Running in Oaxaca, Mexico

Distance: 7 miles

Feeling: Lost & without a phone

City Rating: 4/5


My previous post on running in Mexico City mentioned getting lost in an international country and no phone data to bring you safely back to your hotel. It mentioned that at least I had the phone which did tell me where I was on a map but without any well zoomed in information but it helped me get home. 3 days later I make it to Oaxaca. You’d think I’d have learned. I confidently stepped outside and off I went on another 4 mile run. This time with no map downloaded at all and no idea where I was staying. Not even the name of the hostel!

That was all fine as I had a plan. Go down the road 1.5 miles, turn right for about a half mile, back up the road and I’d eventually run a square. Happy days. Nope. Not when you turn right onto a diagonal road and then down a very dark and dodgyish road. It was time to start changing plans and contemplate turning this into an adventure. The roads were quiet as it was early on a Saturday morning. Very few people were up apart from a few runners (which was great to see).

Again, I’m usually very good with directions but Mexico was messing me up for some reason. Instead of north, I went east. This was a big problem as I exited the main city and went residential. Residential means no signs, no plans, no maps and side street after side street. I noted on my strava page that I found all this pretty awesome. I did as it allowed me to practice some of my pigeon spanish on the locals. My goal was to find out the bus station location. From there I knew how to get home.

Attempt 1 – a food stall boy. He hadn’t a clue what I was trying to say. He even laughed at me. Time to go to the far end age bracket. Attempt 2 – a 70(ish) year old shop keeper. She understood after 5 attempts of pronouncing ADO (name of bus) to her. She brought me out onto the street and pointed in the exact opposite direction I was expecting. I hoped she wasn’t messing with me! After a few mins I passed an ADO ticket sales.. Perfect! If this guy couldn’t tell a tourist how to get to his bus station, no one could. He wasn’t bothered with me after he realised he wasn’t getting a sale. He just pointed in one direction and said nothing.

I did arrive back, 3 miles after I intended and after accosting a family one last time to set me right. Neem was getting used to this and to make me feel worse, she had also went for a run without getting lost. What a blow to a guys confidence. I was adamant to learn from this experience as I know I won’t always be running in a safe city.

Oaxaca is a beautiful city full of charming buildings and charming people. Except for that young fella at the food stall of course! It’s easy to run if you stay within the tourist area. There are many pedestrian areas which are good to run in the mornings but would be a nightmare when the tourists and local sellers get going. There is so much to see in this city in terms of architecture & a run around it is the perfect way to do it. Just don’t take the route I did. I saw nothing but chickens!


Running/Cycling Track with a few signs promoting healthy lifestyle
Running/Cycling Track with a few signs promoting healthy lifestyle
Sidewalks and roads are decent but always watch your step
Sidewalks and roads are decent but always watch your step
Pretty Colors
Pretty Colors

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