Recognized as the culinary capital of Mexico, Oaxaca is irresistible to anyone interested in food and drink. It's the birthplace of mezcal, the agave-based ancestor of tequila, and mole, the family of rich sauces found throughout the country. The city is home to many artists, with a thriving gallery scene in the center of town. Strolling through the city's main market is entertainment in itself, offering a dazzling array of colors, scents, and sounds.
Even after dining out and seeing some sights, it's a challenge to spend more than $100 a day in Oaxaca. Accommodations can be found for well under $50 a night for a private room, breakfast included. Tours of nearby attractions, such as the incredible Monte Albán, cost as little as $5 including transportation to and from the city. Meals at one of the many restaurants, such as an extravagant lunch of mole and tortillas, should be around $20 or less. A trip to a mezcaleria or a taste of the traditional spirit starts at $5 a glass and a late-night snack of tlayuda (a Mexican pizza) is another $5.