Mayan Festival 1

Mayan Festival




2019 To Be Confirmed



* Mayan Festivals in full flower

* The greatest celebration you’ve never heard of (which means it’s not crawling with tourists!)

* Witness the raising of the Jaguar Tree

* Delight on stately religious parades and the beauty of traditional fashion.

* Taste the Feast of a unique parade and dance with the Parachicos of Chiapa de Corzo

* Savour the beautiful colonial town of San Cristobal de las Casas.

* Learn about Mayan culture and beliefs from expert guides.


The world of the highland Maya in Chiapas is culturally fascinating and visually astounding any time of year. But when there is a festival happening it all takes a quantum leap higher in WOW factor as rich tradition comes out for show.

Imagine then what it must be like in mid-January when the most important festival of all blossoms in one after another highland village. Wait, don't imagine it, see it in person with us this Winter!

Village after village pulls out the stops to celebrate San Sebastian. Never heard of this party? That's great news, neither has anybody else who's not from the highlands. Thousands of Mayans dressed to the T in traditional dress…and us.

Saints in procession in Chamula, the jaguar tree in Zinacantan, the masked Parachico dancers with their scrub brush heads in Chiapa de Corzo. Burning incense, booming fireworks, parades, horse races, singing, ritual dances and costume that ties the Maya of 1,000 years ago with the Spanish conquest and the present day.

We'll counterbalance the intensity of festival going with afternoons in the beautiful Spanish/Indigenous colonial town of San Cristobal de las Casas. Rich with pedestrian walkways, artisan shops, markets, museums and sidewalk cafes, not to mention beautiful buildings in earth tones capped with Spanish tile roofs, this town is a pleasure for the senses. We'll visit the Mayan Textile museum, Na Balom, the house turned cultural center of pith helmeted jungle explores from another era, the lively city market and more. Plus there will be time to simply put your feet up and soak it all in.

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

Arrivals. You'll want to fly to and from the Tuxtla Gutierrez airport where you can get a shuttle or taxi to San Cristobal, about 1.5 hours away. Our first meeting will be at the lobby of our hotel at 6PM, then we head out to dinner.
Evening in San Cristobal.

We begin to meet the dynamic world of the Mayan highlands today through visits to three different organizations, each with a history of fascinating and important work in the Mayan communities of Chiapas. Our first visit is the weaving cooperative of El Camino de los Altos, which through thoughtful fusion has created a line of beautiful textiles from the hands of Mayan weavers with a twist of French design. Then to Na Balom, the home and museum of two charismatic ethnographers who did fascinating work with the Lancandon jungle Maya in the early 20th century. After lunch and a short walking tour of San Cristobal we’ll close out the day with a visit to the Museum of Traditional Dress in Chiapas where you’ll see examples of the unique community fashion worn from one Mayan community to the next. Equally fascinating is the behind the scenes of this museum, it is run by Sergio Castro, a highly respected humanitarian doing fabulous work in the Chiapan Highlands.
Evening in San Cristobal.

Day 3, FRI. Jan 19 RAISE THE TREE. (BL)
We'll start the day off with a visit to the old market on the edge of San Cristobal. This is a market as markets should be, stall after stall elegantly or haphazardly piled with cabbage, plums, potatoes, dried fish, loaves of bread, rat traps, rubber boots, flowers, net bags and on and on. What the stalls have to offer is fascinating and the people watching is just as good. After the market we head back to Zinacantan (if for no other reason than the name sounds so cool) because today they will be raising the Jaguar Tree. This tree symbolizes the rising of the Milky Way in the night sky and is the stage for the antics of the Jaguar his black face assistants. Plus, it's good fun to watch 20 men in floral tops with ropes raise a 60 foot tall tree. Then we'll return to San Cristobal and have a visit to the beautiful Mayan textile museum.
Evening in San Cristobal.

Day 4, SAT. Jan 20 GRAND CHAMULA. (BL)
We return to the village state of Chamula as the San Sebastian festival shapes up. We’ll begin on the outskirts of town, visiting a sacred spring and the portal to the underworld. We’ll also visit the Passion's house, a room that has been converted into a temple, that looks as much as anything like the entryway to a tropical cave, for it is draped with vines and bromeliads and smoky with mist-like incense. Then we walk a few blocks to the town plaza to witness the spectacle, both wild and stately, of the church saints being paraded around the square in a hail of fireworks and prayer. We´ll return to San Cristobal for lunch. On the afternoon we explore the city around us.
Evening in San Cristobal

Once last trip to colorful Zinacantan! Today we will see it in full festival, villagers by the hundreds dressed from top to bottom in colorful embroidered flowers, ritual dancers dressed in all variety of wonderful costume, and action everywhere. The religious official who have served the saints for a year end their work by putting on the costume of mythological and historical figures - The Spanish Lord and Lady, the Feathered serpent, the Jaguar, the Spooks and the Lacandons. Chip will explain their roles while having a drink with these characters. In the afternoon we return to San Cristobal and will unwind with a visit to the Amber Museum and time to stroll through town.
Evening in San Cristobal

We drop out of the cool highlands today and travel to the town of Chiapa de Corzo where we wrap ourselves up in a festival so unique that even UNESCO has come to the party, declaring it an Intangible Cultural Heritage. We'll see that it's actually quite tangible as we feel the music, watch the parades, taste the feast and touch the irresistible furry headdresses of the hundreds of parachico dancers. The parade and dancers will swirl around us, and we can swirl around with it, or find a piece of shade and be a fly on the wall to the great goings on. In the afternoon we'll return to San Cristobal to take a breather with some free time.Youtube Video
Evening in San Cristobal.

The celebrations continue in the highland village of Tenejapa where elegantly dressed religious officials parade through town in honor of their patron saint. Crowds of villagers in traditional costume fill the plaza and the church is filled with incense and candles. This is one last opportunity to be immersed in the beauty of faith and ritual, in a fusion of rites drawing from the grand days of the Maya and the influence of the Spanish conquerers. And it is simply a moment to see the beauty of humanity and heritage, to see a community come together for a great good time. In the evening we’ll gather for a final dinner of tasty food and good company.
Evening in San Cristobal.

Day 8, WED. Departures. (B)

Date: Jan 17 - 24, 2018

Duration: 8 days / 7 nights

Category: Festivals

Where: Highland Chiapas

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

Cost: $2,190 usd per person

Single Supplement $275 usd

Early Bird Discount - $1,990 usd
If you book 4 months before tour departure

* 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.