Central Oaxaca

By Bus or Colectivo (small red/white cars)

To reach the lively Oaxaca Sunday market in Tlacolula from Central Oaxaca, hop on a bus for 20 pesos or take a colectivo (shared car) for 40 pesos.

If you’re taking the bus option, you must pay the driver directly once you get onto the bus.

It’s essential to have some small change, or even better, the exact fare. 

The same rule applies for flagging down a colectivo; ensure you have change for payment to your driver.

Here are a few options for where and how to catch public transport from Oaxaca to Tlacolula Sunday Market:

1. Walk to the 2nd Class Bus Terminal and go to Puerta 5 (Gate 5).

I took this option and found it easy once I discovered which Gate the buses depart from.

The good thing about catching it from here is that you’ll likely get a seat for the journey as the bus unloads passengers here, reloads and then returns to Tlacolula (and Mitla).

2. You can also flag down this bus near the 2nd Class Bus Terminal, along Periferico Street, and jump on here too.

Look for the signs in the front of the bus for Tlacolula, Mitla, and Cruceros – the driver and another attendant will be searching for more passengers to fill the bus before they continue driving out of Central Oaxaca.

Note: You can also flag down a colectivo taxi (shared car with a driver) from Periferico Street. The cost for the journey via colectivo is approximately 40-45 pesos.

3. Go to Estadio Eduardo Vasconcelos Baseball Stadium and walk to the nearby McDonalds.

Catch a bus or colectivo taxi from here; they come by regularly. 

By Taxi

Taxis are the easiest way to get to the market, but this is also the most expensive option compared to public transport. A taxi fare to Tlacolula Market from Central Oaxaca will set you back around 250-300 pesos one way- of course; this depends on how good your bargaining skills are.

If you choose the local bus option, your bus terminates at Tlacolula Bus Station, near the market entrance on Juárez Street.

Just turn left after you leave the bus station and are on your way to the markets. Walk towards Mercado Municipal Martin Gonzalez.

Within minutes, you will begin walking through tarpaulin-covered outdoor markets, bustling with locals selling everything! Music, food, amusement rides and artisan products are for sale; it’s a vibrant atmosphere.

Then, after approximately 10 minutes or so of walking through the outdoor markets, you will pass the church or Templo de Santa Maria de la Asuncion Tlacolula – you will see it inside a gate on your right. 

If you walk through this gate, I recommend you visit this beautiful church on your left.

After leaving the church, exit to your left and walk through this gate to enter the fantastic Mercado Municipal Martin Gonzalez.

Join a Day Trip to Experience Tlacolula Oaxaca Market

If you need more confidence to catch public transport to Tlacolula or would prefer to share the experience with a local guide and other travellers, you could join this Half-Day Tour, which includes a visit to Tlacolula Market.

This cultural tour from Oaxaca includes a guided tour of Yagul, San Jeronimo Tlacochahuaya, and the traditional Sunday Market of Tlacolula.

Here are some other options below:

What to Eat in Tlacolula Market Oaxaca

Wow! If you’re like me and travel the world to eat, you’ll love Tlacolula Markets Oaxaca!

With so many options and only one stomach – it’s a dilemma!

I’ve listed some of the most popular and delicious options at Tlacolula Markets below, so I’ll leave it up to you to decide what you prefer to eat!

Travel for food? Read our 10 best countries for food lovers

Barbacoa

In Oaxaca, barbacoa is a traditional slow-cooked meat dish, typically made with lamb or goat, but pork is also used. The meat is marinated in spices and wrapped in maguey leaves. It is then pit-roasted underground, resulting in tender, aromatic meat infused with smoky flavours. 

Barbacoa holds cultural significance in Oaxaca as it embodies ancient cooking techniques passed down through generations, reflecting the region’s rich culinary heritage and honouring indigenous traditions. 

A section in Tlacolula Markets has small, simple eateries that serve barbacoa and consommé. 

Consommé is a mouthwatering soup made from the rich broth obtained during the slow-cooking process of barbacoa meat.

A bowl of consommé includes pieces of tender meat, along with vegetables such as onions, cilantro, and lime on the side. 

I enjoyed a bowl of consommé in one of the small eateries in Tlacolula market accompanied by a couple of tortillas and a large glass of horchata – a typical refreshing drink made from soaked grains (or nuts and seeds) and water that is flavoured with spices.

The meal was delicious, and I loved that my waitress offered to refill my bowl with more hot soup halfway through! Bonus! 

I encourage you to add the shredded cabbage, onion, and coriander served alongside this dish and squeeze some fresh lime into your soup to enhance the flavour.

Chicharrón

Chicharrón typically refers to fried pork skin or pork rinds. The preparation involves deep-frying the skin of a pig until it becomes crispy and puffy. 

In Oaxacan cuisine, chicharrón is a snack or a tasty ingredient in various dishes.

It can be seasoned with spices and served as a crunchy snack, used as a filling for tacos or tortas, or incorporated into stews and soups, adding a satisfying crunch and rich flavour. 

You will see chicharrón for sale all over the markets in huge pieces, so you can purchase as much or as little as you like.

On the way to the markets, you may also see street vendors with huge containers full of crispy chicharron pieces sold by the kilo. You can expect to buy 6-8 decent-sized pieces of chicharrón for approximately 80 pesos (USD 4).

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Pan de Cazuela

In Oaxaca, Pan de Cazuela refers to a traditional Mexican bread, particularly popular in the region. It is significant for its unique preparation method.

The dough is baked in a cazuela, or clay pot, placed inside a wood-fired oven. This cooking technique imparts the bread a distinct flavour and texture, giving it a crispy crust and a soft, fluffy interior.

