Nouveau Maya Weavers

March 6 - March 13, 2019

Quick Details

  • Dates: March 6-13, 2019
  • Duration: Seven nights/eight days
  • Capacity: 11 maximum
  • Where: San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapan highlands
  • Departing and ending point: San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas

About the Maya Weavers Tour

Join us on a journey through the highland world of Maya weavers and meet the dedicated team working with them to dream up new ideas in their ancient weavings. Our trip takes us to four villages, each with a wonderfully unique way of dressing and weaving. We meet weavers and their families in their homes, where they share their knowledge, from complex backstrap weaving and fast floor looms to a Maya method for making a skirt look as wooly as a mountain sheep!

And to make a great trip even better, the weavers we meet are part of a group of 130 Maya women working together with French designers in an alliance born in 1996. They are called El Camino de Los Altos (The Highland Road). Together they have created a unique textile collection combining contemporary design and Maya heritage. The result is beauty, and of a very practical sort, for it sells from towns of old Mexico to the rues of Paris, and the weavers’ lives are better for it. Meet the people who run this inspiring organization and learn from the weavers themselves how it has impacted their lives.

But wait, there’s more! Through out the trip, we are based in the truly beautiful town of San Cristobal de las Casas, where we can smell the orchids, see a funky and fabulous paper workshop, meet a visionary doctor, explore markets, eat well, and have plenty of opportunities to be merry!


Highlights:

  • Visits to four Maya weaving villages
  • Rare, meaningful access to Maya homes
  • Fascinating weaving and dyeing techniques
  • Home-cooked meals
  • Learn about an inspiring changemaker organization
  • Explore gorgeous San Cristobal de las Casas
  • Markets!

Note:

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

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. 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 20 contemporary artists in exhibitions, performances, installations, and concerts.

From 2006 to 2012, Guide: Ana Paula Fuentes was the Founder and 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 nonprofit association El Camino de Los Altos, formed by Maya weavers and French designers, developing promotion and marketing, and she 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.

  • Chevron down What's Included
    • All lodging during trip based on double occupancy
    • Most meals (listed on itinerary)
    • Superb guide
    • Transport in private van
    • Entry fees
  • Chevron down Not Included
    • Airfare and transportation to and from the 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. The industry standard is for each individual guest to tip the guide team 5-10% of the trip price.
    • Room service
    • Travel Visa fees
  • Chevron down Itinerary
  • B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner included in trip cost

    Day 1 – Wednesday, March 6 (D)

    Our first meeting is in the hotel lobby this evening at 6 p.m. We say hello, talk about the trip, and go out for dinner.

     

     

     

    Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas


    Day 2 – Thursday, March 7 (BL)

    Our first stop today is 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 get a peek behind the scenes this morning and meet the women who run the show. Then we head to one of the communities where ECLA works to see their work in action.

    We go to San Andres Larrainzar, recognized for fine brocade in pick-up style backstrap weaving. Visit ECLA weavers here and ooh and ahh over their work. You get to see traditional designs and learn about the way ECLA weavers have innovated, incorporating tradition with new ideas for stunning results. There is plenty of time to visit with the weavers and get a sense of this patient, thoughtful work.

    Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas


    Day 3 – Friday, March 8 (BL)

    Each highland Maya village is like a mini-nation. Customs, dress, and even language can change from one to the next. Today we visit the nation of Chamula. It’s market day in Chamula–look for the distinctive shaggy wool sold here, and if you are lucky, you might find the man who sells the support spindles for wool and the loom sticks. We also step into the other-world of the Chamula church, which is as close to time travel as you can get.

    In a community nearby, we meet a Chamula weaver and member of ECLA, who shows us how the amazing Chamula skirts are made. They look like sheepskins, but they aren’t. They are woven, mud-dyed, fulled, pulled, and one of a kind, and you get to witness the process.

    In the afternoon, we return to San Cristobal and visit Orquídeas Moxviquil, whose mission is to safeguard for future generations a small sampling of the vast and varied essence of Chiapas’ living natural wonders.

    Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas


    Day 4 – Saturday, March 9 (BLD)

    Today we stay home, in a sense. Instead of traveling to villages, we explore the wonderful city of San Cristobal outside our front door. While ECLA is a fascinating and effective collaboration between artisans, thoughtful designers, and interested buyers of our era, Na Balom is a great collaboration from years ago.

    Na Bolom was 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 visit their house museum, learn about the work they did, and enjoy the scent of woodsmoke and nostalgia.

    Then we enjoy a walking tour of this beautiful old city. Plazas, markets, shops, churches, humanity… we wander through it all as we soak in San Cristobal. We visit Taller Leñateros, founded in 1975 by Mexican poet Ambar Past. The cooperative seeks to preserve, support, and promote Maya and related culture, mostly in the form of paper, prints, and artist books.

    We wrap up our day with a visit to the amazing Maya Textile Museum, hosted by the director of the museum.

    Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas


    Day 5 – Sunday, March 10 (BL)

    Get to know Zinacantan, the village of flowers, from the ones that grow in the greenhouses 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. Browse through beautiful threads, woven belts, embroidered tops, and so much more.

    Then we visit the home of Ana, one of the ECLA weavers, to see how she weaves and learn about how ECLA weavers collaborate around creating new designs. We are also treated to lunch at Ana’s house.

    Back in San Cristobal in the afternoon, we visit Jtatik Samuel Museum, one of the best-kept secrets in San Cristobal de las Casas. It is splendid and vital to understanding the history of Chiapas in the last 50 years together with the story of a great man.

    Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas


    Day 6 – Monday, March 11 (BL)

    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 goes over her work as well as giving those who wish to try a chance to weave as well.

    We enjoy a home-cooked lunch before heading back to San Cristobal, where we visit weavers working with Jacquard looms.

    Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas


    Day 7 – Tuesday, March 12 (BLD)

    For our final full day in the highlands, we explore the city further. San Cristobal is a truly beautiful old city with much to see. We make a few special stops today.

    We visit Margarita Cantu’s studio, a contemporary textile designer working with Maya weavers and who is questioning the fast fashion way of production. This designer has come up with her own concepts to create meaning in her own relationship to the industry, from the making of materials to personal stand-points about consumption.

    We also visit the last man weaving skirts (for Los Enredos de las Mujeres de Los Altos de Chiapas) on pedal looms and dyed with indigo. Then we head to the ECLA store and see the gamut of great items woven in the highlands, some by weavers we’ve met.

    Next, we visit a museum showcasing region dress–a fine way to conclude our journey, for by now we are familiar with some of what we see. 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 share some new memories.

    Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas


    Day 8 – Wednesday, March 13 (B)

    Our trip comes to a close today, as we go onward to other adventures. May the experiences of this journey enrich your days to come.