If you’re itching to take to the road (or the skies) for an adventure, you have plenty of options. You can go to a frequently visited country and fit in with all the other tourists, or you can choose to take an unconventional trip. If you’re an adventurous traveler, you should consider vacationing in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Here are five reasons why this may be the trip of a lifetime.

5 Outlandishly Unique Things to Do in Oaxaca, Mexico

When taking a vacation, you can only go to so many museums and historical sites. And after a while, luxury hotels all start to look the same. But if you want to go off the beaten path, Oaxaca, Mexico offers the perfect opportunity. It’s the ideal locale for foodies, art lovers, beach enthusiasts, caffeine aficionados, and anyone else who wants a little spice with their vacation.

Let’s explore some of the fun and exciting things you can do when visiting Oaxaca, Mexico.

1. (Don’t) get your head out of the clouds

If you’re known to have your head in the clouds, visiting the cloud forest in Oaxaca, Mexico should be on your bucket list. These forests were forever engrained in our imagination when J.R.R. Tolkien used them as inspiration for the hamlets where the elves lived.

The forests are tropical in nature and home to colorful birds, free roaming moss, grapes, and ancient trees. And the forests are constantly damp due to the thick fog that hands over them.

I have driven through the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico, and experienced the feeling of being in the clouds with my feet on the ground. And I’m here to tell you that the experience is well worth the trip to Oaxaca, Mexico.

Here’s a short video that will give you some visuals:

2. Wait, they eat that? How do I cook it?

If your adventurous spirit extends to your palate, you will love your options in Oaxaca, Mexico. The culture of the state is all about the food, and the locals provide plenty of opportunities for travelers to participate.

For example, you can take cooking classes at the Chiles and Chocolate Kitchen in Huatulco, which is in Oaxaca, Mexico. There, you’ll learn how to make some of the State’s traditional dishes such as tortillas, sopas, mole, and oven roasted and seasoned shrimp.

But you can also take more unconventional cooking classes. You can learn how to cook shrimp mousse, poblano and nopales (cactus) empanadas, and chapulines (toasted grasshoppers)

If your foodie vibes extend to alcohol, you’ll love visiting the many artisanal mescal distilleries in the central valleys of Oaxaca, Mexico. When visiting these distilleries, you can watch the artisans roast the maguey pinas in earthen pits, see the stone mills in action, and learn how they distill the drink in copper stills.

Of course, no mescal tour is complete without sampling variations of the alcohol. And if you’re brave enough, you can even try the mescal de pechuga. It’s made using a raw chicken during distillation. People say the process produces a fruity, delicate mescal that many locals use for weddings and baptisms.

3. Express yourself

If a vacation filled with art is your idea of bliss, you should think about visiting the Casa Wabi in Puerto Escondido, which is in Oaxaca, Mexico. This retreat and studio received the Best New Museum in Central and Southern Mexico Award from the Leading Culture Destinations Award.

And Tadao Ando, who is a celebrity architect from Japan, designed the buildings. The art center sits right at the seashore and features minimalist décor and architecture.

You can also see the Casa Observatorio. Gabriel Orozco, the Mexican artist, built this home to resemble an astronomical observatory. And this home is open to visitors and sits along the windswept coast.

4. Feel the sand between your toes

Do you love the feel of the wind as you’re standing on the edge of the sea? Or maybe you like to dive in the crystal blue water and swim in rhythm to the waves. Whether you’re looking for a sandy beach or some of the biggest waves in the world, you’ll find it in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Just relax

For instance, go to Playa Roca Blanca (White Rock Beach) to observe the hundreds of sea birds that gather there daily. And while you're visiting this beach, you can sit in a hammock at one of the seaside restaurants, or relax under a palapa for shade.

Let them go

If you want to connect with nature, go to Playa Bacocho and release some baby turtles. At 5 pm every day, volunteers open the sanctuary, and tourists can help them release the baby turtles that hatched that day.

Catch a smallish wave

If you want to learn to surf, Playa Carrizalillo is the place to be. And getting there is half the fun. You will need to walk down 167 stone steps to land on this isolated beach. Once there, you will find the beach in a cove, which makes it the perfect place for beginner surfers.

And although the waves are strong enough to power a surfboard, they aren’t too strong for beginners. And you won’t need to carry your own board down all those steps either — just rent one from one of two vendors on the beach! If you’re an expert surfer, Playa Zicatela is the place to be.

The ultimate view

If you love relaxing on the beach, Punta Cometa is a great place to visit. You can sit on the edge of a cliff at sunset and watch the sun disappear into the sea. You’ll find the cliff on the extreme southern tip of Mexico. The cliff is named the Ventanilla, which means the window. It’s within walking distance of Mazunte Beach.

5. Another cup, por favor

If you love coffee, Oaxaca, Mexico is an excellent place to visit. Pluma Hidalgo is a fragrant town in Oaxaca, Mexico that sits inside the cloud forest. And it’s known for its coffee. As you wander the streets of the pueblo, you’ll inhale the fresh scent of what some consider the world’s best coffee.

And after you’ve consumed all that coffee, spend your energy hiking, bird watching, or touring the artisanal mescal distilleries in the area.

Are You Ready to Go to Oaxaca, Mexico?

If you’re an adventurous person, traveling to places that are off the beaten path is a no brainer. And Oaxaca, Mexico easily fits the bill. Whether you want calm, sandy beaches or you want to surf, Oaxaca, Mexico has it. But if you’d rather taste unusual flavors and food, or lie on a hammock and sip coffee all day, you’ll find it in Oaxaca, Mexico, too.

Have you been to Oaxaca, Mexico? If so, we would love to hear about your adventures in the comment section below. Where did you go? And what was your favorite part of the trip?