This extraordinary journey takes us to singular and diverse regions of Mexico in Oaxaca, Puebla, Tlaxcala and Mexico City. Not only will we be able to appreciate the vast diversity of Mexico, we’ll learn about the varied textile traditions in natural dyes, weaving and embroidery. We’ll savor new flavors, meet artisans and visit ancient archeological sites, such as Monte Alban. We’ll learn about Mexico’s ethnographic landscape and living cultures and about ancient foods important in Mexico today. In Mexico City we’ll visit the most dynamic and cosmopolitan urban center, former home of artist Frida Kahlo. Join us on this journey of discovery to Mexico!.
Friday, March 10, Arrive Oaxaca, Welcome Overview and Dinner (D)
Depending on Arrival times, we will gather at our hotel for a welcome reception and trip overview. Then, we’ll enjoy dinner with an introduction to regional cuisine, and mole sauces from Oaxaca at a local favorite: Los Pacos! Hotel: Charming and centrally located.
Saturday, March 11, Introduction to Oaxaca City! (B, L)
Today, we’ll begin our explorations of Oaxaca City, in order to better understand our surroundings and some of the culture and history of the region. Our visits will include:
Sunday, March 12, Tlacolula Market, Teotitlan del Valle, Natural Dye Demo (B, L)
Today is Sunday, so we venture out to one of the region’s most colorful and visited markets. The weekly markets in Oaxaca, date to pre-Hispanic times, and in the Nahuatl language, they are called “tianguis”. Each day of the week, the market moved to a different village, where buying, selling, trade and barter took place. We’ll see the Zapotec women of the Valley, doing this too, just as their ancestors did.
After the market, we will visit our favorite, and highly skilled natural dyers and weavers in Teotitlan del Valle. First, we’ll enjoy some fresh quesadillas made with native corn and squash blossoms, before we begin to explore (via demo and hands on), the world of natural dyes in Oaxaca. Colors and dyes we will learn about and use include: “pericon” (tagetes lucida, a wild marigold, for yellow), cochineal for red, and indigo for blue. All other colors are derived by some form of combined overdyeing). Returning to Oaxaca City, we are free to relax or stroll around Oaxaca City.
Monday, March 13, Monte Alban and Centro de Artes San Agustin Etla (B, L)
Today, we’ll visit the first urban center of the pre-Hispanic period, Monte Alban. The Zapotec were among the earliest civilizations in Mesoamerica, along with the Olmec and Maya. It is here, in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca, that some of the earliest domesticated corn was found, that began village settlements and eventually gave rise to great civilizations, as is evidenced at Monte Alban. We’ll enjoy refreshments and a light snack at the on-site café, prior to going to the Centro de Arte San Agustin Etla, to learn about this Culture, Craft and Art Center, founded by artist, Francisco Toledo. Evening is at leisure.
Tuesday, March 14, Ocotlan, Southern Craft Route, include finest embroiderers of San Antonino, Farwell dinner in Oaxaca! (B, L, D)
On our last day in Oaxaca City, we will travel into the Southern Valley, known as the “Craft Route”. We begin in Ocotlan, to learn about the late beloved Oaxaca painter, Rodolfo Morales. From Ocotlan, Morales used money from his art to lovingly restore the Convent (now a Museum) and Church. We’ll visit his home, as well. Nearby we pay a brief visit to the famed Aguilar Sister, potters to see their whimsical figures and personalities shaped of clay and painted in colorful tones. Next, we will visit some of the finest embroiderers, who make the very small “pansy” flowers on “blusas” and dresses. These dresses were popular in the 60’s and are as beloved and vibrant today. Visits today include:
Wed, March 15, Drive to Tehuacan, Puebla (3 hours), meet with the embroiderers in San Gabriel Chilac, overnight Tehuacan (B, L)
Today we say goodbye to Oaxaca City and begin our 3 hour drive to Tehuacan, Puebla. This region is home to the Nahua women who are master embroiderers. We’ll travel to the community of San Gabriel Chilac to meet women from this community, as well as others in the Tehuacan Valley who specialize in embroidered and beaded blouses. We’ll enjoy lunch at the Museo del Agua, where we’ll learn of the revival of amaranth and the preservation of the most precious resource: water. Returning home, we stop at a charming store that was funded by the Japanese Government, in order for the palm weavers of this region to have a place to showcase and sell their work. We return to the hotel to rest and relax. Dinner is at leisure.
Thursday, March 16, Drive to Tlaxcala, Visit Tlaxcala, Ixtenco and Contla, Overnight Tlaxcala (B, L, D)
Today, we travel to the State of Tlaxcala. We’ll check into our centrally located hotel, and visit some wonderful Otomi embroiderers in the town of Ixtenco. Here, they are known for a smocking technique called “pepenado”. We’ll spend time with the artisans and will try our hand at this smocking + embroidery technique. In Ixtenco, we’ll visit some special farmers who are dedicated to growing native colored corn. We’ll try tamales and a very special “atole” corn drink, made only here.
Then, we’ll go to Contla, to see the birthplace of the Mexican sarape (men’s cape), made in wool and woven on a peddle loom. Returning to Tlaxcala we will have a private viewing and meeting with the Director, at the Casa de Artesanias de Tlaxcala. We’ll enjoy a fun and festive dinner together in Tlaxcala!
Friday, March 17, Drive to Mexico City: Historic Center (B, L)
Today, we make our way to Mexico City, one of the largest cities in the world! It was the ancient ceremonial and political capital of the Aztecs, and we’ll visit the ruins of Tenochtitlan in today’s Historic Center and “Zocalo”. To learn about Mexico’s history and Mural Painting of the 1920-1950’s, we’ll visit the Mural Cycles painted by Diego Rivera on the walls of the National Palace. We’ll break for lunch at a Mexico City favorite, El Cardenal. After lunch, we’ll visit the Palace of Fine Arts, to see and compare Murals by Rivera, Orozco, Siqueiros known as “The Big Three” Mexican Muralists. Dinner at leisure.
Saturday, March 18, Frida Kahlo, Chinampa ancient gardens, UNAM Campus (B, L)
Today we travel south to Coyoacan, to visit the home and now Museum of Frida Kahlo. We’ll explore her home, letters, paintings, studio, etc., to learn more about this iconic woman and artist of Mexico. We’ll also view a collection of her ethnographic clothing that was recently discovered in a bathroom that had been sealed for over 50 years! We’ll stroll to Coyoacan city center to visit the colorful markets and town square that makes this southern suburb one of Mexico City’s favorites. In the afternoon, we’ll visit the “chinampas” known as the floating gardens, to learn about ancient agricultural methods that are being revived today! We’ll enjoy our lunch on a “trajinera” boat, as we punt through the canals of Xochimilco. Dinner is at leisure.
Sunday, March 19, National Museum of Anthropology (B, L, D)
Last but by far from least, we’ll spend our morning visiting the world renowned National Museum of Anthropology. We’ll explore the halls of the ancient past of Mexico, including the Teotihuacan, Aztec, and possibly Maya civilizations. Upstairs, we’ll view the ethnographic halls to learn about the people and cultures of Mexico today. After lunch at Museo Rufino Tamayo, our afternoon is free to explore more Museums or to go shopping at area markets or boutiques. Tonight we enjoy a festive Mexican Farewell Dinner!
Monday, March 20, Return Flights Home (B)
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