Oaxaca Ancestral Food Experience – a delicious history of Oaxaca’s food

Oaxaca Ancestral Food Experience – Private Tour

We believe that one of the best ways to connect with a culture is through their food.

On this unique Food tour, you will engage with local food vendors and dive deep into their multi-generational recipes and practices! You will see how their customs and recipes are passed down through the generations and be part of their ancestral traditions.

You will be learning about Oaxacan Food in a way very few people ever get the chance to. You will learn how over thousands of years, food in this region has shaped the culture you are experiencing today! This is the most profound connection to these ancestral foods you may ever get!

*Vegetarians/Vegans please note: this tour does have ‘some’ vegetarian/vegan options, but not all dishes can be substituted. Most of the dishes sampled have either cheese or meats, as traditionally cooked by the vendors.

All bookings are private, so booking with friends works out more cost-effectively, as you share some of the expenses (such as guide, transport, etc). Discounts are auto-magically applied when you make your reservation.

Are you planning to be here for the Day Of The Dead? You may also be interested in our in-depth, interactive experience taking you deep into the culture, traditions and practices of the Day Of The Dead in Oaxaca:
Book Your Oaxaca Day Of The Dead Experience here!

Make a Deposit to confirm today!
All booking deposits are in USD and must be made in advance so that we can prepare this experience for you. Your initial deposit covers some expenses payable in advance of your tours, such as your guide fees and other inclusions. Need to reschedule the date? With 2+ weeks’ notice, you may be able to without any rebooking fees! See Cancellations & Rebooking terms at the bottom of the page.

This tour requires a Local Payment in MXN
The Local Payment is a portion of your overall tour cost paid on the morning of tour departure, in Mexican Pesos. It includes “on tour” expenses that cannot ordinarily be pre-paid such as money that goes directly to the host families, food vendors and meals. It is an additional cost to the price of your tour when you make your deposit.

The Local Payment for this experience is 500 Mexican pesos per person (approximately $25 USD).


Oaxaca Ancestral Food Experience

Do a walk through the historical centre of Oaxaca, while strolling through the history of delicious foods in this region


Item Details
Meeting Point Mercado de La Merced
End Point La Cosecha Market
Duration Up to 5 hours (+/-)
Physical Level Low – this experience involves moderate walking through markets and around central Oaxaca
Cultural Rating Moderate – a good balance of cultural interactions, and engaging with local chefs and cooks
Ages 12+ (under 18 must be accompanied by a guardian/parent)
Group Size Private – Max 6 people per booking


Itinerary for eating your way through Oaxaca City’s downtown markets and street vendors

We will dive deep into dishes that are less common in touristy restaurants but are very common as delicacies amongst locals living in Oaxaca. With a focus on some of the oldest food sources in Oaxaca (if not in Mexico), many of the dishes will include either maize (corn) or cacao (chocolate). Most people who visit Oaxaca only hear about Mole, quesillo (Oaxacan cheese) and Tlayudas (a grilled tortilla)

You will meet at a local market at 9:00 a.m. to get an early start at some restaurants and stalls that use recipes passed down for generations. Here you will try a unique ancestral drink that has been around for hundreds of years. You will also get to try some common breakfast foods and learn about the history and the cultural importance of the ingredients to the region!

From here we will visit another local restaurant, which focuses on native maize – corn which is native to this region, and the tortillas and dishes that are made with it. You will have the chance to try some dishes which are otherwise quite hard to find in Oaxaca but are common in the villages surrounding it.

From here, we travel by foot to another local establishment for a chocolate tasting. You will learn about the importance cacao played in Mesoamerica while tasting some of the most delicious chocolate Oaxaca has to offer. This is an often-overlooked highlight of this region of Mexico and one which will leave you craving more!

We will stroll through some of the beautiful neighbourhoods of central Oaxaca on our way to another street food vendor, learning about historical sites in the region, and their relevance to Oaxaca, its culture, and of course, to food as well!

We end the tour in an organic market, where all the food produced and sold here has a story to tell. We will try several more dishes and ancestral drinks, further reinforcing the diversity both of food and cultures found in and around Oaxaca state, their history, and why Oaxaca is known as the gastronomical capital of Mexico!

For anyone who likes to eat, and appreciates good food and beautiful cultures – we know you will leave satisfied on all fronts with this special ancestral experience!

Please note: There is not a Dress Code! You will be visiting some food vendors who are a bit more traditional, so dressing respectfully is appreciated. You don’t need to dress to impress – you will be getting your hands dirty (literally). It is recommended to just bring comfortable clothes, which are modest, and that you don’t mind getting a bit dirty in (food spillage happens to the best of us). A more detailed list of suggested clothing attire can be found below.

What to bring to the Oaxaca Ancestral Food Experience?

Though this could vary seasonally, this is the basic list of what we suggest you bring with you. Keep in mind, your transport is private and secure, so you are able to leave some items in the vehicle when not needed:
– Jeans or long pants (this is most customary in Mexico, though shorts/dress are fine if you are most comfortable in that).
– Sneakers/comfortable shoes.
– Umbrella (for the rainy season, May-Nov)
– Sunblock.
– Hat/cap.
– Covid Mask.
– Cash. The producers do not accept credit cards if you want to buy any food after your experience. There is no pressure to buy anything. Unlike other tour companies, the producers we work with will always get paid fairly for their time, regardless if you buy additional food or not.

