Folk Art Tours Oaxaca 1

Purpura, Silk & Threaded Flowers


Folk Art


Feb 20 - 28, 2017



* Book early and
save $200 usd​

* Visit a 500-year-old silk raising village

* Witness murex dyeing with one of the last traditional purpura dyers on the planet

* Immerse yourself in Oaxaca markets

* Meet one of finest backstrap weavers in Mexico

* Enjoy artisan home visits

* Eat catch of the day on a quiet Pacific beach

* Travel to the land that inspird Frida Khalo’s wardrobe.

* Explore old Oaxaca city, a UNESCO world heritage site and great restaurants.


The state of Oaxaca is home to a luxurious diversity of textiles. This journey compliments our Fiber Arts of the Oaxacan Coast tour in exploring some of the fabulous indigenous textile regions of the state. We travel into the Sierra Madre to visit one of the last areas where sericulture is practiced in Mesoamerica. We visit weavers and natural dyers in Teotitlan, a village of over 5,000 tapestry weavers.

We journey through stunning mountains and valleys to the land of the Isthmus Zapotecs and Huaves. Here well go to a village of embroiders who create the elegant and much sought after festival regalia worn by the women in this region. We'll visit the home of one of the last weavers of Yautepec, who is also one of the finest backstrap brocade artists in Mexico, using a needle for her shuttle. We'll travel to a remote village on a wide sand spit where backstrap weaving is making a tenuous comeback and crown our journey with a boat trip to a remote Pacific beach to witness the process of shell fish dyed purple from the hands of an old-school master.

Our trip starts on Oaxaca city and ends in the coast in Huatulco. You might choose to fly round trip to Mexico City and add a one way flight to Oaxaca and a one way flight from Huatulco to Mexico City.

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner included in tour price.

Day 1, Mon, Feb 20th (D)
Plan to arrive at our hotel in Oaxaca by no later than 6pm. We will meet, have a trip orientation and head out to dinner.
Evening in Oaxaca

Day 2, Tue, Feb 21 (BLD)
Today we step straight into the world of traditional Oaxaca and textiles, visiting the village of Teotitlan del Valle, home to over 4,000 tapestry weavers. We’ll begin by meeting a master natural dyer and learning a little about how he works with cochineal, indigo, marigold and other dye ingredients to achieve the beautiful colors in his tapestries. We’ll also visit a home workshop of a weaving who has a loom 15 feet wide and who works with contemporary artists to create some very unusual designs. In another household we’ll enjoy a good meal of home cooked Zapotec cuisine with freshly made tortillas (you’ll get a chance to try making a couple if you dare) of home grown corn, fresh fruit water, home made salsa and a tasty main course with a sip of mescal as an aperitif. We’ll also visit this town’s simple and lovely church adorned with bouquets of flowers kept fresh 365 days of the year by the 13 men who tend the saints as well as ornate wax candles. Time allowing we’ll even meet on of the village’s candle makers and see how they ply their art. We’ll spend the evening in a town center hotel in the village of Mitla.
Overnight in Mitla

Day 3, Wed, Feb 22 (BL)
Today is silk! The pine covered peaks that rise high above our hotel are part of the Eastern Sierra Madre. Into them we travel today to visit one of the last surviving sericulture areas in Mexico. 450 years ago silk was booming throughout Oaxaca, but a century of disease, corruption and competition from the Orient turned that boom into a bust. Oaxaca, remote, hidden and deeply rooted, hasn’t paid much attention to the wider world’s cycles of boom and bust. What you no longer find anywhere else you still find in Oaxaca. A village of silk artisans carrying on a trade introduced by the Spanish almost 500 years ago is one of those things. Today we go to meet some of those people and learn how the raise, spin, dye and weave this unique silk.
Evening in Mitla.

Day 4, Thu, Feb 23 (BL)
We take a short break from textiles this morning to visit the village of San Marcos and meet a family that has been producing pottery for hundreds of generations. We’ll see how they turn locally harvested clay into beautiful stone polished pottery with no wheels or kilns as we know them. Then we’ll visit the palaces of an ancient kingdom at the archeological site of Mitla. These palaces are known for their fine stone fretwork (which bear a striking resemblance to woven designs). We’ll enjoy a home-cooked lunch at the house/workshop of a family that weaves cloth on flying shuttle looms. Which means we’ll also get to see the fine cloth produced on these rickety, clacking looms.
Evening in Mitla.

Day 5, Fri, Feb 24th (BLD)
Onward! We bid Mitla and the Oaxaca valley farewell and head to the hills, following the old trade path turned Pan-American Highway to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. En route we’ll make a small detour to visit a weaver…just about the last weaver, in a village that once did some of the finest cotton weaving in Oaxaca. Actually, it still does in the hands of one artist. The village is Yautepec and our weaver works so finely that she uses a needle for a shuttle. After marveling over her fine work we head to the bustling Zapotec town of Tehuantepec to be greeted by the balmy air of the lowlands. Our simple hotel in the center of town gives us front row access to this interesting community.
Evening in Tehuantepec.

Day 6, Sat, Feb 25 (BLD)
If you are familiar with the famous Mexican artist and cultural icon, Frida Kahlo, then you will know that she favored hand-embroidered floral blouses and skirts, often times of velvet. (If you aren’t familiar with Frida, take a moment to do so- look on the internet, see the movie Frida). Ornate, hand embroidered blouses and skirts are the dress-up, show off clothing of the Isthmus woman. Frida fell in love with the costume and made it her own. This morning we go to the little village of Santa Rosa, which is one of the principle sources of these blouses. In Santa Rosa, almost every woman spends part of the day embroidering blouses that are commissioned by shop owners and women from the neighboring towns. We will visit with a few of these women to see their stunning work. Then we take a back road and travel out to the long sand spit between the Pacific and a large lagoon called the Calm Sea to visit with the Huave people who live there. In San Mateo we will meet with the family of Justina Oviedo, featured in The Great Masters of Mexican Folkart, and see how these backstrap weavers incorporate images from their surroundings, like crabs and cranes, into their beautiful weavings.
Evening in Tehuantepec.

Day 7, Sun, Feb 26th (BL)
Today we make a leisurely migration along the Pacific coast to the small resort town of Huatulco. But before we get there we’ll stop in a little place that is decidedly un-resort; a long, quiet beach with simple thatch roofed eateries run by local fisherfolk and good cooks. Lunch will be catch of the day grilled with garlic or wood baked. And there will be time for a swim and stretching out a hammock.
Evening in Huatulco.

Day 8, Mon, Feb 27th (LD)
Today we climb aboard a small boat with a Mixtec man whose family has been dyeing cotton with purpura panza (murex cousin) for uncounted generations. We head up the rocky coastline to a white sand beach with sky-blue waters where the little shells live that produce the regal purple dye. We will stand witness to this rare and ancient process (bring water proof shoes for rock hopping) as the dyer harvests the shells to dye a skein of wool 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 have a picnic on the beach and a swim and a snorkel. In the afternoon we boat back to the big bay and you’ll have free time in the afternoon and evening to explore the area.
Evening in Huatulco.

Day 9, Tue, Feb 28th (B) Our trip concludes this morning after breakfast.

Date: Feb 20 - 28, 2017

Duration: 9 days / 8 nights

Category: Folk Art

Where: Oaxacan Coast, Isthmus, Tlacolula Valley

Departing point: Oaxaca City, Mexico

Ending Point: Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico

Cost: $2,095 usd per person

Early Bird Discount - $1,895 usd
Register and pay your deposit before Oct 20th

Single Supplement $300 usd

Trip Guide: Carlos Ortega & Denise Lechner

* 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.