Folk Art Tours Oaxaca 1

Purpura, Silk & Threaded Flowers


Folk Art


Feb 11 - 19, 2016



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

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

Plan to arrive at our hotel in Huatulco by no later than 6pm. We will meet, have a trip orientation and head out to dinner.
Evening in Huatulco.

Today we climb aboard a small boat with a Mixtec man whose family has been dyeing cotton with purpura panza (cousin to murex) 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 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 have a picnic on the beach with an opportunity to swim and snorkel.
Evening in Huatulco.

We'll travel down the Pacific coast today and out to the long sand spit between the Pacific and a large lagoon called the Calm Sea. This is the home of the indigenous group called the Huaves. In San Mateo del Mar we will meet with the family of Justina Oviedo, featured in The Great Masters of Mexican Folkart. Gathered under a plam-thatched roof, we’ll see how these backstrap weavers incorporate images from their surroundings, like crabs and cranes, into their beautiful weavings.
Then to the bustling Zapotec town of Tehunatepec where we'll spend the next two nights.

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 visit embroiders in the towns of San Blas and Santa Rosa where for many people embroidery is their trade. We'll also see how hammocks are made, visit the Tehuantepec market and learn about the totopo, a baked tortilla unique to this region.
Evening in Tehuantepec.

Onward! We bid Tehuantepec and the lowlands a farewell and head to the hills, following the old trade path turned Pan-American Highway to the legendary Oaxacan valley. En route we'll make a small detour to visit one of the last weavers in a village that once did some of the finest cotton weaving in Oaxaca. In fact, in the hands of this weaver, this town still creates some of the finest weaving, not only in Oaxaca, but in all of Mexico. The village is San Bartolo Yautepec and the weaver is Nicolasa Pascual, recently featured in the "Great Masters of Oaxacan Folkart”. After marvelling over her fine work we head to the small Zapotec town of Teotitlan del Valle, where we’ll stay at a small, family run hotel in a village that is at the heart of Oaxacan weaving!
Evening in Teotitlan.

Teotitlan is a phenomenal Zapotec town of over 5,000 weavers and the focus of today's exploration. We'll start right at home, because as it turns out the owner of our hotel is also one of the most accomplished natural dyers in Teotitlan. He'll show us how it's done. Then, given that we don't have the time nor the income to visit all 5,000 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 household we'll have lunch! 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.
Evening in Teotitlan.

Day 7, SILK! (BLD)
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. Nearly 500-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.
Evening in Teotitlan.

We conclude out travels in the colonial city of Oaxaca. We'll enjoy a private tour of one of Oaxaca's gems, the Textile Museum of Oaxaca, as well as a walking tour of old town Oaxaca. We might even peek into a shop that has the finest Oaxacan textiles in the world and we'll most certainly sit down to a lunch of good Oaxacan food. You'll have the afternoon free to explore as you wish, but we'll meet up again in the evening for a final meal together.
Evening in Oaxaca.

Day 9, (B)
You my plan your departure for any time today or choose to stay on and join us for two more days of optional tour extensions. See below for details.

Date: Feb 11 - 19, 2016

Duration: 9 days / 8 nights

Category: Folk Art

Where: Oaxacan Coast, Isthmus, Tlacolula Valley

Departing point: Huatulco, Oaxaca

Ending Point: Oaxaca City

Cost: 6-12 guests $1,995 usd per person, 3-5 guests $2,095 usd per person

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.