How to get from Cancun to Oaxaca

Travelling from Cancun to Oaxaca is a spectacular journey through the heart of Mexico. In this article, we've put together ways of how to get from Cancun to Oaxaca.

How to get from Cancun to Oaxaca

The route from Cancun to Oaxaca reveals a variety of landscapes, cultures and experiences. Here is a summary of the main transport options:

  • By plane: The quickest way is to fly from Cancún International Airport (CUN) to Oaxaca's Xoxocotlán International Airport (OAX), where there are many flights daily.
  • By bus: A budget option is to take the scenic bus: several bus companies offer intercity services connecting Cancún to Oaxaca. The journey will take around 24 to 30 hours.
  • By car: If you like road trips, you can rent a car and drive from Cancun to Oaxaca. The trip will take approximately 20 hours, depending on the route and stops.

Planning a trip to Cancun or Oaxaca? Use the expertise of our Mexico travel experts

How far is Oaxaca from Cancun?

The distance from Cancun to Oaxaca is approximately 1,138 kilometres (about 706 miles), depending on the route chosen. The journey involves travelling from the east coast of Mexico, where Cancun is located, to the south coast, where Oaxaca is located.

If you're planning a trip to Mexico, also don't miss our Mexico itineraries and information on how to get there

Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman in Oaxaca, Mexico © Shutterstock

Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman © Shutterstock

What's the quickest way to get from Cancun to Oaxaca?

Due to the long distance between Cancun and Oaxaca, without a doubt, the fastest way to get to your destination is by plane.

There is a direct flight available and the flight duration is approximately 2-2.5 hours, which beats travelling by road by a wide margin.

Short on time? Book our Mexico City, Oaxaca & the Yucatan itinerary and save yourself the trouble of mapping out and planning.

By plane

Duration: from 2 hours | Cost: from $105

Travelling from Cancun to Oaxaca by plane is the fastest and most efficient way to cover the considerable distance between these two fascinating destinations.

Your adventure begins at Cancun International Airport (CUN), a bustling centre on Mexico's east coast. A direct flight to Oaxaca's Xoxocotlán International Airport (OAX) flies every day, making this a convenient option for travellers looking to cut down on travel time.

A direct flight takes relatively little time - between 2 and 2.5 hours - and will take you from the turquoise waters of Cancún's coastline to the vibrant and culturally rich city of Oaxaca. The ease and speed of air travel are especially advantageous for those who have limited time and prefer comfort.

Monte Alban © Shutterstock

Monte Alban in Oaxaca © Shutterstock

By bus

Duration: from 24 to 30 hours | Cost: from $60

Travelling from Cancun to Oaxaca by bus is a journey that reveals the rich tapestry of Mexico's diverse landscapes and culture. While it is by no means the fastest way to get to Oaxaca, it allows you to immerse yourself in the depths of the country and savour the beauty of its changing landscapes.

There are buses from Cancún to Oaxaca from various intercity bus companies. These buses are well-equipped with air conditioning and reclining seats, making for a rather pleasant journey.

The length of the journey can vary depending on the specific route, road conditions and bus stops. On average, a bus journey from Cancun to Oaxaca takes between 24 and 30 hours. 

By rental car

Duration: around 20 hours hours | Cost: from $12 a day

Travelling by car from Cancun to Oaxaca allows you to explore the country on your own terms and at your own pace. Although it is not the fastest option, it gives you the opportunity to make stops along the way at any time and explore the beauty of Mexico on the way to Oaxaca.

Firstly it is necessary to rent a car in Cancun. Car hire agencies, both local and international, provide a wide range of autos, but it is advisable to book in advance to ensure availability.

It is worth noting that despite the fact that the daily payment for the rented car is not so expensive — if you do not plan to return the car to Cancun and are going to leave it in Oaxaca, you will have to pay a huge fee.

The road distance between Cancun and Oaxaca is considerable at 1,138 kilometres (706 miles) and the journey can take around 20 hours, depending on factors such as road conditions, traffic and stops along the way.

The advantage of a road trip is primarily the opportunity to explore charming towns, enjoy local cuisine and admire scenic views. You can visit cenotes (natural sinkholes) for a swim, explore ancient ruins or simply admire the changing scenery.

Into independent travel? Read up on getting around Mexico.

Beach Zipolite Oaxaca, Mexico © Shutterstock

Beach Zipolite Oaxaca, Mexico © Shutterstock

Is Oaxaca worth a visit?

Oaxaca is certainly worth a visit, as it beckons with a versatile charm that captures the essence of Mexico's rich heritage and natural beauty. The city's cultural tapestry is a vibrant mosaic of colourful indigenous traditions, artful works of art and colonial treasures.

Oaxaca's cuisine is a particular delight, known for its complex dishes of moles, tlayudas and the smoky flavour of mezcal. The region's artisans make intricate textiles, ceramics and dazzling alebrijes, which gives the city a special artistic charm.

Outside the city, Oaxaca unfolds like a canvas, revealing dramatic mountains, serene beaches and archaeological wonders. The petrified Hierve el Agua waterfall and sacred cenotes are masterpieces of nature.

For more inspiration for your trip to Mexico, see The Rough Guide to Mexico. Browse our customisable Mexico itineraries or talk to our local Mexico travel experts.

Olga Sitnitsa

written by
Olga Sitnitsa

updated 06.06.2024

Online editor at Rough Guides, specialising in travel content. Passionate about creating compelling stories and inspiring others to explore the world.

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