*Includes day of arrival & departure
Arrive at the Oaxaca City Airport
Oaxaca City Tour
Giant Tule tree
Tlacolula traditional market
Mezcal production tour
Artisans of San Antonio Arrazola
Artisans of Bartolo Coyotepec
Explore a 16th Century Ex-Convent
Monte Alban archaeoloical site
Rural cemetery of Santa Maria Atzompa
Artisan pottery shops
Mitla archaeological zone
Artisans of San Morcos Tlapazola
Artisans of San Miguel de Valle
Alter in a Zapotec home
San Miguel cemetery in Oaxaca City
Depart from the Oaxaca City Airport
Travel day home
One of our staff will be waiting for you upon your arrival at the Oaxaca City Airport. You will then transfer to the Hotel Misión de los Angeles in Oaxaca City where you will check in. The rest of the day/evening is free to relax or explore on your own.
Today is the day to get to know Oaxaca City. A local guide will lead your small group on a walking tour of the city which will include the major landmarks such as the Santo Domingo church, the government palace, and a visit to the Regional Museum of Oaxaca where you will see ancient artifacts from the Mixtec and Zapotec cultures.
You will also stroll the main city markets and see all the items for sale that relate to the Day of the Dead celebration. Lunch will be at a nice local restaurant. After lunch you will have the rest of the afternoon and evening to do more exploring on your own. (B,L)
After breakfast, get your wide angle lens out because you will need it to photograph the Tule tree. First off, it’s over 2000 years old! Even the ancient Aztecs wrote about it. The measurement of the base is about 160 feet in circumference. Yikes! It is one of the oldest living things on this earth.
After your photo opt with this magnificent tree, your group will continue your Oaxaca journey to explore the market in Tlacolula. This market is especially interesting in that there are so many participants who are dressed in traditional Zopotec clothing and many will be speaking Zapotec. Everything from shoes to produce to live animals to crafts from artisans are sold there. Flowers, bakery goods, and other items regarding the Day of the Dead celebration will be prominent on this day. You will have lunch in the “food court” area. OK, it’s not even remotely like the ones at the modern malls.
Nearby, you will learn how Mezcal (a “distant cousin” to Tequila) is produced. Sampling? OF COURSE! Then we will stagger, I mean head back to Oaxaca City for an evening free to explore and relax. (B,L)
Happy Halloween! Yes, you may see kids dressed in costumes trick or treating. It is a custom that has filtered into México from the US but has not taken over the real celebrations which begins this evening; the celebration of Día de los Muertos.
Today your group will travel to the town of San Antonio Arrazola. This town is known for the artisans who create brightly painted animals (Alebrijes).
Then it is off to marvel at the large XVI Century ex-convent in the town of Cuilapam de Guerrero. Here you will learn about its history and architecture.
Your final stop today will be to the town of San Bartolo Coyotepec where you will meet artisans who are known for creating unique black pottery. And of course, there will be time for browsing and shopping in their small stores.
The rest of the afternoon and evening is free to explore on your own and/or relax. (B)
The ruins of one of the earliest cities established in Mesoamerica is located just a very short drive from Oaxaca City. Monte Alban was inhabited over a period of 1500 years first by the Olmecs and then the Zapotecs and Mixtecs. Today, you will see that the structures built here are situated on several hundred artificial terraces which were created on a high ridge with a superior view of the surrounding valleys and hills.
After your tour of this very impressive archaeological site, everyone will travel a short distance to view a peaceful rural cemetery in the small town of Santa Maria Atzompa. It is a picturesque place with a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside. Nearby, there are some local pottery shops for anyone who is interested in browsing.
Next, everyone will head into the town of Villa de Etla to have lunch at a local restaurant. Anyone up for barbecued goat? Afterwards, you can visit the main church and stroll around the town. The folks there really know how to celebrate Día de los Muertos with fun parades complete with costumes and lots of lively music.
Later, you will return to Oaxaca City and your hotel. (B,L)
First on your tour agenda this morning, you will head out to the Mitla Archaeological site. This is an appropriate place to visit on this day of exploration as the word, “Mitla” means the place of the dead or place of burial. This site was considered the “gateway” between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Your tour guide will fill you in on more details and of the significance of this place for the Zapotec and Mixtec people. Also worth noting is that unlike Monte Alban, which sits on a high hill, Mitla was built on a valley floor.
Next on your itinerary, everyone will travel to the town of San Marcos Tlapazola to see the artisans who specialize in making red clay ceramics. It is interesting to see the designs of some of the pottery decorated with roosters, pig snouts, other farm animals, and even dancing dolphins. Lunch will be at a local restaurant.
In the afternoon, you will visit to the village of San Miguel de Valle. This will be an interesting afternoon as your guide (Guillermo) is from this small town. He knows just about everyone! There, you will have the opportunity to visit some homes to see how they have created small alters or shrines to honor their deceased loved ones. You will also visit the home of a women who will show you the steps to making rugs and tapestries which are called, Tepetes. Depending on who else is home, you may visit some other folks in town who create embroidery items.
Your travel group will then return to your hotel for a little rest and a nice farewell dinner. Then later in the evening, get ready to visit one of the main cemeteries in Oaxaca City; the San Miguel Cemetery. It is huge with some very nice decorations on many of the grave sites. The main attraction of the evening will be to see 2000 lit candles, each one located in a small niche found in a cavernous mausoleum. Believe it or not, just outside of the cemetery entrance, you will encounter a big carnival complete with rides, lots of food, and crowds of people. Party! Party! (B,L,D)
After breakfast, you can relax until its time to take a taxi to the Oaxaca Airport for your flight home. If you are joining the group going on the extra 5 day extension trip to Veracruz, you will take off right after breakfast for more México adventures. (B)
2018 Tour Date: October 30 – November 5
Trip Price: $1479 USD / person – double occupancy
Single Supplement: $325 USD
Tour Price Includes
Airport pickup in Oaxaca City, all ground transportation, all entrance fees, private local bilingual guides, tours per itinerary, 6 nights of hotel lodgings, drinking water provided each day, 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 1 dinner
Tour Price Does Not Include
Airfare, transfer to Oaxaca Airport on day 7, additional activities & meals not listed in the trip itinerary, alcoholic drinks, trip interruption insurance, trip medical insurance, tips for your main tour guides & other helpful people
Trip Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Group Size: 8 – 16 people
Suggested Minimum Age: 12 years old
Arrival & Departure Location: Oaxaca International Airport OAX
Deposit: $350 USD
You have the opportunity to extend your vacation and sign up for an extra 5 day trip to explore Mexico’s gulf coast state of Veracruz.
Duration: 5 extra days of touring
Activities: Ancient Ruins, City Tours, Culture/History
Continue your México adventure by traveling north through the beautiful highlands of Oaxaca state and into the neighboring state of Puebla. There you will encounter a region overrun with cactus as far as the eye can see.
Then you will head into the state of Veracruz and tour the cities of Orizaba (out of the 76 largest cities in Mexico, Orizaba was rated the most “peaceful”), the historical city of Veracruz, the capital city of Xalapa, a small seaside town with miles of beaches, and 2 quaint pre-Hispanic towns which are designated as Pueblo Magico towns (Magic towns) by the Mexican government. You will also visit an archaeological site and one of the first municipalities in the New World and one of the first churches built by the Spaniards in the early 1500’s.
You will tour the Anthropology Museum in Xalapa which is the 2nd largest in the country and has a wealth of artifacts including some of the original giant Olmec Stone Heads.
So sign up for this excellent addition to the Day of the Dead celebration and see more of Mexico in one trip. