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Why Travel With Us
- We know the culture! We are locally owned and operated.
- Eric Chavez Santiago is Zapotec, born and raised in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca.
- Norma Schafer has been living in Oaxaca for almost 20 years.
- We have deep connections with artists and artisans.
- 63% of our travelers repeat -- high ratings, high satisfaction.
- Wide ranging expertise.
- We give you a deep immersion to best know Oaxaca and Mexico.
Creating Connection and Meaning between travelers and with indigenous artisans. Meet makers where they live and work. Join small groups of like-minded explorers. Go deep into remote villages. Gain insights. Support cultural heritage and sustainable traditions ie. hand weaving and natural dyeing. Create value and memories. Enjoy hands-on experiences. Make a difference.
What is a Study Tour: Our programs are learning experiences, and as such we talk with makers about how and why they create, what is meaningful to them, the ancient history of patterning and design, use of color, tradition and innovation, values and cultural continuity, and the social context within which they work. First and foremost, we are educators. Norma worked in top US universities for over 35 years and Eric founded the education department at Oaxaca’s textile museum. We create connection.
OCN Creates Student Scholarship at Oaxaca Learning Center Giving back is a core value. Read about it here!
Why We Left, Expat Anthology: Norma’s Personal Essay
We Contribute Two Chapters!
Meet Makers. Make a Difference
Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC has offered programs in Mexico since 2006. We have over 30 years of university, textile and artisan development experience. See About Us.
Programs can be scheduled to meet your independent travel plans. Send us your available dates.
Designers, retailers, wholesalers, curators, universities and others come to us to develop artisan relationships, customized itineraries, study abroad programs, meetings and conferences. It's our pleasure to make arrangements.
Select Clients *Abeja Boutique, Houston *Selvedge Magazine-London, UK *Esprit Travel and Tours *Penland School of Crafts *North Carolina State University *WARP Weave a Real Peace *Methodist University *MINNA-Goods *Smockingbird Kids *University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Tell us how we can put a program together for you! Send an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Monthly Archives: March 2018
Millions of Monarch Butterflies: A Visit to the Biosphere Reserve in Michoacan, Mexico: Study Tour Details
Arrive Thursday, January 31 and depart Monday, February 11, 2019. Eleven nights and twelve days in the heart of one of Mexico’s greatest folk art centers. Sold Out. Taking a waiting list.
|Th-1/31, Day 1
|Arrive Morelia, overnight in Morelia
|F-2/1, Day 2
|Visit Casa de Artesania in morning. Depart for Patzcuaro at 2 p.m. Stop in Capula on the way (B, D) overnight Patzcuaro, WELCOME DINNER
|Sa-2/2, Day 3
|City and gallery walk, lunch and art history of region, discussion Purepecha indigenous community, visit famous graphic artist and silversmith, plus numerous galleries (B, L)
|Su-2/3, Day 4
|Once Around the Lake – Pottery, markets and embroidery, Tzintzuntzan, village story embroidery, painted pottery. We will visit markets, archeological sites, potter Nicolas Fabian Fermin and needleworker Teofila Servin Barrida (B, L), overnight in Patzcuaro
|M-2/4, Day 5
|Santa Clara del Cobre (B, L) day trip to explore the copper making in this Pueblo Magico and meet the best artisans, overnight in Patzcuaro
|Tu-2/5 and W-2/6, Day 6 & 7
|After breakfast, travel to Pueblo Magico Uruapan, overnight in Uruapan for two nights. Visit Fabrica San Pedro for handmade blankets and La Huatapera in the Maseta Purepecha. (B, L)
Travel to Textile and Mask/Wood Carving villages including Anhuiran. Meet Cecelia Bautista and family rebozo weavers, makers of Paracho guitars and carved masks (B, L), Return to Patzcuaro with overnight on 2/6.
|Th-2/7, Day 8
|Open day in Patzcuaro, evening special event, Patzcuaro overnight (B)
|F-2/8, Day 9
|Depart from Patzcuaro in early morning, arrive to Monarch Butterfly Biosphere and Pueblo Magico Angangueo, overnight in Angangueo (B, L)
|Sa-2/9, Day 10
|Day in Angangueo, depart to Morelia in late afternoon. (B, L)
M-2/11, Day 12
|Day on your own in Morelia. Grand Finale Dinner. (B, D)
Depart Morelia for flights home
This is a preliminary itinerary, although the dates are firm. We reserve the right to adjust the itinerary based on availability of artisans.
The State of Michoacan is one of the most diverse for production of Mexican artisan crafts. Indigenous people here make more than thirty different types of handwork, making it one of the richest states in Mexico for appreciators and collectors of folk art.
You will fly into Morelia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During our week together we will stay in two Pueblo Magicos and explore the history and traditions of the native Purepecha people. You will meet noted artisans who are recognized as Grand Masters of Mexican Folk Art and invited participants to the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, and Feria de Artesanias at Lake Chapala.
These are potters, weavers, silver jewelry makers, mask and furniture wood carvers, luthiers (makers of guitars and violins), lacquer-ware makers, coppersmiths, painters and graphic artists.
As many of you know from participating in other trips with me, our goal is to also get out of the van, walk, explore and discover. This way, we have a deeply intimate experience with the artisans where they live and work: in their homes and studios, off the beaten path. Our goal will be to know those who have already achieved fame and meet those whose talents are yet to be widely promoted.
