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More Info for the Trip on Nov 09 - Nov 18 2013 to Oaxaca
The Fee For This Trip Includes
  • 9 Nights accommodations
  • Breakfast daily
  • Meals, per itinerary
  • Entrance fees in itinerary
  • Tour guides and transportation
  • Airport Transfers
The Fee Does Not Include
  • Airfares, International/Domestic
  • Meals not listed in itinerary
  • Beverages:Soft Drinks, Bottled Water, Liquor
  • Cab fares, laundry, personal items
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Medical Expenses
  • Airport Taxes
  • Costs associated with trip interruption or modification due to weather, conditions, political/civil disputes, medical emergencies or other causes beyond our control. Travel Insurance is recommended for this purpose
Map of Oaxaca, Mexico
Map of Oaxaca, Mexico
Photos From This Trip
Huave Woman San Mateo del Mar
Purple Murex Dye Inspection
Spinning Coyuche Native Cotton
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Nov 09 - Nov 18 2013

Destination: Oaxaca

Trip: Textiles and Folk Art

Name: The Textile Traditions of Oaxaca: Coast and Valley

Departure Type: Group and Private

Duration: 10 Days

Price: $2,475 Double Occupancy

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Trip Summary

On this journey, we explore the multiple ethnic communities of Oaxaca (and Guerrero) to learn of their cultural and ethnic expressions in dress and textiles. From the Amuzgo in Guerrero to the Mixtec, Huave, Zapotec in Oaxaca we will readily see how textile traditions and dress are a cultural passport and unique expression of the women (and some men) who live in this region. We will learn of the fibers, such as coyuchi cotton and natural dye sources, such as Purpura Pansa, indigo and cochineal. This is an extraordinary, close up journey into the communities where we meet the people and artisans who create visual masterpieces.
Join us!


Huipil from Tehuantepec-Detail
  • Learn of the Indigenous Textile Traditions of Oaxaca, including: Amuzgo, Mixteco, Zapoteco and Huave
  • Meet weavers and coops in remote communities of Pinotepa de Don Luis and San Juan Colorado to learn of their unique traditions in weaving and dress
  • Travel with the purple Murex dyers of the coast to see how they extract this scarce purple dye
  • Learn about the history and evolution of "traje" from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec
  • Meet weavers and dyers from Teotitlan del Valle who continue to develop their ancient traditions

Itinerary Overview

Download Complete Itinerary (PDF)

