Oaxaca Cultural Tour

8 DAYS – ART FOOD AND HISTORY

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“We had such a great trip with The Educational Adventures Company. There was so much music and delicious food. Our guide was a sweetheart and really took good care of us.”

– John Doe

Oaxaca cultural tour

It takes all of your senses to fully comprehend how the vibrant, progressive culture of Oaxaca flourishes among deep rooted traditions. The Educational Adventures Company offers unique educational adventures that allow you to uncover the city and surrounding areas through far more than sightseeing.  In a family’s home you will learn about natural dyes used by the weavers of the past and how this family is bringing this tradition back.  Dying fabric from these natural materials is a hands-on learning experience not to be missed.

Want to experience the real Oaxaca?

Tour details

Before indulging in foods that present a fusion of traditional recipes with new, exciting ingredients you will accompany the chef to gather ingredients fresh from the market and then in her home kitchen you cook a traditional Oaxacan meal in the traditional way. Oaxaca is known for its alebrije figurines and you will enjoy getting to know the artisan family as they explain the elaborate process and encourage you to lose yourself in this art. Oaxacan artisans are natural teachers and the black clay potters love to show you how to get your hands dirty.   As you participate in these crafts, you will hear the stories of local artisans and share in closeup cultural exchanges. Each and every experience will occur alongside a bilingual, certified local guide who is there to assist and support you in all of your needs.

  • w/Dinner
  • Oaxaca City
  • Airport Transfer
  • Welcome Dinner

Your airport transport will deliver you to the NaNa Vida Boutique Hotel. NaNa Vida is committed to hospitality; where culture, art and the flavors of Oaxaca live together. You will be staying steps away from the Santo Domingo Convent, in the heart of Oaxaca.

Your tour begins with meeting your hosts, your guide, and other travelers in NaNa Vida’s courtyard. Then you are off to an incredible welcome dinner for your first taste of Oaxaca.

  • w/Breakfast & Lunch
  • Santo Domingo Oaxaca City Walking Tour
  • Museo de las Culturas
  • Market Visit 20 de Noviembre 
  • Rufino Tamayo Museum of Pre-Hispanic Art

Your adventure begins with a walking tour of Oaxaca to discover the architecture, culture, history and customs that make Oaxaca so special. First stop is the Zócalo, which is the thriving heart of the city center. The scene at the Zócalo is always pulsing with life be it day or night. The city’s main plaza is the perfect place to people-watch, have a snack, play with ridiculously large balloons, and take in the Oaxacan social scene.  

We’ll make our way north to the church of Santo Domingo, another one of Oaxaca’s central landmarks. The building itself is a stunning structure, built between 1570 and 1608 as part of a Dominican monastery. Inside, you will marvel at its complex decoration and design. In addition to its historical and religious significance, the area around Santo Domingo has become a social hotspot; another wonderful place to people watch and take in la vida cotidiana, daily life. 

In the monastery area adjoining Templo de Santo Domingo is housed the Museum of Oaxacan Cultures, El Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca. Here we’ll dive into the diversity of the area of Mexico. Oaxaca, as a state, officially recognizes 16  indigineous groups, which can be subdivided into hundreds more, each with unique linguistic and social traditions that form the foundation of the diverse culture of Oaxaca. 

A visit to the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad we will see its beauty and charm, with its high ceilings and simple yet extensive religious imagery including a large statue of the Virgen María. Like Oaxaca’s other churches, you’ll find a plaza for sitting and socializing in the shade. 

For lunch we’ll walk to El Mercado 20 de Noviembre where deciding what to eat is a monumental task. The delicious aromas and colors will call to you from every traditional kitchen. Maybe some flavorful consomé (meat-broth), tamales, or barbacoa (BBQ). Save some room for a cold, sweet treat, nieve – Oaxaca’s ice cream! 

After lunch we’ll wander through the Rufino Tamayo Museum of Pre-Hispanic Art where pre-Columbian times are revealed through stunning art pieces. Rufino Tamayo (1899 – 1991) was a painter and collector and remains one of Oaxaca’s most famous artists. He spent his lifetime collecting Pre-Columbian masterpieces, which are now housed in this top-notch museum. 

  • w/Breakfast & Lunch
  • Tlacolula de Morelos Market
  • Santa Ana del Valle Cooking Class

Sunday is market day at Tlacolula’s traditional market about 40 minutes outside of Oaxaca City. You will find everything from artisan crafts to fresh veggies to tejate – a traditional maize and cocoa beverage prepared in large clay pots. Take your time meandering, taking in the colors of the traditional clothing, chatting with locals, and trying new goodies, toasted crickets maybe?

Next we’re off to join Doña Dalia’s cooking class in Santa Ana del Valle. Traditional Mexican cuisine was recognized as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO and along with this came the responsibility of Mexico’s traditional cooks to carry on this cultural heritage. 90% of these cooks, known as cocineras tradicionales, are women. Today you will surround yourself with clay pots and join Dalia in preparing a traditional Oaxacan meal. She will share her kitchen as well as her heritage culminating in heartfelt sharing of food and an explosion of flavors. 

Dinner on your own.