What is included with the Oaxaca Ancestral Experience?

Your ancestral experience includes:
– information provided before your experience to educate you and properly prepare you
– a specially trained and licensed English-speaking guide who will facilitate your experience
– translations and demonstrations with the local food vendors
– meals (it’s a food tour after all. Alcoholic beverages are not included with the meals)
– a special small gift to take home with you

What is not included when on your Sacred Food Experience?

Travel Insurance (Compulsory)
– International flights
– Transportation (outside of included itinerary)
– Accommodation in Oaxaca
– Alcoholic beverages (outside of the included mezcal tasting)
– Gratuities and tips
– Spending money if you wish to purchase additional food, souvenirs or items.

Supporting Local Projects with our TRiP Foundation

For every TRiP that you go on with WSE Travel, we will donate 2% to an environmental or community-based project in the country you’re visiting. We want to ensure that every guest we help, in turn, helps support and preserves the destination we’re experiencing together as a direct result. We live by an ethos of Travel Responsibly & Impact Positively (TRIP).

For more information on the projects supported by this experience, please visit our Mexico TRIP projects.

Cancellations & Rebooking

All tours, services, and experiences booked through WSE Travel are bound to our Terms and Conditions, which were modelled after most other travel services such as flights, hotels, and other tour operators.

Should you need to cancel or change your reservation for any reason (including but not limited to missed flights, illness, or change of mind), you will still be bound to the terms and conditions agreed to at the time of booking.

Should you give us more than 14 days’ notice of a change in your reservation, we can store your payment in the ‘safety deposit box’, to be used for a future travel date, either by you or transferred to a friend or family member. Refunds are not available unless your reservation is cancelled by WSE Travel for circumstances outside of our control.

Should you give us less than 14 days notice of a change in your reservation, a rebooking fee will be imposed. We do try to be flexible for our guests, but not at the sacrifice of the livelihoods of all locals hired for your private experiences. As these are private experiences, your guide and any other local service provider block their days off from other work to accommodate your reservation, and may not be able to fill that day again in the event of cancellation.

To be fair and responsible to them and their reliance on your reservation’s promised work, your guide will still be paid for your reservation. As such, last-minute cancellations or changes within 2 weeks of departure will be subject to a rebooking fee of the online deposit, to re-hire a guide for your future travel date.

This flexibility is a bend in our Terms and Conditions to try to be fair both to our guests, as well as the locals hired to facilitate your reservation. If you feel there is a high chance of cancellations or changes, please make sure you buy appropriate travel insurance that will reimburse you for cancellations of things such as flights, hotels, and tours.

4 reviews for Oaxaca Ancestral Food Experience – a delicious history of Oaxaca’s food

  1. Nathan Aguilera

    This should be one of the first things you do in Oaxaca. I love doing food tours as one of my first activities because 1. you familiarize yourself with the city 2. you learn what dishes you should be ordering for the rest of your stay 3. your guide will be able to give you a ton of useful information for the rest of your trip!

    This tour was excellent- we had some of the best food that I had during all my time in Oaxaca! I can highly recommend this to any foodie or anyone wanting to better understand the city, the people and their food.

    But, be sure to come hungry- it’s a lot of food and it’s all so good you’re going to want to have your appetite!

  2. John & Beth Billingslea (verified owner)

    Christian and “Dodi” were wonderful hosts for this amazing excursion. We learned so much about the history of Oaxacan food and drink. Grateful that this experience set the stage for the remainder of our time in the city as it really helped us better appreciate the heritage of the food. We also realized that street food is as tasty as that from a 4+ star restaurant. Come into this experience hungry, because you will be stuffed by the time it ends. You eat and drink from beginning to end and will remain full because many of the drinks especially are fortified with a corn base. Highly recommend this experience for anyone who values food, culture and engaging conversation.

  3. Lora Pope (verified owner)

    Learning about food in Oaxaca city is a must and THIS is the tour to do! We started at the Mercado de La Merced for a traditional Oaxacan breakfast which was so lively. I would have never known to try these dishes on my own, so it was great having such an experienced guide to tour around the city with. It was well-paced, and the short walks between stops gave enough time to digest the food. All of the shop owners we stopped in to see were so friendly and informative as well. Each stop on this tour was so different (and delicious) – I learned so much about Oaxacan cuisine and discovered many new places that I returned to later on my trip. My only advice for this tour is to come on an empty stomach – there is soo much to eat, and you don’t want to miss out on any of it! I would also recommend doing this tour early on in your trip as it will give you a better appreciation of the cuisine here – and you’ll know all the good places to go! Thanks Christian for being an amazing guide!

  4. Ryan Kane (verified owner)

    What an awesome experience! Christian gave us an in-depth overview of Oaxacan cuisine, beginning with a traditional breakfast at Mercado de La Merced. The tour was comprehensive and took us through popular mainstays of the city and many hidden gems that I never knew about (and I’m someone very familiar with the city!). We had the best in Oaxacan chocolate, maiz toritilla-based dishes (like tetelas), tamales, and traditional street food, at times directly interacting with the artisanal professionals behind our dishes. The tour was super relaxed but it never felt like there was a dull moment during our day — it felt as if a good friend was showing you around their city that they know and love. Christian always took the time to thoroughly answer our questions and even gave us many other fun and interesting facts about the city beyond the food. A must for avid gastronomers and those wishing to having a deeper, more local dive into the regional cuisine!

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