Getting there & away
The Terminal de Autobuses de Primera Clase (1st-class bus station; 502-05-60; Calz Niños Héroes de Chapultepec 1036) is 2km northeast of the Zócalo. Also known as the Terminal ADO, it’s used by UNO and ADO GL (deluxe service), ADO and OCC (1st class) and Cuenca (2nd class). The Terminal de Autobuses de Segunda Clase (2nd-class bus station; Las Casas) is 1km west of the Zócalo; the main long-distance companies using it are Fletes y Pasajes (Fypsa; 516-12-18) and Estrella del Valle/Oaxaca Pacífico (EV/OP; 514-07-76). The 2nd-class companies Sur and AU use the Sur Bus Station (514-44-86; Periférico 1014), 500m south of the main 2nd-class terminal.
It’s advisable to buy your ticket a day or two in advance for some of the less-frequent services, including buses to San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Ticket Bus has two branches in the city center: one at Calle 20 de Noviembre 103 (514-66-55; open 8am to 10pm Monday to Saturday and 8am to 4pm Sunday) and the other at Valdivieso 2 (516-38-20; open 8am to 10pm Monday to Saturday, 8am to 9pm Sunday). Both sell tickets for trips with UNO, ADO, ADO GL, OCC, Cuenca, Sur and AU throughout Mexico.
Buses from the 1st-class bus station to the towns on the Oaxaca coast take a long route via Salina Cruz. Unless you’re liable to travel sickness on winding mountain roads, it’s more convenient to use one of the comfortable van or microbus services that go directly to Puerto Escondido by Hwy 131 and Pochutla by Hwy 175. Both these routes are now well paved. For Puerto Escondido (M$130, six hours), Express Service (516-40-59; Arista 116) departs nine times daily, 5am to 10pm; and Transportes Villa del Mar (951-1165622; Galeana 322A) goes six times between 6:30am and 5pm.
Hwy 135D branches off the Mexico City–Veracruz highway (150D) to make a spectacular traverse of Oaxaca’s northern mountains en route to Oaxaca city. Tolls from Mexico City to Oaxaca on these highways total M$326; the trip takes five to six hours. For some reason the 135D is also numbered 131D in some stretches. Toll-free alternative Hwy 190, via Huajuapan de León, takes several hours longer.
Walk-in car-rental prices in Oaxaca start around M$500 a day with unlimited mileage. Alamo Airport (514-85-35; 8am-8pm Mon-Sat, 8am-7pm Sun); Center (514-85-34; 5 de Mayo 203; 8am-8pm Mon-Sat, 9am-7pm Sun)
es rent a car (514-56-53; 5 de Mayo 315)
Hertz Airport (511-54-78; 7am-7pm); Center (516-24-34; Plazuela Labastida 115; 8am-8pm Mon-Fri, 9am-7pm Sat, 9am-5pm Sun)
Only Rent-A-Car (www.onlyrentacar.com; 8am-8pm Mon-Sat, 9am-2pm Sun) Alcalá (516-32-13; Alcalá 401) 5 de Mayo (514-02-55; 5 de Mayo 215A)
Direct flights to/from Mexico City (one hour) are operated by Mexicana at least five times daily, Click Mexicana and Aeroméxico Connect twice, and Aviacsa once. Continental flies to/from Houston, Texas, four times weekly. Click Mexicana also has a daily flight to Tuxtla Gutiérrez and Mérida. Avolar flies daily to Cuernavaca and Tijuana; Alma de México flies to Guadalajara and Tuxtla Gutiérrez.
For the spectacular half-hour hop over the Sierra Madre del Sur to Puerto Escondido or Bahías de Huatulco on the Oaxaca coast, Aerotucán flies a 13-seat Cessna daily to/from both destinations, and Aerovega, with its seven-seater (there may be no copilot), flies daily to/from Puerto Escondido and will go via Huatulco if there is a minimum of three passengers going there. One-way fares to Huatulco are around M$1300; to Puerto Escondido it’s M$1000 with Aerovega and M$1200 with Aerotucán.
Aeroméxico& Aeroméxico Connect (516-10-66; Hidalgo 513; 9am-6pm Mon-Sat)
Aerotucán (www.aerotucan.com.mx; 501-05-30; Interior 204, Alcalá 201; 7am-8pm Mon-Sat, 10am-2pm Sun)
Aviacsa Airport (511-50-39); Centro (800-284-22-72; Pino Suárez 604)
Mexicana & Click Mexicana (516-73-52; Fiallo 102) Also sells Alma de México tickets.