Visit El Tajin, the ceremonial center of the Totonac people, the Museum of Anthropology in Xalapa, to learn of the ancient Olmec culture, AND attend the 4th Textile Festival featuring the textiles of Veracruz! In addition, this trip will take us on an extraordinary journey into a region rarely visited, into the Papaloapan Basin of Veracruz and Oaxaca. The Papaloapan is a cultural / natural region located between Veracruz and Oaxaca, where the coastal plain drops from the Sierra Juarez mountain chain into the Gulf of Mexico. The natural landscape is varied, between lush tropical (think mangoes and pineapples) to higher elevations where coffee grows and deciduous forests begin. The ethnographic landscape of this region is comprised of Chinantec and Mazatec communities, that we’ll visit. Valle Nacional, San Lucas Ojitlan and San Felipe Usila, are some of them. Their textile traditions are among the richest in Mexico, combining unique iconography in woven and embroidered cloth to make huipiles. This trip also goes to the fascinating region of Tlaxcala where we’ll meet with Otomi farmers and artisans of Ixtenco!
Tonight we will enjoy a lovely welcome event at a favorite Mexico City restaurant!
Day Two: Friday, March 31, El Tajin: Leaving Mexico City in the morning, we travel to El Tajin and spend the afternoon learning about the ancient Totonac people!
Day Three: Saturday, April, 1 Xalapa and Textile Festival We travel to Xalapa to attend the 4th Annual Textile Festival, that will feature textile artisans from the State of Veracruz! Also, the invited country this year is Peru, so we’ll see textiles from the Andes, as well! In addition to attending the Textile Festival, we will enjoy a guided visit of the host site for the Festival: The Museum of Anthropology in Xalapa, known for its extraordinary architecture and collection of Olmec art and ritual sculptures.
Day Four: Sunday, April 2, Alvarado, Tlacotalpan, Tuxtepec, Leaving Xalapa, we take a classic “road trip”, making stops in the shrimping and fishing town of Alvarado, followed by the UNESCO World Heritage town of Tlacotalpan before arriving in Tuxtepec. Settling into our hotel, we’ll enjoy a poolside fashion show to learn about the Chinantec and Mazatec dress of the region we are about to explore!
Day Five: Monday, April 3, Rancho Grande, Valle Nacional, Today we spend the day with a special community in Rancho Grande, Valle Nacional to learn of their traditions in food and dress. We will enjoy a light hike to learn of their native crops and then enjoy regional dishes made from these ingredients. We will enjoy a special expo-venta of their most beautiful brocade weave and embroidered huipiles. We will learn about the meaning of the various “tree of life” designs embroidered on the huipil panels.
Day Six: Tuesday, April 4, San Bartolome Ayautla and San Lucas Ojitlan, Today we’ll visit a Chinantec community and a Mazatec community, both of the Otomangue linguistic groups of Mexico. In Ayautla, we’ll meet with the extraordinary embroiderers who depict nature on their huipiles. Birds are the most common motif. In San Lucas Ojitlan, we’ll visit the Chinantec women of this community who will invite us to enjoy a lunch of local dishes, and to enjoy an expoventa of their extraordinary “diario”, “media-gala” and “gala” huipiles; a huipil for every occasion! The plumed serpent, Quetzalcoatl is among the most important of symbols.
Day Seven: Wednesday, April 5, San Felipe Usila, Leaving in the morning, we enjoy a full day in the Chinantec community of San Felipe Usila. This is an incredible drive, surrounded by the cloud forest and lush green mountainous landscape of this region. The drive is the journey! Arriving in town, we’ll be met by members of the community to learn about their culture and traditions. We’ll enjoy an expo venta, visit weaver’s homes, and experience the famed “caldo de piedra” (stone soup) made on the shores of the Usila River.
Day Eight: Thursday, April 6, Tuxtepec to Orizaba, Tour Orizaba, Today we depart from the Chinantec and Mazatec region and begin our travels onward to Orizaba. Arriving in Orizaba, we’ll visit the wonderful State Art Museum to learn of the regional art of Veracruz and the art of Diego Rivera! We enjoy dinner together in this mountain town of Veracruz.
Day Nine: Friday, April 7, Orizaba to Tlaxcala, Tour Tlaxcala, Today we depart Orizaba and travel through the mountain pass, arriving in Tlaxcala. Arriving in Tlaxcala we will take a walking city tour to learn about Tlaxcala’s misunderstood history. We will learn about the great “Señoríos de Tlaxcala”. We’ll enjoy a wonderful evening, dining on the regional cuisine of Tlaxcala.
Day Ten: Saturday, April 8, Tlaxcala, Ixtenco, Contla, overnight Tlaxcala, Today begins with a special visit to the State Craft Store. We will meet the Director, who will talk to us about the crafts and textiles from Tlaxcala. We travel to Ixtenco to learn about native corn, and enjoy a meal there! We’ll visit the artisans who specialize in the “smocked” blusa de “pepenado”. We’ll also visit the birthplace of the sarape: Contla! We return to Tlaxcala to overnight. Farewell dinner.
Day Eleven: Sunday, April 9, Depart for airport for flights from Mexico City
Welcome to San Felipe Usila
la casa del pueblo
4 pineapple for 25 pesos
By the river
The river is waiting
Choosing the rocks
preparing the fire
rocks on fire
preparing the ingredients
preparing the dish
the fire is over
choosing the rocks
putting the hot rock
canoe passing by
taking coffee’s pulp off
drying the grains
coffee is ready