Tag Archives: Oaxaca

Oaxaca Deep Dive: Cooking, Culture + Craft Tour

Jump into the magic of Oaxaca, Mexico, from January 11 to 17, 2025. During this six-night, seven-day immersion tour you will discover (almost) everything this UNESCO World Heritage city has to offer. You will take a hands-on cooking class from a traditional chef who uses an outdoor wood-fired kitchen to prepare acclaimed pre-Hispanic dishes, visit the bustling Mercado de Abastos to shop, taste and savor artisanal mezcal especially distilled from rare wild agave, visit outstanding makers of craft and textiles that distinguish Oaxaca and elevate her above and beyond any place in the world, sample street tacos, take a graphic arts and printmaking workshop from a renowned artist, and enjoy the best that Oaxaca has to offer. Recap it all at our Grand Finale Dinner at one of Oaxaca’s top restaurants. A perfect Oaxaca Visitor’s Tour.

We will be based in one of Oaxaca’s most trendy, vibrant neighborhoods where murals will dazzle you, coffee bars will delight you, restaurants will tempt you, and galleries will excite you.


Day 1 – Saturday, January 11. Arrive to Oaxaca, check into our comfortable hotel located in one of the city’s most captivating neighborhoods filled with murals, galleries, coffee bars. Meet for a no host dinner at 6:00 pm. We suggest you arrive before 3 p.m. today. Meals included: none.

Day 2 – Sunday, January 12.  Today we start with an orientation and introduction during breakfast. Then we get in the van for a short trip to Santa María Atzompa, where we will meet a traditional cook who specializes in pre-Hispanic food prepared in an outdoor smoke kitchen called Cocina de Humo. First, she takes us on a culinary shopping tour of Mercado de Abastos, the largest Oaxaca market, to procure all the ingredients we need. After our workshop and delicious lunch, we will visit our friend Rufina who specializes in making pottery with lead-free glazes and oxygen reduction techniques. We will return to the hotel in time for you to enjoy Margaritas and dinner on your own. Meals included: breakfast and lunch.

Day 3 – Monday, January 13.  After breakfast, our luxury van takes us deep into the Ocotlan Valley.  We call this the Handcraft Route since it takes us through black pottery studios, embroidery workshops, and wood-carving spaces. We introduce you to the famed painter Rodolfo Morales who created extraordinary murals of rural life in the municipal building and then move on to meet a cooperative of embroiderers where we will learn about the different techniques used for ceremonial garments in San Antonino Castillo Velasco. Our lunch is at an outdoor kitchen in San Martin Tilcajete, one of our favorite spots for relaxed al fresco dining. Meals included: breakfast and lunch.

Day 4 – Tuesday, January 14. Wear your comfortable shoes for a city walking tour – we will cover a lot of territory!  First, we stop to meet our artist friends at a printmaking collective gallery, learn about the rich graphic art movement in Oaxaca, and take a deep dive into learning more about lithography by taking a workshop. We guide you every step of the way.  After a lunch of street tacos at one of our favorite taquerias, we recharge and refresh, then carry on to the Benito Juarez Market, the Museo Textil de Oaxaca, and a noted folk art gallery. Meals included: breakfast and lunch.

Day 5 – Wednesday, January 15. Weaving is Us! Today we travel to Teotitlán del Valle, the famed tapestry weaving village forty minutes outside the city to meet our family of weavers who create outstanding traditional and contemporary designs using all natural, sustainable dyes. Then, we visit a cooperative of women who specialize in making bags and purses from leather and tapestries. After lunch on the way to Mitla, we will meet up with our friend Arturo for a demonstration on flying shuttle land back strap loom weaving techniques. Home goods are his speciality! 

Then we will stop at our favorite Palenque – the distillery — to learn everything about how artisanal mezcal is made, ending our day with a tasting of rare wild and espadin agave spirits. Meals included: breakfast and lunch.

