Oaxaca to Puebla: Bus or plane & bus?

Old Jan 6th, 2023, 05:33 PM
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Oaxaca to Puebla: Bus or plane & bus?

We will be traveling from Oaxaca to Puebla in late February and I’m trying to decide between taking the long distance bus or taking a plane to Mexico City and taking the bus from there.

I’m looking at the ADO site and I see that there are many buses during the day, and they take between 4:40 hours and 5:05 hours. Although they’re all called “luxury”, there seems to be a big difference in the class of bus, and the platino class bus (that is, the better class) only appears to run in the late afternoon. There are 27 seats in this bus and it looks very comfortable. The other buses are the primera class, which have 44 seats, and are described as not as comfortable and not ideal for a long bus ride.

The flights are just 1 1/4 hours between Oaxaca and the airport in Mexico City, where we would take a 2-hour bus ride to Puebla.

Would you take the more comfortable late afternoon bus (leaves around 3:30pm) or take the flight and bus from the airport? If we fly, we can leave earlier in the day and will have more options for flights and buses, though it seems easier to take just one bus compared to using multiple forms of transportation. Still, don’t want to sit in a less comfortable bus for a 4-5 hour bus ride.

Last edited by progol; Jan 6th, 2023 at 05:35 PM.
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Old Jan 6th, 2023, 05:54 PM
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I'd take the bus.
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Old Jan 6th, 2023, 06:10 PM
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The difference between the Platino line and 1st class is that the Platino seats recline to a near horizontal position, while 1st class probably about half of that. Platino has 1 row of seats 2 abreast, and the other row is just of single seating, so it has a wider aisle. And more leg room. While 1st class has 2 rows of 2 seats abreast. The ADO 1st class is quite comfortable and just fine, imo, and will be much roomier than a plane and the same as the bus to Puebla from MEX. I think the Platino seats are designed to sleep in on longer drives. Time wise, what with getting to OAX at least an hour ahead of time, if not 2, then flying, then bus to Puebla, it's pretty much a push. What I like about the bus ride is the stunning scenery through the Tehuacan biosphere reserve. Book seats on the driver's side of the bus for the view.

Last edited by baldone; Jan 6th, 2023 at 06:40 PM.
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Old Jan 6th, 2023, 06:35 PM
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Thanks Fra and baldone. The description is very helpful and the bus definitely seems like the way to go. I’m glad to know the primera is comfortable enough for the trip.
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Old Jan 7th, 2023, 11:01 AM
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The bus it is. How far in advance should we get the tickets or should we wait till we get there?
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Old Jan 7th, 2023, 02:32 PM
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You can wait until you get there. Often, you can wait until the day of your travel unless it's a holiday. That said, I typically buy my tickets a day ahead of time online so I can get the seats I want. On some routes I don't care where I sit. But on the Puebla route, as I suggested, try to get seats on the driver's side. You can pay with PayPal.
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Old Jan 7th, 2023, 04:28 PM
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Thanks baldone,
Wouldn’t I use a credit card? I don’t have PayPal anymore and would be happier to use the CC.
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Old Jan 7th, 2023, 07:07 PM
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In my experience, few Mexican bus companies accept foreign (non-mexican) credit cards for online payments. You can probably use a 3rd party site such as Busbud or Clickbus. I've paid on Clickbus with a US credit card in the past before I had a Mexican debit card. Some bus tickets you can buy at OXXO's but I dont believe ADO is one of them. The Oaxaca bus station is only a 15 minute walk from your lodging, so if you were so inclined, you could simply walk over, grab a coffee on the way and buy/reserve in advance. The area near and around Parque Llano is pleasant to walk through. Many travelers just wait until the day/hour of their departure; I'm not necessarily one of them once I know for sure when I want to leave. One less distraction before moving on.
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Old Jan 8th, 2023, 03:33 AM
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Thanks, baldone, for the explanation and information. That’s very helpful!
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Old Jan 8th, 2023, 12:35 PM
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I paid for several ADO tickets with a US credit card (Cap One World Mastercard) in January 2020. I can't remember for sure if I bought them same day, but probably so, and definitely while I was in Mexico. I used my credit card nearly everywhere. I had a hard time getting cash from ATMs in the Yucatan. I wound up buying some pesos from fellow birding tour participants on the morning that they flew back home and was conserving my cash throughout my month long stay.

Last edited by mlgb; Jan 8th, 2023 at 12:46 PM.
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Old Jan 8th, 2023, 02:19 PM
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Thanks, mlgb! Very helpful!
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Old Jan 8th, 2023, 04:07 PM
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Mlgb, that's good to know. I haven't tried my US plastic for a while. And we primarily use ETN & Primera Plus in our neck of the woods.
BTW, there is also an ADO (Boletotal) ticket office just off of the NW corner of the Zócalo.
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Old Jan 26th, 2023, 04:34 PM
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I will be taking this same route in May. I will be taking a 15 night-total solo trip, to Oaxaca-Puebla-Mexico City. This will be my first time in Mexico. I read that Mexicans typically wait until the last minute to buy bus tickets. Do you suggest that a good plan would be, to put up with some uncertainly as a first time traveler and go to the bus stations in Oaxaca and Puebla to buy a bus ticket one or more days before the day of my trips to Puebla and Mexico City?
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Old Jan 27th, 2023, 11:30 AM
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I don't think there is any reason to physically go to a terminal days before your trip. Most of them are not in the center of town. You can check online ahead of time on the ADO website to see if the buses you want are selling out. You also may be able to purchase a ticket online but maybe that would be difficult for you. I think I just bought my ticket in Puebla in person on the day of travel although I would likely have scoped out which terminal and which bus I wanted. I would not have prepurchased my ticket from CDMX to Puebla because I would not have trusted my inbound flight to be on time.
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Old Jan 27th, 2023, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by michaelpianko
I will be taking this same route in May. I will be taking a 15 night-total solo trip, to Oaxaca-Puebla-Mexico City. This will be my first time in Mexico. I read that Mexicans typically wait until the last minute to buy bus tickets. Do you suggest that a good plan would be, to put up with some uncertainly as a first time traveler and go to the bus stations in Oaxaca and Puebla to buy a bus ticket one or more days before the day of my trips to Puebla and Mexico City?
I wouldn't say buying tickets 1 or more days before the day of your trip is exactly putting up with some uncertainty. Unless the uncertainty is that you won't be or aren't yet certain of your return dates. Some people buy their return ticket on the day of their arrival just for the convenience. But just do according to your travel style. Which seems to me like you probably would want to buy in advance.
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Old Jan 28th, 2023, 10:42 AM
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I took that bus, it was nice as there is some good scenery.

