Folk Art Tours Oaxaca 1


The Last Shell Fish Dyers, Endangered Silk, The Finest Backstrap

Guaranteed Departure


Folk Art


Jan 14-23, 2019



Visit a 500-year-old silk raising village
Witness Purpura shellfish dyeing with one of the last traditional dyers
Explore a village of 4,000 tapestry weavers
Meet one of the finest baskstrap weavers in Mexico
Travel to the land that inspired Frida Kahlo’s wardrobe
Eat catch of the day on a quiet Pacific beach
Immerse yourself in Oaxacan markets
Explore old Oaxaca City, a UNESCO world heritage site

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From the Oaxacan Coast to the Sierra Madre, this remarkable and diverse journey takes us to one of the last sericulture villages in Mexico, a village of 5,000 tapestry weavers, into the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to visit of village of Zapotec embroiders and Huave backstrap weavers, into the home of the last and great Chontal weavers and onto a remote beach with one of the last ancestral murex dyers on the planet.

The state of Oaxaca is home to a luxurious diversity of textiles. We visit one of the last areas where sericulture is practiced in Mesoamerica, meet weavers and natural dyers in a village of over 4,000 tapestry weavers, explore a fabulous Sunday market and sit in silence in the ruins of Zapotec temples. And then we travel through stunning mountains and valleys to the land of the Isthmus Zapotecs and Huaves to visit a village of embroiders who create the elegant flower-on-velvet festival regalia worn by the women in this region. We’ll visit the home of one of the last weavers of Yautepec, one of the finest backstrap weavers in Mexico. She uses a needle for her shuttle. We’ll travel to a small village on a wide sand spit where backstrap weaving is making a tenuous comeback and crown our journey with a boat trip to white sand beach to witness mollusk juice being milked for the making of the color purple. And quite a bit more.

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

Day 1, Jan 14 (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.
Overnight in Oaxaca

Day 2, Jan 15 (BL)
We explore this city out our front door. Stone churches, intriguing shops, good places to eat, shady plazas all abound. But our eyes will be on threads and we’ll enjoy a private tour of the Oaxacan Textile Museum, peek at the best of the best in a little shop that’s all about Oaxacan indigenous weaving and stop by an artisans coop that is by the people and for the people. Plus we’ll take a look at an elegant church or two, and perhaps take a rest in a shady plaza.
Overnight in Oaxaca.

Day 3, Jan 16 (BLD)
Into the world of Oaxacan threads we go! First stop, visit a family of backstrap weavers in Santo Tomas who use the unusual rigid heddle method of weaving. Then we meet a group of fine hand embroiders in the village of San Antoninio before filling our bellies with lunch in the market town of Ocotlan. We’ll also meet some of the last old time wool handspinners, women who for generations have supplied valley weaving villages with yarn. And we wind up this day of delicious textile travel in the town of Mitla, where we’ll spend the night. But before settling in, we are going to stop by the workshop of a fine backstrap wool weaver and natural dyer to ooo and aaa for a bit.
Overnight in Mitla

Day 4, Jan 17 (BLD)
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 hear some stories about the past and present.
Overnight in Mitla.

Day 5, Jan 18 (BL)
Mitla is most famous for the ruins of ancient Zapotec palaces and this morning we’ll go and visit them before the sun gets sharp. Not only is the stonework of these palaces phenomenal, the designs cut in stone appear to be entirely inspired by woven patterns. No one actually knows, but we’ll let you be the judge. Post ruins we leap into the center of a phenomenal town of over 4,000 weavers called Teotitlan. Given that we don’t have the time nor the income to visit all 4,000 weavers, we’ll visit a couple instead. In one household we’ll see a loom 15 feet wide and meet weavers who are working with contemporary artists to create some very unusual designs. In another we’ll spend time with one of the most accomplished natural dyers in Teotitlan. In yet another household we’ll have lunch! A good meal of home cooked Zapotec cuisine with freshly made tortillas 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..
Overnight in Mitla.

Day 6, Jan 19 (BLD)
Onward! We bid Teotitlan 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 where a tree shaded hotel with a pool awaits us. The pool will be welcome for we have dropped into the tropics and they tend to leave the heater and humidifier on here all the time!
Overnight in Tehuantepec.

Day 7, Jan 20 (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.
Overnight in Tehuantepec.

Day 8, Jan 21 (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.
Overnight in Huatulco.

Day 9, Jan 22 (L)
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 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 (bring your mask if you have one). 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.
Overnight in Huatulco.

Day 10, Jan 23
You my plan your departure for any time today. Feliz viaje!

All itineraries subject to change without notice.

Our trip starts in Oaxaca City and ends on the Pacific coast in Huatulco. You might choose to fly round trip to Mexico City and add one way flights from Mexico City to Oaxaca, and from Huatulco to Mexico City. Aeromexico, Volaris, Viva Aerobus and Interjet are all options for these flights.

Or you can fly to Oaxaca on a direct flight on United through Houston and return to from Huatulco to Houston with United as well. If after tour ends you want to return to Oaxaca City there is a a small plane with

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Date: Jan 14-23, 2019
Duration: 10 days / 9 nights
Category: Textiles
Cost: $2,860
Single Supplement $350 usd
Full payment of your tour is required at time of booking.
Departing point: Oaxaca City, Mexico
Ending Point: Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico

Our trip starts in Oaxaca City and ends on the Pacific coast in Huatulco. You might choose to fly round trip to Mexico City and add one way flights from Mexico City to Oaxaca, and from Huatulco to Mexico City. Aeromexico, Volaris, and Interjet are all options for these flights.

Or you might choose to fly round trip to Oaxaca City on a direct flight on United Airlines through Houston and after tour ends return to Oaxaca City. TAR Airlines and Aerotucan are options for this flight (HUX - OAX).

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* 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.