Day 1: Arrive at our destination airport, Acapulco. From here, we immediately transfer to our base for the Amuzgo region, Ometepec, Guerrero. Upon arrival, we relax in our hotel and enjoy a great welcome dinner at the Carreta Marinero, where our hosts are gourmet cooks!
Day 2: An amazing day awaits, as we travel to the mecca of Amuzgo weavers, Xochistlahuaca, Guerrero, where we meet the extraordinary weavers of the coop, Flor de Xochistlahuaca, lead by master weaver and teacher to young women, Florentina. Here, the tradition remains alive, due to the dedication of these women to their art and heritage. We see the “huipils” and “batas” that are woven on back strap looms, taking up to six months to produce. In some cases, naturally colored cottons are used, with hues of caramels and greens. From here, we travel to another Amuzgo community, this one in Oaxaca, San Pedro Amuzgo to learn more of these regional traditions. Overnight in Pinotepa Nacional.
Day 3: Today, once again, we travel to meet some of the most talented and inspiring weavers, spinners and dyers of the coastal Mixtec region of Oaxaca, known as the Costa Chica. In two communities, Pinotepa de Don Luis and San Juan Colorado, we will learn of the traditional dress of the region, such as the “posahuanco” wrap skirt of purple Murex, indigo and cochineal stripes. Overnight in Puerto Escondido. Time permitting, we will enjoy a boating excursion to area mangroves to rest and relax and reflect on our previous two days. We enjoy a lovely dinner at the Hotel Santa Fe, overlooking the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean.
Day 4: We travel further up the coast to Huatulco, and after checking into our hotel near the Santa Cruz Bay, we relax before a fun afternoon of rafting and bird watching on the Rio Copalita. We will be in gentle Level One current, and can paddle our way towards La Bocana beach, where the river empties into the Pacific Ocean. We enjoy lunch on the beach.
Day 5: Still in Huatulco, we are met by Abacuc, the leader of the Mixtec coop of purple Murex dyers. We will travel with Abacuc and members of the coop to learn about the tradition of dyeing with a live mussel, without harming it. We will learn of the work of anthropologist Marta Turok, to educate people on the threats to this now endangered (near extinct) creature of nature and the natural dye traditions.
Day 6: Leaving Huatulco, we continue up the Oaxaca coast towards Salina Cruz, to the Huave community of weavers, San Mateo del Mar. While the women are Huave, they have adopted the dress of the Zapotec women of the Isthmus; the colorful huipil accompanied with a flowing, equally colorful skirt. Their traditional whimsical weaving designs of animals, fish, butterflies, can be seen on the runners, place mats and other utilitarian items they weave of cotton on backstrap looms.
From here, we travel into the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to visit the Zapotec communities of Tehuantepec and Juchitan. We will learn of the history of “traje”, or dress which is so emblematic of this region, making the women of Tehuantepec a favorite subject of artists and sculptors, such as Roberto Montenegro and Francisco Zuniga, and made popular by Frida Kahlo, who often was seen wearing beautiful “traje” brought to her by travelers to the region. We overnight in Tehuantepec.
Day 7: We leave the coast and Isthmus behind and begin our journey into the Valley of Oaxaca. Entering from the Eastern Valley, we stay in Teotitlan del Valle to learn of the Zapotec weaving traditions that formerly were done in cotton and on backstrap looms, but following the arrival of the Spaniards, transitioned to wool and treadle looms. The tapestries woven in this community are known worldwide. We will also visit the ancient ruins of Mitla where we see the carved stoned frets known as “grecas” and “caracoles”, design motifs that have transitioned from carved stones to woven tapestries.
Day 8: Today is Friday, and no where are Fridays more vibrant and colorful than on market day in Ocotlan, south of Oaxaca City. In addition to the market, we will visit the extraordinary Rodolfo Morales Museum, a former convent that was lovingly restored by the Ocotlan, Oaxaca native, artist Rodolfo Morales. Traveling back towards Oaxaca City, we visit San Antonino to see the charming and colorful floral embroidered blusas that were very popular in the sixties and seventies (remember peasant blouses? These are the good ones!”). One final stop is in Santo Tomas Jalieza to see fun backstrap woven cotton belts and bags.
Day 9: In the morning, we visit the Museo Textil de Oaxaca, a showcase of Oaxaca, Mexico and Global textile traditions, housed in a former convent. It is humbling and exhilarating to see the “common thread” that unites communities throughout the world and through the ages in common weaving traditions, techniques and design motifs. It reminds us that we are not that different from our global neighbors. As if this is not enough, we receive a guided visit to the Botanical Gardens! We enjoy a meal of clay oven/wood fired fish at Marco Polo, before a late afternoon visit to Monte Alban, one of the first urban centers of Mesoamerica. Our farewell dinner is at Café Oaxaca in the Reforma neighborhood.
Day 10: Sadly we depart, or you may extend your stay in Oaxaca.
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