Mexico City, Puebla, Tlaxcala Discovery Tour: Textiles+Art History+Archeology


We do a full-circle over ten days, starting in Mexico City to explore the art of the Mexican Muralists concentrating on Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Then, we move on to Puebla, where Talavera tile was introduced by Moorish artisans to build this new Spanish city at the strategic crossroad between CDMX and Veracruz. Here, pottery, antiques, innovative cuisine, and compelling museums await us. In Tlaxcala, an independent city-state before the conquest, we find the artisan weaving studio of Netzahualcoyotl where traditional serapes made with natural dyes are rediscovered from ancient murals. For inspiration, the studio studies the frescoes of two nearby archeological sites which we visit, too. We return you to the Mexico City airport for home or to go on to discover more of Mexico.

Wednesday, January 31: Travel to CDMX, check in to our hotel in Mexico City’s historic center, meet for a no-host dinner at 6:00 p.m. in hotel lobby with those who have arrived by late afternoon.

Overnight in Mexico City. Meals included: None

Thursday, February 1: In Mexico City, we concentrate on the art history of Mexican Muralism movement and the beginnings of the new Republic in the era following the 10-year Mexican Revolution of 1910.  Here, we focus on the work of Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros, plus the surrealist paintings and life of Frida Kahlo.

After breakfast, we begin the day with a private tour of Rivera’s earliest Mexico City murals at the Secretariat de Educacion Publica (SEP), move on to the murals at Colegio San Ildefonso where student Frida Kahlo first met Rivera, and then walk to the nearby Abelardo Rodriguez Market where US and European acolytes of Diego Rivera made their own mark with some extraordinary murals, including Pablo O’Higgins.

Overnight in Mexico City. Meals included: Breakfast and gala group welcome lunch

Friday, February 2: Today, after breakfast, we see Rivera’s outstanding murals at Palacio Bellas Artes, Palacio Nacional, and the Museo Mural de Diego Rivera. These murals, painted in the 1930’s and 1940’s, reflect Rivera’s maturity and development as a political activist. He depicts the history of the Conquest and the emergence of Mexico City as a vibrant center for artistic expression. After lunch, you may want to explore on your own Tenochtitlan, the ancient Aztec capital, which is now an outstanding archeological site two blocks from our hotel.

Overnight in Mexico City. Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

Saturday, February 3: We go first to the Bazaar Sabado in San Angel to explore a once-a-week contemporary art market that features designer clothing, folk and fine art, craft paintings.  Then, we move to Coyoacan to have lunch before visiting Casa Azul, the home that Frida Kahlo shared with Diego Rivera, and where Leon Trotsky first stayed when he fled Russia.  Frida Kahlo now claims more notoriety around the world than her famous husband, to whom she was married twice! We understand her life and art by visiting this outstanding property.

Overnight in Mexico City. Meals included: Breakfast and lunch.

Sunday, February 4: Spend the day on your own in Mexico City. You may want to go to Tenochtitlan, Teotihuacan, or the archeological museum. You may want to see the Franz Mayer Museum or go to the Mercado San Juan. We meet together in late afternoon for a presentation of fine Mexican textiles by noted cultural anthropologist Marta Turok, and then gather for an early group dinner at one of the city’s most outstanding restaurants.

Overnight in Mexico City. Meals included: Breakfast and dinner.


Monday, February 5: After a leisurely breakfast, we travel by van to the colonial city of Puebla. Here the Spanish built a new town at the crossroads between Veracruz and the now Pan-American Highway. We spend the afternoon on foot orienting you to Puebla. Stunning tile roofs and facades decorate colonial buildings, a technique brought to New Spain by the Moors. This is a foodie town, the birthplace of Chiles en Nogada, created by nuns to celebrate Mexican Independence from Spain in 1821. It is also the source of Mole Poblano, a mild, sweet chili sauce that pairs so well with any meat, fish, and vegetables. We will focus on the ceramics, textiles, and colonial influences in Puebla.

Overnight in Puebla. Meals included: Breakfast and lunch.

Tuesday, February 6: Today, we set out to Cholula, an original pueblo and archeological site with an amazing, gilded church built atop the pre-Hispanic temple created by the local indigenous people to honor the god Quetzalcoatl. This site is still recognized as the largest pyramid in the entire world by total volume in cubic meters. Climb to the top to experience stunning views of the surrounding area. Then, wander Cholula to explore boutiques and ancient churches. On our return to Puebla, we make a stop at Talavera de la Reina workshop.

Overnight in Puebla. Meals included: Breakfast and lunch.


