*2016 Trip Full
Oct 27 - Nov 3, 2016
* Mexico’s most iconic festival, from the preparations to the party.
* Create an altar of flowers, food and memories
* Sense the souls’ return in a candlelit graveyard in a remote village on the bend of a river
* Truly enjoy this celebration far beyond the tourist throng.
* Cook regional food and mill cacao
* Visit remote ruins, mezcal stills, house altars
* Immerse yourself fully in the biggest market days of the year
* Enjoy home cooked meals
* Meet weavers, candle makers, distillers, cooks and the people who create the items that are necessary to make this festival happen.
Day of the Dead,
Glorious!! The most beautiful and wildest festival of the year! One of the most wonderful places in Mexico and the most beautiful season. Fall in Oaxaca means clear, vibrant air, green hillsides and field after field full of wild flowers. And Day of the Dead means the markets, house altars and graveyards will also be filled with flowers. This is a journey to celebrate the best of places during the best of times.
Our travels will take us into rural Mexico and into the homes and workshops of weavers, candle makers, distillers, cooks and the people who create the items that are necessary to make a festival happen. And of course, this being Day of the Dead, the annual celebration of the return of the souls of the deceased, we'll visit the bright graveyards to see each and every tomb adorned with flowers, candles, sugar cane, oranges…In every household we visit there will be an altar piled high with food, scented by copal incense and the memories of the dead.
Our backcactus tour is one of a kind for we will spend the night of Todos Santos in a remote village graveyard under a starry sky on the bend of a river in a cactus lined valley far, far from the maddening crowds. While in the village we'll spend time building an altar, meeting bread bakers, and enjoying food with the villagers. The location is breath-taking, the people friendly and welcoming.
Our travels also will take us to the overflowing pre-festival markets, the biggest market days of the year. We'll visit the town of Mitla, the Zapotec "place of the dead with some of the most ornate rockwork in Mesoamerica. We'll stay in the village of Teotitlan and visit a ceremonial candle maker and see how fine wool rugs are woven. We'll visit a mescal distiller and pulque brewer, mill cacao and learn to make Zapotec tamales. We'll head into the hills to the mineral springs of Hierve el Agua to take in the spectacular springs and views… And more… plenty more. Join us on this trip and you will discover a place that words cannot describe.
B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner included in trip cost
Day 1, WELCOME TO OAXACA. (D)
Arrive in Oaxaca for our first meeting at 6pm followed by dinner on the town.
Evening in Oaxaca.
Day 2, MARKET DAY. (LD)
After breakfast we head to the Tlacolula market, one of Oaxaca's largest and most interesting markets, and today it will be going full tilt as people from the surrounding villages come in to buy food and flowers for the Day of the Dead celebrations. After getting our fill of the market's excitement we will retreat to the sanctuary of a silent, tree draped cemetery, unlike any you've likely ever seen and a fitting place to find ourselves on our first day of travel on this Day of the Dead journey. We'll round off the day with a visit to the peaceful ruins of the Zapotec ceremonial center of Yagul.
Evening in Mitla.
Day 3, COOKING & A ZAPOTEC WEAVING VILLAGE (BLD)
The state for today’s explorations is the Zapotec mega-weaving village of Teotitlan del Valle, a town of 5,000 weavers. We'll see how rugs are woven, learn about natural dyeing methods used by some weavers in the village and visit with ceremonial candle makers whose work is so important for rituals like Day of the Dead. But first we cook our lunch! We spend the morning with a skilled traditional cook learning how to make a tasty Zapotec meal.
Evening in Mitla.
Day 4, A "FROZEN" WATERFALL , MITLA & AGAVE DRINKS (BL)
An early start this morning to head into the hills to the little hamlet of Roaguia where we explore the mineral springs of Hierve el Agua with their "frozen" waterfalls, pools and broad vistas. Then we head to a village that is the self-proclaimed “world capital of mezcal” where we’ll, of course, visit a mezcal still, learning from the craftsmen how they turn agave plants into this delicious and potent distillate. We’ll also enjoy a home-cooked lunch here, no doubt with a tasty aperitif. After a good lunch a visit to ruined palaces of Mitla, once known as the "Place of the Dead", and legendary for the intricate stonework in the palace walls. Here we will see the fabulously intact places with their ornate stone fretwork.
Evening in Mitla.
Day 5, CREATING AN ALTAR (BLD)
We leave Oaxaca valley and travel into a remote and dramatic corner of Oaxaca where cactus grows as thick as grass. Mid-morning will find us in a place of balmy air and mango and lime trees. We'll stop in a small town market below a cliff and shop for flowers, fruits, chocolate and other items that we'll need to build our own altar. We then head to a village in a valley beside a desert river, surrounded by tall cactus and towering mountains where life moves more slowly. Here we settle into the simple and lovely adobe cabins that will be our homes for the next two nights. Then a wander into town to meet some of the villagers, see their altars, visit the graveyard and work on our own collective altar. Evening will be slow and relaxed, with time for chatting, perhaps a walk down by the river and excellent potential for stargazing in this dark corner of the earth.
Evening in village.
Day 6, THE NIGHT THE SOULS COME (BLD)
For those up for a hike well make an expedition this morning beyond the village to the spectacular, but almost unknown and seldom visited red stone ruins that top a large hill at the convergence of two rivers. These ruins are just now beginning to be excavated and understood. The location and views are breath-taking. Afterwards there will be time for swimming and we'll spend the afternoon visiting, as is the way during Day of the Dead. We'll visit the baker who still cooks in a wood-fired, stone oven and see the unusual technique of pit baked tamales. Then some rest, for this is the night the souls come home, and it is custom here to spend the pre-dawn hours in the graveyard, awaiting the return of the souls. We'll be there with the rest of the village, under the veil of stars and among candles, flowers, hushed voices.
Evening in village.
Day 7, OAXACA CITY & FAREWELL DINNER (BLD)
As night becomes day and the sun begins to warm the air we will flow with the villagers back to our homes and the festival for the deceased will continue. Mid-morning we will slowly pack our things and perhaps take a last dip in the river, then say our farewells. As we return to Oaxaca we will have a chance to visit another cemetery. Each cemetery is unique and idiosyncratic, small worlds unto themselves and reminders of the short, sweet gift that are our lives. And today they will be in full glory, adorned with thousands of flowers and full of care. Today we return to Oaxaca city, settle into our hotel and take a slow afternoon for final explorations of Oaxaca city or simply a nap. We gather this evening for a final dinner together and to share stories about all that we've experienced.
Evening in Oaxaca.
Day 8, (B)
This morning catch your flights back home or continue your travels on your own.
Date: Oct 27 - Nov 3, 2016
Duration: 8 days / 7 nights
Where: Oaxaca City, Central Valley and Mixtec Region
Departing and Ending point: Oaxaca City
Single Supplement $230 usd
Trip Guide: Eric Mindling
* All Lodging during trip based on double occupancy
* Most Meals (listed on itinerary Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)
* Superb Guide
* Transport in private van
* Entry fees
* 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
You will have a choice to either mail in your payment by check or pay online by credit card.
A deposit of $450 per person is required to reserve space on this trip.
Final payment is due 90 days before departure. Any registrations made within 90 days of tour date must be paid in full at time of registration.
After we've received your payment, you will receive a confirmation email along with information specific to your trip.
You may register up to 15 days before the trip, but please don't hesitate; trips often fill up quickly.