In the process, we become 21st century explorers ourselves.
I have friends who live in Patzcuaro who are knowledgeable about the region. I will invite them to lead group discussions about regional artisans, folk art, ceremonial practices, and customs. One is a noted photographer and I will invite her to give us a visual overview of the region in our first days.
Our guide comes highly recommended, is bilingual and lives in the area. We will have luxury van transportation to take us to the areas on our itinerary. The places we will visit are safe and secure.
Cost: Double occupancy (shared room with private bath), $2,795 per person Single occupancy (private room/bath) is $3,295 per person
All prices in USD. One-third of the total is due now to reserve. The remaining balance shall be made in two equal payments, the first on August 1, and the second on December 1, 2018.
- Double room deposit to reserve is $932, remainder in two equal payments on August 1 and December 1 = $931.50
- Single room deposit to reserve is $1,099, remainder of balance in two equal payments on August 1 and December 1 = $1,098
If you reserve after August 1 and before December 1, two-thirds of the deposit is due. If you reserve after December 1, full-payment is due.
Trip is limited in group size.
What the Trip Includes:
- 10 nights lodging in excellent accommodations
- 10 breakfasts
- 7 lunches
- 2 dinners
- Bi-lingual guide services
- Michoacan van transportation specified in the itinerary
What the Trip Does Not Include:
- Airport transfers to/from hotel
- Tips, taxes, alcoholic beverages, meals not included in the itinerary
- Travel insurance
Reservations and Cancellations. We accept payment with PayPal only. We will send you an itemized invoice when you tell us you are ready to register. After December 1, 2018, refunds are not possible. If there is a cancelation on or before December 1, 50% of your deposit will be refunded. Aft that, there are no refunds.
All documentation for plane reservations, required travel insurance, and personal health issues must be received 45 days before the program start or we reserve the right to cancel your registration without reimbursement.
Required–Travel Health/Accident Insurance: We require that you carry international accident/health/emergency evacuation insurance with at least $50,000 of medical evacuation coverage. Proof of insurance must be sent at least 45 days before departure. In addition, we will send you by email a PDF of a witnessed waiver of responsibility, holding harmless Norma Schafer and Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC. We ask that you return this to us by email 45 days before departure. Unforeseen circumstances happen! Be certain your passport has at least six months on it before it expires from the date you enter Mexico!
Plane Tickets, Arrivals/Departures: Please send us your plane schedule at least 45 days before the trip. This includes name of carrier, flight numbers, arrival and departure time.
Who Should Attend • Textile and fashion designers • Weavers, embroiderers and collectors • Wholesalers/retailers who want a direct source • Photographers and artists who want inspiration • Anyone who loves cloth, culture and collaboration
Terrain, Walking and Group Courtesy: We will do a bit of walking. Being here is a walker’s delight because there are pedestrian streets, although there are also hills. The altitude is 7,000 feet PLUS. If you have mobility issues or health/breathing impediments, please let us know before you register.
This may not be the study tour for you.
Traveling with a small group has its advantages and also means that independent travelers will need to make accommodations to group needs and schedule. We include free time to go off on your own if you wish.
INDIO owner Wendy Sease recently traveled with me to Chiapas. She bought up beautiful treasures for her shop. I’ve just returned to my apartment in Durham, North Carolina, for a couple of months with three suitcases filled with textiles and jewelry. We decided to collaborate.
YOU ARE INVITED. Bring a friend.
Plus, the BIG news is that my godson, twenty-three year old Omar Chavez Santiago, a recent industrial engineering university graduate, just received his FIRST 10-year visa to visit the USA. This is a really big deal, since the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City is pretty thrifty in giving visas.
Omar plans to talk about the 100% natural dyes used to color the pure churro sheep wool his family at Galeria Fe y Lola uses in the rugs they weave and give demonstrations. He will have beautiful tapestry rugs for sale, too. They come in all sizes.
Brick and mortar sales are hard for people who live far away. I know that. Look for a few pieces I’ll be offering online in the next few weeks, too.
Mexico’s Ex-Votos are naive folk art that tell a story of thanksgiving for being saved from near-death or disaster. Yes, it was a miracle to survive. Usually, the person who escaped tragedy would hire a local artist to paint a tin square depicting the scene. The message of thanks may have included many misspellings, as the painters were not educated. They often include depictions of the saint to whom the supplicant is sending prayers of thanks.
Original, vintage ex-votos were taken to a nearby shrine where the person, with hammer and nail, would affix the small painting to a tree or post or altar. Hence vintage ex-votos usually always have a crude hole in the top center of the plaque.
Today, I am offering six ex-votos for sale. One is a vintage piece from the 1930’s. The others are reproductions recently painted by Mexico City folk artisan Rafael Rodriguez. I acquired these from a Mexico City collector.
Below, by the miracle of faith, Lupema Lora Rosales is saved. We even see her photo in the ex-voto.
To Buy: Please send me an email tell me which one you want. Please identify it by the NUMBER and include your mailing address. I will send you a PayPal invoice for the piece plus shipping cost based on your location. I will ship to the USA and Canada. Thank you very much.
Below, a Franciscan friar gives his blessing when the four-headed monster is vanquished.
Below, the Virgin of Guadalupe is watching over Aristarco Lima!
Below, a duel NOT to the death, thanks to the Virgin of Soledad.
Ex-votos are often exaggerations with larger-than-life figures illustrating the peril that was dodged.