Wednesday, February 7: After breakfast, we continue our explorations with artisan and Talavera ceramic tile visits, then enjoy a Goodbye Puebla gala lunch at an outstanding, award-winning restaurant. In the afternoon, we travel by van to Tlaxcala and check-in to our hotel. Evening free to wander the historic city. Overnight in Tlaxcala. Meals included: Breakfast and lunch.

Thursday, February 8: After breakfast, we go to two very important Tlaxcala archeological sites that provide inspiration to the weavers we visit later today – Cacaxtla and Xochitecatl. Frescoes painted on ancient walls in natural pigments depict life and ceremonies before the Conquest. Tlaxcala was a pre-Hispanic city-state led by Chief Xicotencatl who wanted to retain independence from the Aztecs, so they sided with the Spanish to overturn the empire. They were handsomely rewarded as a result and lived peaceably for generations.

After lunch, we meet with Netzahualcoyotl design and weaving studio. This studio, in operation since the late 1800’s, has revived the Mexican serape with innovate designs using all natural dyes. They have exhibited at Original and are recognized by the Mexican government as an important contributor to indigenous culture. In addition, Norma wrote an article for Selvedge Magazine, an international textile publication, that was featured in the November 2022 issue

Overnight in Tlaxcala.  Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, gala final dinner

Friday, February 9: After breakfast, We will explore historic Tlaxcala together in the morning; the afternoon is on your own. Time to do some packing and shipping. We’ll have a late afternoon Regrets Sale, followed by the Grand Finale dinner.

Overnight in Tlaxcala. Meals included: Breakfast grand gala final dinner

Saturday, February 10: Depart. we return you by van to Benito Juarez International Airport in CDMX for your flights home.  Please do not schedule flights to depart before 3:00 p.m. or you may choose to spend the night at the Camino Real Hotel at the airport.

Departure day. Meals included: Breakfast

Cost to Participate

  • $3,395 shared double room with private bath (sleeps 2)
  • $4,195 for a single supplement (private room and bath, sleeps 1)

Your Oaxaca Cultural Navigator: Eric Chavez Santiago

Eric Chavez Santiago is a Oaxaca Cultural Navigator partner with Norma Schafer. He joined us in 2022.  Eric is an expert in Oaxaca and Mexican textiles and folk art with a special interest in artisan development and promotion. He is a weaver and natural dyer by training and a fourth-generation member of a distinguished weaving family, the Fe y Lola textile group. He and his wife Elsa Sanchez Diaz started Taller Teñido a Mano dye studio where they produce naturally dyed yarn skeins and textiles for worldwide distribution. He is trilingual, speaking Zapotec, Spanish and English and is a native of Teotitlan del Valle. He is a graduate of Anahuac University, founder of the Museo Textil de Oaxaca education department, and former managing director of the Harp Helu Foundation folk-art gallery Andares del Arte Popular. He has intimate knowledge of local traditions, culture, and community and personally knows all the artisans we visit on this tour.

Oaxaca Cultural Navigator Founder Norma Schafer may participate in all or part of this tour.

Reservations and Cancellations.  A $500 non-refundable deposit is required to guarantee your place. The balance is due in two equal payments. The second payment of 50% of the balance is due on or before August 15, 2023. The third payment, 50% balance, is due on or before November 15, 2023. We accept payment using Zelle, Venmo, PayPal or Square. For a Zelle transfer, there is no service fee.  We add a 3% service fee to use Venmo, PayPal or Square. We will send you a request for funds to make your deposit when you tell us you are ready to register.

After November 15, 2023, there are no refunds. If you cancel on or before November 15, 2023, we will refund 50% of your deposit received to date (less the $500 non-refundable deposit). After that, there are no refunds UNLESS we cancel for any reason. If we cancel, you will receive a full 100% refund.*

Required–Travel Health/Accident Insurance: We require that you carry international accident/health insurance that includes $50,000+ of emergency medical evacuation insurance. Check out Forbes Magazine for best travel insurance options.

Proof of insurance must be sent at least 45 days before departure.

About COVID. Covid is still with us, and new variants continue to arise. We request proof of lastest COVID-19 vaccination and all boosters to be sent 45 days before departure. We ask that you test two days before traveling to the tour, and that you send us the results. During the tour, we ask that you do a self-test 48 hours after arrival and then periodically thereafter if you feel you have been exposed. Facemasks are strongly suggested for van travel, densely populated market visits, and artisan visits that are held indoors. We ask this to keep all travelers safe, and to protect indigenous populations who are at higher risk. Many Mexicans have not had access to vaccine or boosters, and the only available vaccines widely used here are from China, which do not provide adequate protection.

Be certain your passport has at least six months on it before it expires from the date you enter Mexico! It’s a Mexico requirement.

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