Day of the Dead Magic in Mitla

Our path along the Pan-America Highway leads us to some of the most iconic villages in Oaxaca. The artisans we visit in San Pablo Villa de Mitla not only talk about and demonstrate their craft, they will discuss their personal experiences and traditions growing up and honoring their ancestors during Day of the Dead. When you participate with us, you will go deep into a rich Zapotec history and culture that pre-dates the Spanish conquest of Oaxaca in 1522 and the settlement of Oaxaca as a colonial capitol.

We offer you a very personal, immersion experience!

We pick you up at 9:30 a.m. at a central location in the Historic District of Oaxaca city and return you there before 4:00 p.m. We will let you know the location two-weeks before the tour.

Why travel with us!

  • We know the culture! We are locally owned and operated.
  • Eric Chavez Santiago is Zapotec, tri-lingual, born and raised in 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.

In San Pablo Villa de Mitla we meet Don Arturo and accompany him to the Panteon Mitla, the cemetery where his mother is buried. We will participate in honoring his mother with offerings, and observe how other families memorialize their loved ones. We then return to Arturo’s weaving studio where he explains the traditional altar, the history and cultural significance of the celebration.

Arturo is a famous weaver who works on the traditional back strap loom with wool. This loom is primarily used by men here because it is wider and heavier than the looms used by women to weave cotton fabric. He is also a master at creating natural dye recipes, and uses the flying shuttle loom, an industrial revolution innovation of the mid-1800’s designed to make large scale lengths of cloth for tables, bedspreads, and curtains. His workmanship is so outstanding, he has been invited to participate in the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market repeatedly.

Don Arturo has a traditional altar. He uses only pre-Hispanic fruits and vegetables to decorate, and the mural behind his altar, featuring the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint, is a sight to behold. This is a time for reflection and understanding of pre-Hispanic traditions blended with Spanish Catholicism that is known as syncretism.

Lunch is a culinary exploration into the traditional foods of the season, with specialties only prepared here in San Pablo Villa de Mitla.

Registration and Cancellation. Tour cost is $155 per person. This includes transportation in a luxury van, bilingual guide services with translation, altar and studio visits, and lunch. Payment in full is required to reserve. In the event cancellation is necessary, we request a 10-day notice (by October 23) to receive a 50% refund. We accept payment with Zelle (no fees) or with a credit card (3.5% fee). Tell us when you are ready to register and we will send you a request for funds.

To reserve, please contact Norma Schafer by email.

Check out our Shop for all things hand-made in Oaxaca and Mexico!

Come with us to Chiapas, February 20-28, 2024

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