Spinning Coyuche Cotton in San Mateo del Mar
  • Day One: Arrive at our destination airport, Acapulco. From here, we immediately transfer to our base for the Amuzgo region, Ometepec, Guerrero. Upon arrival, we relax in our hotel and enjoy a great welcome dinner at the Carreta Marinero, where our hosts are gourmet cooks!(D)
  • Day Two: An amazing day awaits, as we travel to the mecca of Amuzgo weavers, Xochistlahuaca, Guerrero, where we meet the extraordinary weavers of the coop, Flor de Xochistlahuaca, lead by master weaver and teacher to young women, Florentina. Here, the tradition remains alive, due to the dedication of these women to their art and heritage. We see the huipils and batas that are woven on backstrap looms, taking up to six months to produce. We see the use of beautiful natural cottons, such as coyuche, with carmel hues, and others with sage green hues. We overnight in Ometepec.(B,L)
  • Day Three: Today, once again, we travel to meet some of the most talented and inspiring weavers, spinners and dyers of the coastal Mixtec region of Oaxaca, known as the Costa Chica. In two communities, Pinotepa de Don Luis and San Juan Colorado, we will learn of the traditional dress of the region, such as the pozahuanco wrap skirt of purple Murex, indigo and cochineal stripes. We overnight in Puerto Escondido, where we enjoy the sounds of the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean.(B,L)
  • Day Four: We travel further up the coast to Huatulco, where we are met by the leader of the Mixtec coop of purpura pansa, Murex dyers, who have extracted the purple dye from the Purpura Pansa mollusk for generations. We learn about the tradition of dyeing with a live mussel, without harming it, and the work of anthropologist Marta Turok, to educate people on the threats to this now endangered creature of nature and the natural dye traditions of the Mixtec community.(B,L)
  • Day Five: Leaving Huatulco, we continue up the Oaxaca coast towards Salina Cruz, to the Huave community of weavers, San Mateo del Mar. While the women are Huave, they have adopted the dress of the Zapotec women of the Isthmus; the colorful huipil accompanied with a flowing, equally colorful skirt. Their traditional whimsical weaving designs of animals, fish, butterflies, can be seen on the runners, place mats and other utilitarian items they weave of cotton on backstrap looms. From here, we travel into the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to visit the Zapotec community, Juchitan. We will learn of the history of traje, or dress which is so emblematic of this region, making the women of Tehuantepec a favorite subject of artists and sculptors, such as Roberto Montenegro and Francisco Zuniga, and made popular by Frida Kahlo, who often was seen wearing beautiful traje brought to her by travelers to the region. We overnight in Tehuantepec.(B,L)
  • Day Six: We leave the coast and Isthmus behind and begin our journey into the Valley of Oaxaca. Entering from the Eastern Valley, we stay in Teotitlan del Valle to learn of the Zapotec weaving traditions that formerly were done in cotton and on backstrap looms, but following the arrival of the Spaniards, transitioned to wool and treadle looms. The tapestries woven in this community are known worldwide. We will also visit the ancient ruins of Mitla where we see the carved stoned frets known as grecas & caracoles, design motifs that have transitioned from carved stones to woven tapestries. At the Centro de Arte Textil Zapoteco Bii Dauu, we see how natural dyes are being resurrected and used to produce brilliant hues of blue (indigo), red (cochineal) and yellow (pericon). The silk weavers from San Pedro Cajonos will also pay us a visit for a demo and sale of their silk rebozos! (B,L)
  • Day Seven: Today is Friday, and no where are Fridays more vibrant and colorful than on market day in Ocotlan, south of Oaxaca City. In addition to the market, we will visit the extraordinary Rodolfo Morales Museum, a former convent that was lovingly restored by the Ocotlan, Oaxaca native, artist Rodolfo Morales. Traveling back towards Oaxaca City, we visit San Antonino to see the charming and colorful floral embroidered blusas that were very popular in the sixties and seventies (remember peasant blouses? These are the good ones!). One final stop is in Santo Tomas Jalieza to see fine backstrap woven cotton belts and bags. (B)
  • Day Eight: In the morning, we visit the Museo Textil de Oaxaca, a showcase of Oaxaca, Mexico and Global textile traditions, housed in a former convent. It is humbling and exhilarating to see the "common thread" that unites communities throughout the world and through the ages in common weaving traditions, techniques and design motifs. Following, we visit the Ethno Botanical Gardens! We enjoy a traditional meal at Itanoni and learn about native corn varieties. The afternoon is free to amble up and down the pedestrian streets of Oaxaca to explore markets, coops or to sit in the Zocalo. (B, L)
  • Day Nine: Today we learn about cochineal by visiting Tlapanochestli, an important R & D and production facility for this Perfect Red. Ing. Lorea will tell us about their initiatives to revive cochineal in Oaxaca as a primary source for red dye. From here, we visit one of the earliest urban centers of Oaxaca, Monte Alban. Here, we learn of the evolution of the Zapotec empire from village settlements to full fledged empire building. The Zapotec were among the earliest of Mesoamerican civilizations to use the calendar and a counting system. Our farewell dinner is at Restaurante Casa Oaxaca, overlooking the Sto. Domingo Church! (B, D)
  • Day Ten: Sadly we depart, or you may extend your stay in Oaxaca.

Further Reading

Textiles de Oaxaca, Artes de Mexico, No. 35
Textiles from Mexico, Chloe Sayer
Textile Traditions of Mesoamerica and the Andes, Anthology, Margot Blum Schevill, Chapter 3, Pamela Scheinman