I don't remember which service I took but given buses are relatively cheap in Mexico, probably the highest class if it fit my schedule.

As I recall there was some issue with getting the tickets in advance, I've had that problem with various Mexican services, sometimes they won't accept American credit cards online as I recall or I don't know what. I remember once I had to go to the ticket office to get an event ticket in Mexico City as somehow they couldn't or wouldn't send an eticket. I also seem to remember some problem in Guanajuato with a bus ticket and somehow my hotel got it for me, but that's a small town and I think their staff went and got it for me. It was one of the more expensive hotels that had concierge service. Ive had that problem in Cancun also with the bus tickets.

You book specific seats, I don't want to leave that to last minute, I care what seat I get, I want window and not near the bathrooms.

Found the eticket, it was an ADO Primera and I bought it and got an eticket on Ticketbus and I got a reserved seat number. it cost 430 MXN which is now about US$23. I don't know what CC I used but obviously I did use one as I bought it online and got an e-ticket. I bought it two months in advance.

I don't know why you prefer uncertainty. I don't like uncertainty on trips when I have an itinerary and have to get somewhere and I want to pick my own seat. It's a very long and scenic ride. I have no interest in spending my time on vacation going to bus stations to buy tickets. Oaxaca isn't that small and these tickets aren't really that expensive. But if you don't mind those issues, sure, you can do it in person. The ADO station is about 2 km from the zocalo in Oaxaca.

This is the website
ticketbus.com.mx

YOu just use the search box on upper RH, picking you want an "autobus" ticket and then filling in proper info, etc. I don't know if that website is in English, I used it in Spanish. It may be the same as the ADO site itself, they own miescapes which is more their travel agency website.

I did the same thing for my ticket from PUebla to Mexico City, I'm sure, as I did go on to that city. Both cities are fairly large. The ADO bus station is about 4 km from the historic center of Puebla, I think. I remember it seemed fairly nectic and busy getting there by cab.
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Old Jan 29th, 2023, 02:49 PM
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I wouldn't buy round trip bus tickets. I just need 2 one way tickets, Oaxaca to Puebla, then Puebla to Mexico City. Would you say that buses in Mexico are like in Greece, because in Greece before my trip I concluded that the long-distance bus schedules were not online or not completely online and my best plan would be to buy my tickets at the last minuet at the stations. I was actually able to buy my tickets at the last minuet at the stations. I know Mexico is a different country but would you say my best plan is just to buy my tickets at the last minute in cash in pesos and just hope I get a seat on a bus?
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Old Jan 29th, 2023, 03:28 PM
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You are correct Michael that paying pesos is a good way to buy bus tickets.

Many Mexicans buy their tickets at the last minute at the station, especially for short routes such as Puebla-to-Mexico City, But. sometimes that doesn't work as well for longer journeys during holiday periods when lots of people are simultaneously on the move. So, consider possibly buying your Oaxaca-to-Puebla ticket a day or two in advance, either at the station or an Oxxo convenience store. Later you could obtain your Puebla-to-Mexico City ticket by buying it at a ticket booth in the station when you first arrive there from Oaxaca. Or, if you are not initially sure how precisely long you'll stay in Puebla, you could delay buying the ongoing ticket until you make that trip. Either way, things will work out fine for you.

Last edited by chrisdaniel0933; Jan 29th, 2023 at 03:36 PM.
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Old Jan 29th, 2023, 05:50 PM
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Christina said: "But if you don't mind those issues, sure, you can do it in person. The ADO station is about 2 km from the zocalo in Oaxaca"
As I mentioned in my post #12, there is an ADO ticket office just steps off the NW corner of the Zócalo, at Boletotal.
Chris Daniel said: "consider possibly buying your Oaxaca-to-Puebla ticket a day or two in advance, either at the station or an Oxxo convenience store."
I do not believe you can reserve & buy ADO tickets at OXXO, only pay for them after you reserve online. Open to be corrected. OXXO doesn't list ADO as a carrier for which you can reserve & buy tickets on their website. But then again, they mention 18 carriers available for purchase at stores, but I only count 16. Their FAQ's say 17 instead of 18. And I've had experiences where the oxxo clerk wasn't trained in selling tickets. Poster mlgb mentioned she bought tickets online with her US credit card.
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Old Jan 29th, 2023, 07:31 PM
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I paid with my credit card but bought the tickets at the stations IIRC.
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