Day 6 – Thursday, January 16.  After breakfast you are on your own to explore the city at your leisure until we meet at a top-rated Oaxaca restaurant for our Grand Finale Dinner. Meals included: breakfast and gala dinner.

Day 7 – Friday, January 17.  Depart to home.  We will help you arrange transportation at your own expense to the Oaxaca airport, or extend your stay independently, or add-on a one- to three-day natural dye workshop (lodging not included). Meals included: breakfast.

What’s Included:

  • 6 nights lodging at a comfortable hotel in the heart of one of Oaxaca’s most artistic neighborhoods
  • 6 breakfasts
  • 4 lunches
  • 1 Gala Grand Finale Dinner with complimentary Margarita
  • Luxury transportation to artisan villages
  • Cocina de Humo cooking class
  • Printmaking workshop
  • Mezcal tasting
  • Demonstrations and market visits
  • An immersion experience beyond your dreams!

Tour Cost:

$2,790, Single—one-traveler in room with one bed and private bath

$2,190, Double—two travelers in room with either two beds or one Queen or King bed, private bath

Add 10% for a ground floor room and eliminate the stairs

Discounts: Oaxaca snowbirds and residents with your own lodging, take $500 off tour cost!

Reservations and Cancellations.  Two easy steps.

  1. Complete this REGISTRATION FORM and email to Norma Schafer
  2. Send a $500 non-refundable deposit (first payment) 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 September 1, 2024. The third payment, 50% balance, is due on or before November 15, 2024. We accept payment using Zelle cash transfer or a credit card with Square. For a Zelle transfer, there is no service fee.  We add a 4% service fee to use Square. We will send you a request for funds to make your reservation deposit when you tell us you are ready to register. Please tell us how your account is registered (email or phone number).

After November 15, 2024, there are no refunds. If you cancel on or before November 15, 2024, 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. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/travel-insurance/best-travel-insurance/

Proof of insurance must be received at least 45 days before the tour start date.

Add  from 1 to 3 days of a natural dye workshop either before or after the tour for a deeper dive into textile arts. Work with indigo, cochineal, wild marigold, tree bark and other plant dyes. Create your own sampler and record formulas to carry home with you.

10/30/24 Day of the Dead Tour in Oaxaca: Hands-on Bucket-List Experience

On October 30, 2024, we give you a wide-ranging, immersion Day of the Dead experience of a lifetime! Construct a Day of the Dead Altar. Participate in a workshop using wild marigold botanical dyes. Savor traditional tamales made with mole amarillo with a local Zapotec family. Taste artisanal mezcal. Discuss culture, traditions, and Zapotec history. Finish the day with a visit to outstanding weaving and candle-making studios.

  • Visit the Dia de la Muertos market in Teotitlan del Valle to gather altar decorations
  • Buy fresh flor de muerto — Day of the Dead flowers, candles, homemade chocolate,j altar bread
  • Build a Day of the Dead Altar with expert guidance
  • Make a Day of the Dead napkin using wild marigolds botanical dyes
  • Savor traditional Muertos tamales with yellow mole
  • Taste artisanal mezcal made from wild agave
  • Discuss traditional altar preparation in this community, culture and traditional
  • End the day with visit to weavers and candle makers

What’s Included:

  • Enjoy a traditional lunch with a local Zapotec family
  • Make a wild marigold dyed textile in a hands-on dye workshop
  • Understand traditions and culture with clear, complete translation
  • Travel from the city to the village in a luxury van

Why you want to travel with us:

  • We know the culture! We are locally owned and operated.
  • Eric Chavez Santiago, is your cultural navigator. He is born and raised in Teotitlan del Valle.
  • We have deep connections with artists and artisans.
  • 63% of our travelers repeat — high ratings, high satisfaction.
  • We have wide ranging expertise in community, craft and culture.
  • We give you a deep immersion to best know Oaxaca and Mexico

Registration and Cancellation. Tour cost is $175 per person. This includes transportation in a luxury van, bilingual guide services with translation, market meander, 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 20) to receive a 50% refund. We accept payment with Zelle (no fees) or with a credit card (4% 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.

