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Off The Beaten Track Tour

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 9 day(s)
Group Size: 6 - 10 people
Destination(s): Mexico  
Specialty Categories: Crafts Tours   Cultural Journey  
Season: January
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 1850 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 2100 US Dollar (USD)

Oaxaca (Wah-Hah-Kah) is the ancient home of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilization, builders of Monte Alban and Mitla. . It is a charming colonial city, with grand churches, museums and public buildings. The zocalo (town square) is a place where people relax, listen to the mariachi bands, have a drink and watch the local culture pass by.

As a crafts person, artist, or a traveler who likes unusual places, crafts such as woodcarving, weaving, pottery, metal working, baskets and masks are just a few of the crafts that appear everywhere, and are an important part of everyday life in Oaxaca. When we travel to the villages you will see the primitiveness of this area and their craft work reflects their wonderful culture. You will experience the markets which come alive with sights, smells and sounds that one will never forget.

Since the early 1990's, Sharon has concentrated some of her textile, craft and travel interests to the Oaxaca region of southern Mexico. As a textile artist, collector of textiles and an avid traveler to Mexico, she was drawn to this area which is especially rich in traditional Mexican crafts and has many interesting mountain villages that are home to native craftspeople.

Over the years she has enjoyed becoming friends with many of these Mexican craftspeople, merchants, museum curators and lodging owners. Friends in the States have expressed interest in these travels and having the opportunity to take "not the normal type of tour" to this region of Mexico. Since then, there have been 13 successful tours.

We stay at a bed and breakfast that is owned by an American. The owner has many successful years in the hospitality industry. The bed and breakfast is only a few minutes from the town square and the rooms are set around a veranda and flower filled gardens. Their friendly staff gives personal service and prepares delicious home style meals.

This will be a fantastic experience with visits to an archaeological site, visits to the craft villages, museums, churches, galleries and markets as well as have the ability to meet the people of this area. Do not expect the normal run of the mill tour – this will be a very exciting trip with Sharon as your guide to some wonderful, exciting places in Oaxaca.

January 19. Travel Day - Arrive in Oaxaca, Mexico. We will make your way via taxi/van to the Casa Colonial B&B which will be our home for the next 8 days. Evening meal at B&B.

January 20

After breakfast we will travel to the Tlacolula market, which is held every Sunday and is filled with an abundance of local produce, livestock, a wonderful selection of breads and a large variety of area crafts. Within the market area are we will stop by the Dominican Chapel. Our next stop is the archaeological site of Yagul situated in the valley of Oaxaca is noted for its ball court, tomb and for the hilltop fortress with a great view of the valley. Lunch at a roadside restaurant. Our final stop with be to see the church in Tlacochahuaya. Inside are unique 16th century frescoes painted by the indigenous population, splendid retables flanked by sculptures and an altarpiece honoring the image of San Jeronimo make an immediate and lasting impression. The balance of the day will be free time to explore Oaxaca. Dinner at the B&B.

January 21

Breakfast at the Casa. Then we will travel to Teotitlan del Valle, a village that is devoted entirely to the weaving of tapestry style rugs. We have been extended a very generous invitation to visit one family’s home and see the weaving process from the start (dyeing of the yarns) to the final process of the actual weaving of the carpets. Lunch will be in the village at El Descanso. After lunch we have been scheduled for a private tour with Fundación En Vía. This organization provides interest free microloans to help women in Oaxaca start or expand their small businesses, facilitate social change and generate real impacts and cultural experiences. You will meet some of these women, learn about their loans, project plans and get a special glimpse of life in Oaxaca, while you learn about different artisanal trades, traditional foods that help support the local community. The balance of the day will be free time to explore Oaxaca. Dinner at B&B.

January 22

Breakfast at the Casa, then get ready for a very exciting day. It seems so ironic to be able to find a high quality Glass Gallery and Workshop in Oaxaca. Studio Xaquixe – is a sustainability-focused glass studio that transforms recycled industrially produced bottle glass into fine art pieces and mescal bottles. Here we will have the opportunity to tour the studio and gallery, plus view a glass making demonstration. Our next stop will be CASA – Centro de Las Artes de San Agustin opened in 2006. Launched by artist Francisco Toledo, CASA is located in the renovated Vista Hermosa textile mill and is an educational center and art center with wonderful on-going exhibits. Lunch at a roadside restaurant. The balance of the day will be free time to explore Oaxaca. Dinner at B&B.

