Much of the exploits of a journey comes from plunging to a foreign culture whose customs may be very different from your own culture. As all cities in the world, Oaxaca also has customs that make it a unique place. Here are some Oaxaca customs that you should know before traveling to the city:


People of Oaxaca tend to wear more formal dress in social and business settings than their American counterparts. Sandals and shorts attract raised eyebrows in restaurants. Suits are the norm in the workplace, even on Fridays.


In social gatherings, women often greet each other with a kiss on the cheek, even if it is their first time to meet. Men who already know each other greet with a hug as well as a slap on the back. In business settings, people greet each other by handshake. It is, however, unacceptable in social ones.


Oaxaca lunchtime, considered the day’s most important meal, begins around 2 pm or 3 pm, usually lasting a couple of hours. Many people who live near their workplace have their lunch at home with family. Unlike in the US, it is very common for Oaxacans to have alcoholic drinks while having a meal, even on business meals.


Tipping is one of the Oaxacan customs you need to observe. Waiters in the city expect tips between 10% and 15%, while hotel bellhops expect a $2 tip. While taxi drivers do not expect tips, it is customary that you round up the bill.

Personal space

When they speak, Oaxacan people stand closely to each other. Also, do not be surprised if you get to be touched when talking to a local. It is very common for a local to touch you on the arm or shoulder occasionally while speaking.


Haggling is very common in Oaxaca open-air markets. To haggle, you should offer half of the original selling price and then bargain up from there. However, you cannot use at formal establishments.

Fashionably late

One of the more fascinating Oaxaca customs is arriving at a social gathering much later than the start time. So do not be surprised if you arrive at an event on time and see that you are all alone there. Arriving on time is usually considered rude as many hosts expect guests to be at least 30-minute late. But arriving late at business meetings is much less tolerated.