The artisans we visit in Teotitlan del Valle not only talk about and demonstrate their craft, they 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.

Denver, Colorado and Update

Just a brief note to tell you why I haven’t been writing lately. I’m in Denver and go into a surgical procedure this afternoon at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center to repair L4-L5 vertebrae that has been causing me increasing pain over the last year. I’ll keep you posted as I progress.

Meanwhile, yesterday I visited the botanical gardens with dear friends Leslie and Lynn to see the Jacobo and Maria Angeles giant alebrijes installation. I hope it brings a smile to your face as it did for me.

Abrazos, Norma

Textile Tour in Oaxaca, Mexico, December 2024

Join us in Oaxaca from December 6 to 14, 2024, for a spectacular insider’s view of the textile culture and history of this World Heritage colonial city. We have created this experience in collaboration with Fiber Circle Studio in Petaluma, California, and owner founder Alisha Bright. Lots of touring plus hands-on workshops to keep you excited and engaged in the weaving and textile culture.


  • Visit to artisan studios in Teotitlan del Valle including silk and tapestry weavers
  • Participate in a two-day natural dye workshop
  • Learn or enhance your skills in a two-day tapestry weaving workshop
  • Travel to the mountain village of Chichicapam for a one-day spinning workshop
  • Discover key sights – Hierve el Agua, and El Tule, a 3,000 year old cypress tree
  • Visit important museums and shops
  • Wander the Sunday tianguis at the Tlacolula Market, a confluence of art, craft and more
  • Meet a red clay potter in her famous ceramics studio
  • Experience Virgin of Guadalupe parades in downtown Oaxaca
  • Show & tell your work, share your experience with the group
  • Enjoy a grand finale dinner with our group and leaders

Read more details here!

(No prior weaving or dyeing experience is necessary. This is open and valuable to all levels of fiber artists and fiber admirers.)

DAY 1 | Arrive, settle in & welcome! –December 6, 2024

Arrive, travel to Teotitlan del Valle on your own, at your own expense. We will provide directions from the airport. Box supper available upon check-in at our upscale bed and breakfast inn. Overnight in Teotitlan del Valle.

DAY 2 | Introduction, visit weaving cooperatives, begin dye workshop — December 7, 2024

Breakfast, introduction to the textile culture of Oaxaca with a presentation. Morning excursion to 3 cooperatives and workshops to meet weavers in Teotitlan del Valle who create tapestries, clothing, and handbags. After lunch, we will meet at the dye studio and begin the process to create naturally dyed skeins of wool. Dinner will be at our bed and breakfast inn. Overnight in Teotitlan del Valle.

About the Natural Dye Workshop: Participants will dye an assortment of colors using various plants and overdyed techniques. Participants will dye 15 wool skeins of 100 grams, with enough colors and materials to weave a small sampler on our weaving day.

DAY 3 | Natural dye workshop – 15 colors; 15 skeins of wool — December 8, 2024

Breakfast. Visit the Tlacolula market. Lunch at local comedor. We’ll resume the natural dye workshop to dye skeins of wool exploring locally sourced plant materials of indigo, pomegranate, wild marigold, plus cochineal. The workshop will cover chemistry in dye preparation and techniques for over-dyeing. Box supper at dye studio. Overnight in Teotitlan del Valle.

DAY 4 | Spinning workshop, dip in the waters of Hierve el Agua — December 9, 2024

Breakfast. Excursion to Chichicapam to meet a family of spinners who work with only the finest quality Churro sheep wool. We will have an opportunity to spin yarn using the drop-spindle (malacate) and purchase handspun yarn. Visit to Hierve el Agua. Dinner on your own. Overnight in Teotitlan del Valle.