  • Breakfast & Lunch
  • Black Clay San Bartolo Coyotepec
  • Lunch in Ocotlán
  • Alebrijes San Martín Tilcajete

South of Oaxaca lies San Bartolo Coyotepec, famous for its black clay artisans. Black clay pottery is one of Oaxaca’s unique ancestral crafts. Barro negro pottery dates back to the Monte Albán period and continues to be prevalent in today’s society. In today’s black clay workshop you will feel its history, literally! Get your hands dirty, work the clay, imagine its origins, and cut your unique design as the potter shares his art and skills and guides you in creating your individual barro negro design. Your creation will be fired in the coming days and delivered to you at Nana Vida.

Lunch takes place in the quiet, slow paced town of Ocotlán de Morelos. 

Fun fact: for most people here la comida is the biggest meal of the day and typically takes place later in the afternoon, between 1 and 4pm. Dinner is la cena and is usually a lighter meal than la comida – most commonly enjoyed between 8 and 10 pm.

By now, you are sure to have seen plenty of alebrijes in the streets and markets – colorful and meticulously-detailed wooden animal figures. It is very likely some of the alebrijes you have seen came from the small town of San Martín Tilcajete. Heading back north toward Oaxaca we’ll arrive at San Martín Tilcajete, a small town of less than two thousand residents known for its alebrije craft. Wooden alebrijes have their roots in the paper based handcrafts of central Mexico. Today you’ll meet a family of artisans that will share their history, and their craft as they welcome you into their workshop to paint your own alebrije.  

Dinner on your own.

  • w/Breakfast & Lunch
  • Mitla Mitla
  • Hierve el Agua Hierve el Agua
  • Matatlán Mezcalería & Mezcal tasting

Today’s adventure includes a natural spring bathing opportunity so consider packing a bathing suit and sunscreen. 

Next we’ll  head to San Pablo Valle de Mitla to take another trip back in time and  explore the Mitla archaeological ruins. While Monte Albán was a socio-political and economic center, Mitla served as a religious center and is considered the  most important site for Zapotec culture. 

About 45 minutes from Mitla is one of Oaxaca’s most celebrated natural wonders, Hierve El Agua, near the town of San Lorenzo Albarradas. Hierve El Agua features epic views, gorgeous petrified waterfalls and serene natural pools. The name translates to “the water boils” but the fresh cold springs bubbling up give the appearance of boiling water. 

Dinner on your own.

As you are probably aware by now, Oaxaca is not only famous for its culinary scene, but for its mezcal as well. After your dip in the cool waters you’ll be ready to warm up with a little mezcal tasting. During, you will get a feel for a variety of mezcal types and flavors and the different processes used to create them.

 

  • w/Breakfast & Lunch
  • Santa Maria del Tule
  • Teotitlán del Valle Natural dye workshop
  • Lunch with artisans

After breakfast we’ll venture to the picturesque town of Santa María del Tule, to see the gigantic tree in the church courtyard. El Arbol del Tule, estimated at approximately 2000 years old, is one of the largest trees in the world.  This tree is the subject of legends and celebrations and amusing young guides delight in pointing out the various creatures sculpted by the twisting &  knotting of the branches and roots. 

 

Teotitlán del Valle is known for its truly remarkable textile production. Over 70% of the village’s population is connected in some way with textile production.  For our visit we’ve chosen a studio that is committed to the traditional practice of using natural dyes. Their commitment extends to teaching and encouraging other artisans to recover this traditional practice. This craft is over a thousand years old and the harvesting & processing of the pigments is as interesting as the practice of dying fibers into long lasting and vibrant colors. During our visit and workshop you will learn where the pigments are found, how to process them, and dye a natural fiber fabric to take with you. Consider visiting the Textile Museum at the end of the week to round out this experience.

  • w/ Breakfast Dinner
  • Monte Albán
  • Textile Museum
  • Farewell Dinner

This morning we’ll get an early start just 25 minutes outside of Oaxaca to the small city and municipality of San Cruz Xoxocotlán. From there, you will experience and explore yet another one of Oaxaca’s wonders: Monte Albán. Monte Albán is one of Mesoamerica’s earliest cities and was an economic center for close to a thousand years. Strolling through the ruins you will learn more about Monte Albán’s fascinating story and feel its significance in today’s society.

In the afternoon you are free to personalize your explorations. Maybe some shopping, people-watching in the Zocalo, or otherwise enjoying your last day in Oaxaca. We recommend visiting the Textile Museum, el Museo Textil. This museum houses thousands of different textiles, embroidery, and beadwork. Included are pieces from Oaxaca and all over the world, giving you a chance to explore the similarities and differences between works from a variety of cultures. Now that you have experienced dying and weaving you will be amazed by the commitment and work of the hundreds of hands that it took to create such masterful pieces. The Textile Museum is just a stone’s throw from Nana Vida.

Farewell dinner.

It’s time to gather and say goodbye to your amazing guide and the new friends that have shared your Oaxaca experience. Enjoy the fabulous dinner maybe, with a little mezcal, followed by one last evening stroll on Oaxaca’s cobbled streets.

  • w/Breakfast
  • Oaxaca
  • Airport Transfer

Your guide will arrange your transportation according to your flight. departure time.

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