Deep Into the Mixteca Alta: Oaxaca Textile + Folk Art Study Tour

5 nights, 6 days, March 7-12, 2024

We go deep into the Mixteca Alta, a mountainous region of the Sierra Madre del Sur in the north of Oaxaca state that is situated between the capital city and the Oaxaca coast. Home to Mixtec-speaking people and other language groups (among them Chatino, Zapotec, Triqui). This tour will explore the predominantly Mixtec pueblos situated a few hours northwest of the city, her history, landscape, and handcrafts including textiles, ceramic, and palm weaving. This will be our first offering of this destination which is far off-the-beaten-path where tourists don’t usually travel. Nestled in the folds of the mountain range are villages that are still making utilitarian and beautiful objects just as they have for centuries.

Wintering in Oaxaca? Wrap up your stay with this adventure into the Mixteca Alta!

We are going to an important Oaxaca source for basket weaving, back-strap loom weaving, silk cultivation, and pottery. We invite you to round out your knowledge of Oaxaca beyond the central valleys of the Zapotec capital to learn more about some of the 16 diverse indigenous groups that inhabit the state.

Our road into the mountains will be winding and there are distances to travel. Some days, we may be in the van for an hour or two at a time. While we won’t do a lot of walking or hiking on this route, we ask that you be travel-ready with stamina for a road trip and an unparalleled adventure.

Day 1, Thursday, March 7: Arrive in Oaxaca city, lodging in the city one night. Overnight: Oaxaca City.  Meals included: none

Day 2, Friday, March 8: Today, we get on the road first to visit Santo Domingo Yanhuitlan convent and learn about its history. This imposing structure was built just 20 years after the conquest in the 16th Century by the Dominican order atop an important Mixtec temple site – a trading center, religious and cultural hub for the region.

Then, we explore Geopark Mixteca Alta, which is considered to be the most geologically complex region of Mexico. This community project is part of the UNESCO Global Geopark system and showcases the biodiversity and amazing landscape formed by erosion and layers of million-year-old rocks caused by the interaction between nature and society.

Here, amid this beautiful landscape we find a workshop of traditional potters in the town of Tonaltepec that use natural fermentation inks from barks of the local trees to create a special decoration on the pottery pieces made here. Lunch with the family.

Overnight in Tlaxiaco. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch

How to Register:  First, complete the Registration Form and send it to us and tell us which payment method you want to us to make your deposit.

To Register, Policies, Procedures & Cancellations–Please Read

Day 3, Saturday, March 9: This is market day in Tlaxiaco and we will get there early, right after breakfast. This is the largest market of the region, where artisans come to sell palm weavings, textiles, leather work and ceramics. After wandering the market and lunch, we travel to San Andres Chicahuaxtla, where we will meet a cooperative of Triqui pueblo weavers who specialize in supplementary weft and very fine gauze weaving techniques on a back strap loom. On our way back to Tlaxiaco, we will stop in Santa Maria Cuquila to meet a cooperative of weavers who specialize in creating traditional huipiles with back strap looms.

Overnight: Tlaxiaco. Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

Day 4, Sunday, March 10: A place I’ve always wanted to go! Come with us to El Porvenir, San Pablo Tijaltepec to meet a collective of embroiderers. They specialize in the technique of smocking that produces whimsical figures depicting wildlife and barnyard animals on the bodice design. After lunch with this group, we travel on to San Mateo Peñasco, where we will learn about the silk production. The town traditionally supplies cultivated silk to the coastal weavers of the Mixteca Baja. Silk, a protein-based fiber, absorbs cochineal, caracol purpura and indigo like none other!

Overnight in Tlaxiaco. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch

Day 5, Monday, March 11:

After a leisurely breakfast, we return to Oaxaca city where you will have the afternoon on your own, but along the way we stop in Nochixtlan for lunch and market day. Gather in the evening for a Gala Grand Finale Dinner at a highly-rated city restaurant.

Overnight: Oaxaca City. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6. Tuesday, March 12: Return to your home countries or extend your trip in Oaxaca on your own.

Travel Day. Meals included: None

Note: Schedule is preliminary and is subject to change throughout our tour, depending on artisan availability, etc.

What Is Included

  • 5 nights lodging at top-rated hotels
  • 4 breakfasts
  • 4 lunches
  • Grand Finale Gala Dinner in Oaxaca City
  • Museum and park entry fees
  • Luxury van transportation
  • Complete guide and translation services

The tour does NOT include airfare, taxes, tips, travel insurance, liquor or alcoholic beverages, some meals, and local transportation as specified in the itinerary. We reserve the right to substitute artisans, guides, and alter the program as needed.

Cost • $2,395 double room with private bath (sleeps 2) • $2,995 single room with private bath (sleeps 1)

Reservations and Cancellations.  A $500 non-refundable deposit is required to guarantee your spot. The balance is due in two equal payments. The second payment of 50% of the balance is due on or before October 15, 2023. The third 50% payment of the balance is due on or before January 7, 2024. We accept payment using online e-commerce only. We will send you an itemized invoice when you tell us you are ready to register. After January 7, 2024, there are no refunds. If you cancel on or before January 7, we will refund 50% of your deposit received to date less the $500 non-refundable reservation deposit. After that, there are no refunds.

If we cancel for whatever reason, we will offer a 100% refund of all amounts received to date, less the non-refundable deposit.

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.

NOTE: All travelers must provide proof of vaccination for COVID-19 and bring 6 antigen testing kits to travel with and test along the way. You must also wear CDC-approved face masks, use hand-sanitizer, and maintain all public health precautions as requested.

How to Register:  First, complete the Registration Form and send it to us. We will then send you an invoice to make your reservation deposit.

To Register, Policies, Procedures & Cancellations–Please Read

Terrain, Walking and Group Courtesy: The Mixteca Alta is almost 7,000 feet high. To get there, one must ascend secondary roads that are paved yet winding. We will do some walking in the villages and in the Geopark. If you have motion sickness, please bring medication and ginger chews. We rotate seating on the van to give everyone a chance to sit up front! We recommend you bring a walking stick and wear sturdy shoes.

NOTE: If you have mobility issues or health/breathing impediments, please consider that this may not be the program 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 plenty of free time to go off on your own if you wish.

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