DAY 5 | Weaving workshop, ceramics studio — December 10, 2024

Breakfast. Morning weaving workshop – we’ll be working on a frame loom that will produce a sampler or wall hanging approximately 10” x 18” using the yarns prepared during the natural dye workshop. Lunch at the weaving studio. Afternoon excursion to ceramics village of San Marcos Tlapazola. Dinner on your own. Overnight in Teotitlan del Valle.

DAY 6 | Weaving workshop, visit El Tule, head to la ciudad de Oaxaca, optional Mezcal tastings! December 11, 2024

Breakfast. Morning weaving workshop to continue working on and finishing projects. Lunch at a local comedor. Excursion to El Tule to see the ancient cypress tree and visit flying shuttle loom weaver. Dinner at Oaxaca Te Amo. Overnight in Oaxaca City. We will provide suggestions for anyone who wants to do Mezcal tastings.

DAY 7 | Textile museum and shops, Virgin de Guadalupe parades — December 12, 2024

Breakfast. Morning guided walking tour of Oaxaca textile museum and important shops. Lunch on your own and opportunity to see Virgin of Guadalupe parades in El Centro. Dinner on your own. Overnight in Oaxaca City.

DAY 8 | Show & tell, wander the city, final dinner — December 13, 2024

Breakfast. Discussion of community, culture, textiles, show and tell of weaving samplers. Lunch and afternoon on your own. Gala Grand Finale Dinner. Overnight in Oaxaca City.

DAY 9 | Hasta luego! — December 14, 2024

Breakfast. Depart on flights home from Oaxaca airport. We will help arrange taxi transportation at your own expense.


  • $4,295 (per person/double occupancy)
  • $4,995 (per person/single occupancy)


  1. Please download this form, complete it and return it by email to norma.schafer@icloud.com 
  2. A $500 non-refundable deposit will reserve your space – you will receive an invoice after your registration form is received. The remaining balance will be due on August 1, 2024. 


For cancellations made on or before August 1, 2024, we will honor a 50% refund. Any cancellations after August 1, 2024, will not qualify for a refund. Details of the cancellation policy can be found here.

Read more details here!

Mother’s Day Tidbits + New in the Shop

Mother’s Day, started by social activist Anna Jarvis in the early 20th century to honor her own mother, has now become the second most popular holiday in the United States for gift-giving, following Christmas. Groups of mothers whose sons had fought or died on opposite sides of the American Civil War were involved in the early development of the holiday.  Jarvis’ mother was a peace activist who wanted to improve the lives of other mothers. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson officially made Mother’s Day a national holiday. In 1918, the fledgling Florists Telegraph Delivery group (FTD) began promoting Say it With Flowers, for their Mother’s Day Campaign. They could not keep white carnations, the official Mother’s Day flower, in stock. Hallmark began creating and producing Mother’s Day cards in the early 1920’s. Gift-giving became a central part of Mother’s Day, too, since its inception.

Mother’s Day is always the second Sunday in May. We have clothing, home goods, jewelry, and rugs in the shop to tickle any mother’s fancy. In fact, you don’t have to be a mother to participate in this celebration. All women deserve to be recognized for our accomplishments and attributes, whether we are married, single, with or without children, or who use another pronoun to distinguish themselves!

We will get anything you choose into the mail ASAP. Just say to your favorite recipient: We are gifting you with something special from Oaxaca Cultural Navigator and it will be arriving soon! And, remember, use your credit card or PayPal — no fees to you when you purchase from the shop.


Just listed, French knot blouses made by Francisca in Amatenango del Valle, Chiapas. Every stitch is impeccably made by hand — there is not one bit of machine stitching in this garment!

Below is an exceptional, rare huipil from Pueblo Mixteco de la Costa. It is difficult to find a back-strap loom woven garment in this village now. It is discontinuous weft, also known as supplementary weft or pick-up weaving. The base cloth is cotton and the intricate designs are woven with synthetic thread.