Nov 12-16, 2017
* Travel into deep, indigenous Mexico, far off the beaten track
* Back strap weaving, and hand embroidery like you’ve never seen
* Village and home visits, true person to person encounter
* Grand Spanish fortress monasteries and a meal in a 400 year old hacienda
* Gaze at murals over 1,000 years old, a window into another Mexico
* An ideal journey for lovers of authentic textiles and culture
Beyond the buzzing world of her cities, ancient Mexico breathes, full of stories and living history. This journey takes us there. Our Mecca is the upper Mixteca region in the state of Oaxaca. Well off the beaten track and well worth visiting, this region is home to some of the most colorful textile villages in Mexico, rare towns where the old ways of traditional fashion are alive and well. We take you inside these and other villages, introducing you to weavers, embroiderers and basket plaiters. We also will visit the ruins of the palace of Cacaxtla with its amazing murals, windows into this land a millenia ago. We spend an afternoon in the patinaed peace of a four hundred year old Spanish hacienda and we’ll peek into a Dominican monastery in the center of a fallen kingdom. But more than anything we meet people, old time artisans and creative hearts carrying forward their priceless inheritance, the woven, clay, palm voice of their rooted ancestors. Far beyond the guidebooks and tourist routes, this is a journey for textile lovers and explorers curious about how people live and what’s around the next corner.
Day 1. NOV 12, SUN (LD)
You will be met at 8:30 this morning (please be sure to eat breakfast first) for a bright and early start to a fabulous adventure. We drive south today, heading deeper into old Mexico. Indeed our first stop is VERY old, the 1,400 year old palaces and murals of Cacaxtla! Few places in Mexico are ancient murals so intact. Fascinating for many reasons, including having a painted glimpse of what people wore so long ago. Then we travel into slightly more recent history with a journey into the countryside of the Puebla Valley for a visit to an old Spanish hacienda where we’ll lunch, learn about pulque/agave beer and a bit about the history of this rustic and elegant old place. Late afternoon will find is in the beautiful old colonial city of Tlaxcala.
Overnight in Tlaxcala.
Day 2. NOV 13, MON (BLD)
An early departure for a full day of travel and experiences that will take us into the depths of the Mixtec highlands of Oaxaca!! But first we stop in an old city at the foot of a volcano to visit with a group of Otomi women who carry forward into the 21st century the fine embroidery tradition of their ancestors. Then onward, through long wide valleys with glimpses of volcanos and mountains, our road takes us through a forest of cactus and a wild canyon. In the afternoon we roll up to an enormous fortress monastery in a tiny town with a lot of history. This is Yanhuitlan, and here we will stretch our legs and fill our bellies with a home cooked meal and a visit to a jubilant potter’s home/workshop meeting a creative and humorous husband and wife pottery team who use old techniques to craft new ideas. Then our final leg, winding through pine trees and villages from another time until we arrive at the bustling town of Tlaxiaco, which will be our base for three nights.
Overnight in Tlaxiaco.
Day 3. NOV 14, TUE (BL)
Oaxaca is full of secrets and surprises. The Mixtec village of San Pablo is one of the grandest for textile lovers. While almost unknown and unheard of beyond this region and never visited by tourists, the traditional dress of the women here is perhaps the most unique in Oaxaca. And everyone uses it every day. White blouses with colorful embroidery, pleated skirts, bright beaded necklaces and almost florescent head shawls are the look of the decade. The embroidery technique, something like smocking, but not. From here we’ll visit Tlacotepec where a special basket is made from plaited yucca leaves and decorative belts are woven on backstrap looms.
Overnight in Tlaxiaco.
Day 4. NOV 15, WED (BL)
Today we visit two villages, one Mixtec and the other Trique. Two languages, two histories. In the Mixtec village, a community on the verge of losing their weaving tradition, we meet a group making an effort to revive it. This village is remote and few outside visitors come here. That’s part of the challenge.. Then we go even more remote, to the land of the Trique Indians and a village full of women who wear laboriously woven and brocaded full length red huipiles, or gowns. We’ll visit a family of weavers in a log cabin on the edge of the mountain and see why it takes months to make one of these huipiles. Here the weaving ways are alive and well…for the people by the people. This is one of the last regions in Oaxaca where almost all the women still dress traditionally. We’ll also enjoy a homemade lunch in a log cabin, and we couldn’t feel further away from that enormous city in which we began our journey.
Overnight in Tlaxiaco.
Day 5. NOV 16, THU (BLD)
…and then back again. We retrace our route, from this far and deep corner of another land, of different ways, of living heritage, coming ever closer to the fast-paced, modern world with each hour and finally finding ourselves in Mexico City again as the evening settles in. But first one more taste of what’s old and threaded. Mid journey we stop in the sun-soaked town of San Gabriel to see the work of a group of embroiders and enjoy lunch. Finally, we climb the pass in the shadow of the great volcanos of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl, the route once traveled by Montezuma and Hernan Cortez, and drop into the valley of Mexico, the heart of this nation. We’ll enjoy a final meal together tonight, celebrating the experiences we’ve just gifted ourselves.
Overnight in Mexico City.
NOTE: ITINERARY SUBJECT TO CHANGE
Date: Nov 12-16, 2017
Duration: 5 days / 5 nights
Category: Folk Art
Cost: $1,750 usd
Single Supplement: $300 usd
Departing point: Mexico City
Ending Point: Mexico City
Meeting Point: We'll be meeting at Hotel Geneve (NATCC conference venue Hotel) on the first day of the tour. Please be ready to leave at the lobby. Ana Paula will be meeting you there.
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.
• Professional, local bilingual guides
• All local transport in private van
• Entry fees, tips for meals and drivers
• Five nights double-occupancy accommodation in 3- and 4-star locally-owned hotels
• All activities and meals as described in itinerary
• International air tickets and ticketing fees
• Airport transfers
• Travel and trip cancellation insurance
• Alcoholic beverages
• Items of a personal nature such as, incidental charges at the hotel, laundry or communication (phone, internet, etc.)
• Discretionary tips to guides and service staff