It’s common for Pan de Cazuela to contain Oaxacan chocolate, and this is a typical breakfast item for Oaxaquenos to consume in the morning, alongside a cup of hot chocolate. Muy bueno! 

Read more about our 12 favourite breakfast places in Oaxaca!

Carne Asada

The “Carne Asada Alley” is another popular area within Tlacolula Markets. 

This bustling alley is known for its lively atmosphere and delicious food, particularly grilled meats (translates to “carne asada” in Spanish). 

Many local vendors in traditional Oaxacan clothing set up grills and offer freshly grilled meats, often marinated with various spices and seasonings, grilled chilli peppers, and onions.

You can find all cuts and kinds of meat here, including beef, pork, and chorizo. I appreciated the care with which they cook the meat, ensuring each piece was perfectly grilled.

Many would rub a chunk of fat over the meats to enhance the flavour. Genius!

Once cooked, the meats are piled on a plate and typically served with grilled vegetables, tortillas, fresh salsa, guacamole, and other condiments, allowing you to create tacos or other dishes.

Tejate

It is a cherished traditional beverage from Oaxaca, Mexico, often dubbed the “drink of the gods.” 

Tejate is made from a blend of finely ground corn, cacao, mamey pits, and flor de cacao; it offers a unique combination of earthy corn flavours and the richness of cacao. 

Its frothy texture comes from the traditional preparation method, and although it doesn’t look so appetising if you’ve never tasted it, I can promise that it will surprise you. 

You need to try Tejate in Oaxaca, and this is THE PLACE to taste it! You won’t find it fresher than this in other parts of Mexico.

Learn more about the most popular Mexican drinks here!

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Best Things to Buy at Tlacolula Oaxaca Market

Where do I even begin? The best thing about Tlacolula Market in Oaxaca is that it’s not been heavily frequented by too many foreigners yet, or at least I noticed few tourists here – it felt like most people shopping in the markets were Mexicans. 

For this reason, I believe the asking prices for many items for sale are reasonable.

I enjoyed buying a backpack full of fresh fruit and vegetables for my week ahead.

If you’re interested in purchasing locally-produced pottery or interesting artwork, handmade dresses and textiles, Tlacolula Market is excellent.

A Few Tips for Exploring Tlacolula Market

The markets feel very safe to walk around, but here are a few tips:

  • It can get crowded in the markets, particularly around midday or after church service has ended. Many people flood into the markets now, which can be squishy in some sections. I recommend keeping your backpack on your front and your valuables secured and where you can see them (phone, wallet, camera). 
  • Buy some different foods from the markets, then go next door, find a spot and sit down in the area in front of the church to eat.
  • Have enough cash with you for the day. You must pay for everything in cash at Tlacolula Oaxaca Sunday Markets in pesos. There is an ATM in town, but the queue to withdraw pesos is long, so be organised and bring more cash than you think you may spend, just to be safe. 
  • Go to the restroom before you enter the market; there are limited opportunities to find one once inside the market. The Tlacolula Bus Station has clean bathrooms, with toilet paper supplied; the fee is 5 pesos.

How to Take Local Transport Back to Central Oaxaca

Local Bus

To return to Oaxaca Central or catch a bus to Mitla, you can return to Tlacolula Oaxaca Bus Station and queue for the next bus. 

Note: Please take enough time to catch a bus to your destination. For example, I arrived at the bus station around 3 p.m. to return to Central Oaxaca, but it was pretty busy with locals trying to catch a bus back to their villages (on the journey back toward Oaxaca). 

I waited up to an hour at the station as buses have no fixed schedule. When I did get on a bus returning to Oaxaca, it was full of people, so I stood in the aisle for the journey.

Of course, this was not a problem, and everyone was very respectful of each other in waiting their turn to get on a bus departing Tlacolula.

I suggest you leave enough time, should you also have to wait an hour or two like I did to return to Central Oaxaca, preferably before dark.

Colectivo Taxi

Of course, you can flag down a colectivo taxi returning to Oaxaca. Just stand on the opposite side of the road to when you arrived this morning and listen and look out for the driver returning to Oaxaca. 

It’s always best to double-check the price with the driver before you leave to ensure it is what you’re expecting to pay and that you’re happy to share the ride with others (and that you’re not interested in a private taxi to Oaxaca, as that costs much more).

We hope you enjoyed this post on visiting Tlacolula Markets in Oaxaca. It was one of our favourite experiences in Oaxaca. Don’t miss reading our MEXICO Food Map!

Travel Tips for Mexico

We have many travel guides and tips for Mexico—what a delicious country!

Start your food journey with our Mexico Food Guide (21 of Mexico’s popular dishes).

Check out our Food Map of MEXICO, including 15 places to eat the best food! If you’re short on time, these are our top 5 food cities in Mexico.

Did you know Mexico is featured in our TOP 10 best countries for food lovers? 

Still trying to decide where to take your next trip? Read these 10 reasons to visit Mexico; it’s the ideal vacation spot.

For history lovers, these 11 historical places in Mexico will amaze you! 

If you plan to visit Oaxaca, a food lover’s paradise, you must taste these 20 most delicious dishes in Oaxaca. I also recommend these 12 best breakfast places.

For an unforgettable and authentic cultural experience, visit the Tlacolula Markets on Sunday – an absolute highlight of our visit! 

You may want to try as many of these popular Mexican drinks as possible; they’re so good!

You’ll need to stay connected while travelling in Mexico. We recommend eSIM. It’s easy, reliable and affordable. View options for eSIM in Mexico.

If your travels in Mexico are part of a much larger global adventure, then a Global eSIM may be the answer. It connects you in 124 countries, offering data-only eSIM and data/call/text eSIM. The Global eSIM has been a game-changer; we couldn’t imagine travelling without it now.

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Check out our best-ever travel tips compiled from more than twenty years of experience.

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