Deep Into the Mixteca Alta: Oaxaca Textile + Folk Art Study Tour 2025

5 nights, 6 days, March 12-17, 2025 — Starting and ending in Oaxaca City

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. This area is home to Mixtec-speaking and Triqui speaking peoples. Here, we will explore these pueblos located about six hours northwest of the city. We will meet the makers of amazing handcrafts including textiles, ceramics, and palm weaving. This destination 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 two of the 16 diverse indigenous groups that inhabit the state: Mixteco and Triqui.

Our road into the mountains will be winding and there are distances to travel. Some days, we may be in the van for several hours. We will walk towns and markets, traverse some hilly areas by foot, and ask that you be travel-ready with stamina for a road trip and an unparalleled adventure.

The Preliminary Daily Schedule

Day 1, Wednesday, March 12: Arrive in Oaxaca city, lodging in the city for one night. Overnight: Oaxaca City.  Meals included: none.

Day 2, Thursday, March 13: Today, we get on the road to visit Santo Domingo Yanhuitlan and learn about its history. This imposing structure was built by Indigenous slave labor just 20 years after the conquest in the 16th Century by the Dominican order atop an important Mixtec temple site – trading center, religious and cultural hub for the region to establish control. Then we make a stop to visit an innovative potter nearby who participates in the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market.

Next, we meet a local Tonaltepec guide Tomasa Bautista who is an expert in the region’s geology. She explains the research importance of the Mixteca Alta Geopark, considered to be the most geologically complex region of Mexico, to conserve and protect the environment. 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. We lunch with a local family who shows us the pottery the town is famous for.

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.

Day 3, Friday, March 14: Come with us to San Pablo Tijaltepec to meet a collective of embroiderers who we met at the national expoventa ORIGINAL. They specialize in the technique of smocking — pepenado — 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 4: Saturday, March 15: 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 the Triqui village of San Andres Chicahuaxtla, where we will meet a cooperative of weavers who specialize in supplementary weft and very fine gauze weaving techniques on a back strap loom. On our way back to Tlaxiaco, we stop in Santa Maria Cuquila to meet a cooperative of Mixtec weavers who specialize in creating traditional huipiles on back strap looms. Overnight: Tlaxiaco. Meals included: Breakfast and lunch.

Day 5, Sunday, March 16: After breakfast, we briefly visit the Tlaxiaco town market, make a stop in Nochixtlan for lunch, then return to Oaxaca city where you will have the afternoon on your own. Gather in the evening for a Gala Grand Finale Dinner at one of the city’s most outstanding restaurants. Overnight: Oaxaca City. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 6. Monday, March 17: 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.

For more detailed reading about the experience, please read:

What Is Included

  • 5 nights lodging
  • 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)

How to Register:  First, complete the Registration Form and send it to us and tell us which payment method you want to use to make your deposit: Zelle (no fee) or credit card (4% fee). See below.

To Register, Policies, Procedures & Cancellations–Please Read

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 September 15, 2024. The third 50% payment of the balance is due on or before December 1, 2025. We accept payment using a Zelle transfer (no fees) or a credit card (4% service fee). When you complete the registration form and send it to us, we will send you a request for deposit. After December 1, 2024, there are no refunds. If you cancel on or before December 1, 2024 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:  If you have walking impediments or you rely on other travelers for personal assistance, then this is not the trip for you. Oaxaca city is close to 6,000 feet altitude. We travel to villages that are 7,500 feet altitude. For altitude or motion sickness, please consult your doctor and come prepared with adequate medications. All travelers must provide proof of vaccination for COVID-19 and bring two antigen testing kits to test along the way.

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

To Register, Policies, Procedures & Cancellations–Please Read

Terrain, Walking and Group Courtesy: The Mixteca Alta is 7,500 feet high. To get there, one must ascend secondary roads that are paved yet winding. We will do some walking in the villages. 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.

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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