Folk Art Tours Oaxaca 1

Fiber Arts of the Oaxacan Coast


Folk Art


March 2 - 10, 2017



* Book early and
save $200 usd​

* Trip Guide: Eric Mindling

* Weaving, dyeing and remote indigenous communities.

* Dye with one of the last traditional purple shell-fish dyers on the planet.

* Bath in the warm Pacific, explore a mangrove lagoon.

* Meet some of the finest backstrap weavers in the Country.

* Spin natural brown cotton on mangrove spindles (should you be so bold as to try!)

* Travel where few foreigners ever wander, where Mexico's roots are still strong.



Some of the very best of Mexico's indigenous weaving is found along remote reaches of the Oaxaca coast. We go visiting Mixtec and Amuzgo backstrap weavers, hand spinners and natural dyers as well as taking a trip to a remote beach with one of the last traditional purple shell-dyers on the planet.

The land of Mixtecs, Amuzgos, and Afro-Mexicanos, once the lair of pirates and coffee traders and still filled with mysteries and secrets, the Oaxacan south coast was virtually closed to the outside world until 1982 when the coastal highway was paved. Now the coast has opened up and tourists have discovered the wonderful beaches of this south coast and travel the long highway to bathe in the warm Pacific. But the Oaxacan coast still hides many secrets.

Principle among them are a group of 15 Mixtec dyers who are the last people on earth to still dye purple with the Purpura Panza shell fish (cousin to Murex) as part of an intact tradition. On this pioneering we will enjoy the unique honor of traveling with one of the last shell dyers to see where and how this ancient process is done.

We'll visit weavers who make pozahuancos, sarong-like wraps, with this purple cotton. We travel to an Amuzgo village to meet some of the finest backstrap brocade weavers in the country and visit Mixtec villages where brown cotton is cultivated and hand-spun into beautiful thread. And always, to our south, will be the luring blue water, mangrove lagoons and sand beaches of the Pacific.

The ocean, being the greatest of all fabrics, will not escape our attention either and we will splash in its inviting waters at some of the finest beaches the coast has to offer, and eat of its fruits, for here fresh fish, lobster and shrimp abound.

This is a unique and rare trip created as a result of years of exploration and research among the villages and weavers of the Oaxacan coast. It is an adventure not to be missed.

For more about shell dying, please see our article, Purpua! and our slide show, Dying Murex on the Oaxacan Coast.

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

Our trip begins at the Pacific coast resort beach town of Puerto Escondido. Participants will make arrangements to get to Puerto Escondido and the hotel where we will hold our first meeting in the evening. There are daily flights to the Puerto Escondido airport from Mexico City and Oaxaca.
Evening in Puerto Escondido.

After a fine breakfast overlooking the beach and surf we travel up coast and deep into the realm of the traditional coastal Mixtec people. We'll stop in Jamiltepec to visit the hilltop market where handspindles made of mangrove root and clay can be bought. Then we will visit Huazolotitlan, a Mixtec weaving and mask-carving village. We will spend lunch and the afternoon with a family of weavers, learning about back strap weaving and the traditions of this village.
Evening in Pinotepa National.

This morning we head to another Mixtec weaving village, San Juan Colorado. Here we will meet with a collective of woman weavers who cultivate brown cotton and who are working to bring back natural dyeing methods used by their ancestors. This group is combining their traditional weaving skills with new design and color ideas to create textiles that appeal to a broader audience (like us!). They will prepare us a traditional Mixtec lunch as well.
Evening in Pinotepa Nacional.

Today we travel inland to the village of Pinotepa de Don Luis. Here we will visit Habacuc Avendano, a traditional purple shell dyer, and see how the shell-dyed purple cotton is combined with red silk and indigo blue dyed cotton to make pozahuancos, the traditional wraps used by Mixtec women along the coast. We'll also visit the village market with a moment to observe the pace of life in this ancient town. From here we leave Oaxaca state and head into Guerrero and the land of the Amuzgo weavers. We will spend the evening in the hilltown of Ometepec with its amazing wedding cake church.
Evening in Ometepec.

Day 5, The Flower of Xochistlahuaca (B,L,D).
This morning we head into the hills to visit the Amuzgo village of Xochistlahuaca (zoew-cheest-La-waka) where we we’ll visit the superb woman’s weaving cooperative called La Flor de Xochistlahuaca. The weavers here create some of the finest and most beautiful brocade work being produced in Mexico and you will likely never see cotton spun more finely than by these women with their hand spindles. We will see Amuzgo backstrap weaving and brocade, as well as learn about cotton cultivation, and the efforts this group is making to appeal to new buyers.
Evening in Ometepec.

Do your yoga before getting into the van, because today we will cover long miles in the van, heading back down coast to our final destination. A lovely hotel and a fine beach. Along the way we will stop in the town of Cuajinicuilapa (say it 5 times fast) to visit the Museo de la Cultura Afromestizo, the only museum in Mexico dedicated to the African presence in Mexico. Along this stretch of the coast there are many Afro-Mexican communities, founded hundreds of years ago by escaped and freed slaves. We’ll stop at a palm-thatched, beach front restaurant for a lunch of catch of the day. And at our day’s end the ocean awaits us with its warm water and waves to wash away our road weariness.
Evening in San Agustinillo.

We have traveled hundreds of miles and seen many things and now it is time to take a breather. The day is yours to play on the beach, lounge in your hammock or explore. For those interested, in the late afternoon we’ll take an excursion to visit a nearby mangrove lagoon where we take a boat ride to see crocodiles, birds and iguanas. Also, as an option, you can take a boat trip out to sea to spot sea turtles and dolphins early in the morning. But mostly, we recommend treating yourself to a day of doing a great deal of very little other than being hypnotized by the sea.
Evening in San Agustinillo.

Habacuc Avendano, the Mixtec shell dyer we met several days ago, joins us today for a trip to the rocky coastline and a boat ride out to a white sand beach with sky-blue waters where the little shells live that produce a regal purple dye. For untold generations shell dyers have travelled these rocky bays, milking purpura panza for its stunning purple dye. We will stand witness to this rare and ancient process as Habacuc harvests the shells to dye a skein of cotton and explains to us how it is that, after thousands of years of harvesting shells on this coast, there are still shells to dye with. We'll also have a picnic on the beach and a swim and a snorkel. In the afternoon we travel back to our seaside hotel and gather in the evening for a final meal together, serenaded by the Pacific ocean. Note: the shellfish live along the rocky shoreline, bring shoes with good grip that you don’t mind getting wet…old tennis shoes or Chaco sandals are great.
Evening in San Agustinillo.

Day 9, (B)
After breakfast we say our final adioses and each head our own way. Transport can be arranged to the Huatulco airport, about 45 minutes away.

Date: March 2 - 10, 2017

Duration: 9 days / 8 nights

Category: Folk Art

Where: Oaxacan Coast

Starting point: Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca

Ending point: San Agustinillo, Oaxaca (you can depart from Huatulco or Puerto Escondido airport, each a 1-hour taxi ride)

Cost: $2,155 usd

Early Bird Discount - $1,955 usd
Register and pay your deposit before Nov 5th

Single Supplement $285 usd

Trip Guides: 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

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

To reserve your place please fill out our Registration Form.


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.