Camino de los Altos, a Threaded Journey




March 6-13, 2019



There is no place in Mexico where the culture of weaving and traditional dressways is more alive than the highlands of Chiapas. Tens of thousands of Mayan weavers in dozens of villages spin, weave, dye, embroider and draw on their deep roots while innovating and dreaming into creation the clothing of a people. This is a journey into that delicious land.


We travel to highland communities and to the homes of weavers to meet, learn and share. What makes this really good trip great is our partnership with the 130 weavers and designers who make up the big-hearted organization, El Camino de los Altos.

This journey up the highland roads is a journey into the world of this organization and its weavers. In one village household and another we’ll see how Mayan women and French designers have sensitively collaborated over the last thirty years to make beautiful work rooted in skilled Mayan hands and hearts, that shines in Paris.

Join us in this old realm with rare and meaningful access to traditional weavers, hear stories about struggles and achievements, and see truly beautiful work.

B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner included in trip cost

Day 1. Wed 14 (D) Our first meeting will be in the hotel lobby this evening at 6PM. We’ll say hello, talk about the trip and go out for dinner.
Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas.

Day 2. Thu 15 (BL) Our first stop today will be at the offices of El Camino de Los Altos (ECLA, or The Highland Road). Our trip is largely built around the skilled women and weavers who make up this cooperative. We’ll get a peek behind the scenes this morning and meet the women who run the show. Then another peek into another great collaboration from years before. We visit Na Balom, the home and research center of a Danish couple who did fascinating work with the Lancandon Maya in the lowland jungles in the era of pith helmets and mule travel. We wrap up our day with a walking tour of this beautiful, old city that will be our home for several days. Plazas, markets, shops, churches, humanity…we wander through it all as we soak in San Cristobal.
Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas.

Day 3. Fri 16 (BL) Each highland Mayan village is like a mini-nation. Customs, dressways and even language can change from one to the next. Today we visit the nation of Chamula. It is market day in Chamula, look for the distinctive shaggy wool sold here and if you are lucky you’ll find the man who sells the support spindles for wool and the loom sticks. We’ll also step into the other-world of the Chamula church, which is as close to time travel as you get. In a community nearby we’ll meet a Chamula weaver and member of ECLA, who will show us how the amazing Chamula skirts are made. They look like sheep skins, but they aren’t. They are woven, mud-dyed, fulled, pulled and one of a kind, and we’ll get to witness the process.
Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas.

Day 4. Sat 17 (BLD) Today we visit San Andres Larrainzar, recognized for fine brocade in pick-up style backstrap weaving. We’ll visit ECLA weavers here and ooh and ahh over their work. You will be able to see traditional designs and learn about the way ECLA weavers have innovated, incorporating tradition with new ideas with some stunning results. There will be time to visit with the weavers and get a sense of this patient, thoughtful work. In the afternoon we return to San Cristobal and a visit the amazing Mayan Textile Museum, hosted by the director of the museum.
Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas.

Day 5. Sun 18 (BL) Zinacantan! The village of flowers, from the ones that grow in the green houses that line the roads to the embroidered bouquets that adorn the clothing of the men and women. This morning beside the church there is a beautiful textile market, by and for the people of the village. Threads, woven belts, embroidered tops and so much to see. Then we’ll visit the home of Ana, one of the ECLA weavers, and see how she weaves and learn about how ECLA weavers collaborate around creating new designs. We’ll also have lunch at Ana’s house. Back in San Cristobal in the afternoon, we visit a craftsman who makes ornate ceremonial candles.
Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas.

Day 6. Mon 19 (BL) We’ll travel deeper into the highland countryside today to the small hamlet of Belisario Dominquez to meet an ECLA weaver working on a strange species here in the highlands where backstrap looms are the norm; a pedal loom. She’ll go over her work as well as giving those who wish to try a chance to weave as well. We’ll enjoy a home-cooked lunch before heading back to San Cristobal. You will have the afternoon to yourself to explore the city.
Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas.

Day 7. Tue 20 (BLD) For our final full day in the highlands we’ll stay put, so to speak, and explore the city out our front door. San Cristobal is a truly beautiful old city with much to see. We’ll make a few special stops today. We’ll visit weavers working in Jacquard looms and an eccentric gentleman who grows beautiful orchids. Ahh, and we’ll head to the the ECLA store and see the gamut of great items woven in the highlands, some by weavers we’ve met. And we’ll visit a museum showcasing region dress. A fine way to begin to conclude our journey, for we will now be familiar with some of what we see. But more so, this museum, like our trip, is a combined effort of a beautiful idea and good work. Our trip highlights and contributes to the work of ECLA and the weavers of Chiapas. This museum is the brainchild of Sergio Castro, a humanitarian who ceaselessly helps the people of Chiapas with his work. To be able to combine beauty with good work is a high achievement. We’ve done this in our travels. We meet in the evening for a final dinner and perhaps sharing some new memories.
Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas.

Day 8. Wed 21 (B) Our trip comes to a close today, onward to other adventures. May the experiences of this journey enrich your days to come.

Where: San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapan highlands
When: March 6-13, 2019
Duration: 7 nights/8 days
Max capacity: 11 passengers
Cost: $2,450 USD per passenger
Single Supplement $300 USD

Departing point:
 San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas
Ending Point: San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas

Our trip starts and ends in San Cristobal. The closest airport to San Cristobal is Tuxtla Gutierrez (1.5hr car ride) You might choose to fly round trip to Mexico City to Tuxtla Gutierrez. Interjet, Volaris and Aeromexico are options for these flights.

Tour Guide: Ana Paula Fuentes

From Mexico City, Ana Paula has been wrapped and tangled in the world of textiles, travel, organizing and outreach for a long time! She holds a B.A. Degree in Textile Design with postgraduate studies in Knit and Fashion Knitwear Design and took that knowledge to work in Barcelona and Mexico City. In 2005 she moved to legendary Oaxaca City where co-founded the experimental “11011 studio” in which she collaborated with more than twenty contemporary artists in exhibitions, performances, installations and concerts. From 2006-2012 Ana Paula was the Founder Director of the Textile Museum of Oaxaca (Museo Textil de Oaxaca)…and then she went a-traveling in India, solo, for four months! She has worked for the non-profit association “El Camino de los Altos” formed by Mayan weavers and French designers, developing promotion and marketing and worked in a similar vein with the cooperative, La Flor de Xochistlahuaca. She loves to travel, has run her share of marathons and bagged a few peaks to boot. She’s also a skilled photographer (Instagram @anadelcamino) and a Friday isn’t a Friday if Ana Paula isn’t dressed in a traditional blouse or huipil.

* All Lodging during trip based on double occupancy
* Most Meals (listed on itinerary Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)
* Superb Guide
* Transport in private van
* Entry fees

Not included:
* Airfare and transportation to and from the trip pick-up/drop-off locations
* Lodging before and after the trip
* Personal items purchased during the trip
* Alcoholic beverages
* Some meals are not included. On these trips, Traditions Mexico invites you to explore the local cuisine at your leisure.
* Gratuities for your Traditional Mexico Guides may be given at your discretion in response to their professionalism and leadership.
* Industry standard is for each individual guest to tip the guide team 5-10% of the trip price.
* Room Service
* Travel Visa Fees

See Frequently Asked Questions for more details.