January 23

Breakfast at the Casa. Put on your walking shoes for today we will spend most of the day in the downtown area of Oaxaca City. Our day starts off with a private walking tour of selected churches with our tour guide Linda Radcliff, who claims this is a tour for the devout, the lapsed, and the never-were. All fees for this tour benefit a Oaxacan program for families of the hospitalized. Also on the schedule is a visit to the Santo Domingo Church and Cultural Center which is a former cloister that houses historical displays, treasures from Tomb 7 at Monte Alban as well as temporary exhibits. Lunch at La Catrina - a downtown restaurant. Free time until a late afternoon private tour of the Textile Muesum of Oaxaca. Tonight we will have dinner on the Zocola and be able to view Danzon (dancing) with a Marimba Band beginning at 6:30 pm.

January 24

Breakfast at the Casa. Today we travel to La Union - one of the three woodcarving villages. The woodcarvers of this village produce a more distinctive 'primitive' style that is not often seen in stores and galleries and we will visit the workshop of the Santiago family. After lunch we make a stop in the pottery village of Atzompa and visit the workshop of either Irma Blanco or Angelica Vazquez to see their work and how it is made. Balance of the day is free time for shopping or just to relax is the gardens at the Casa. Dinner at the B&B.

January 25

After breakfast we travel to Ocotlan for the bustling weekly market, there will be food sampling, a mid-morning snack at “Frida’s” market stand and then a little time on your own to take in the sights. Next stop is Zegache and a private tour to see the most recently restored church by the late, internationally known painter - Rudolfo Morales and the continuing works of the Community Workshop of Zegache. Lunch at the Azucanes. This region of Oaxaca has many craft villages and our next stop will be in Jalietza to see the weavers using traditional backstrap rigid heddle looms. Also in the area are artists who make corn husk figures and others who work cane into sturdy cargo baskets and fine market baskets. We arrive back to Oaxaca late afternoon. Dinner at the Casa.

January 26

Breakfast at the Casa. There is so much more to see and do in downtown Oaxaca, so you have the whole day to spend visiting the markets, museums, galleries, get in some last minute shopping or just sit on the Zocalo and people watch. Lunch will be at the Casa and there is a very special dinner planned at one of my favorite restaurants in town - La Biznaga.

January 27

Today we say goodbye to Oaxaca with an early morning flight back to the States. Transportation to the airport will be provided. Coffee and juice will be available before we leave. A popular legend says that if you eat chapulines (Oaxaca grasshoppers), you will return to Oaxaca someday. It must work since I have been returning since the early 1990’s.

Off the beaten track tour – January

Costs: The “Off The Beaten Track” Tour includes lodging, all meals as indicated on the itinerary, daily tours, ground transportation, local guides, site admissions and all hands on workshops. Lodging at a B&B in Oaxaca City where they serve wonderful Oaxacan cuisine. Single rooms are very limited – you may be paired with another single traveler. $1850 pp/double. $1850 pp/single in a small room, $2100 pp/single in a double. This tour needs at least 8 participants to run, otherwise the tour may be cancelled.

Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds: To secure your place on the tour a non-refundable deposit of $250.00 is required. The balance is due 45 days prior to departure date. When cancellation occurs between the 44th day and the first day of the tour, no refund will be given unless another participant fills the space. If the space is filled, a refund less the non-refundable deposit will be given. A written notification must be received prior to the refund. If the tour is cancelled by us, all fees will be refunded. Make checks payable to Sharon Giles and mail to 564 Old State Road, Oley, PA 19547.

Air Line Reservations: Each person would be responsible for making their own air reservations. Some people may want to use frequent flyer miles, or have their own preferred airline. While others may be flying in from various places around the country. We are available to help people if they have any specific questions about air flight arrangements.

Responsibility: We assume no liability or responsibility for any delay, loss, damage, injury or accident with regards to persons or property caused by fault or negligence of any hotel, transportation, or local operator rendering a part of our services. We shall not be responsible for any expense caused by loss or damage of personal items. It is the participant's responsibility to be adequately insured. The acceptance of our verbal or written confirmation, and a deposit or final payment for services, constitutes your acceptance of the terms and conditions listed above and within any other literature you have received from us regarding this January Oaxaca, Mexico Tour. We reserve the right to make any changes, with or without notice, which might become necessary.

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Price Includes:
- Lodging
- All meals
- Ground transportation
- Daily tours
- Local guides
- Museum admissions
- Archaeological site admissions

- Single rooms very limited - travelers may be paired with another person sharing a room
- Tour is limited to 10 people, however may be up to 20 people with an additional tour assistant.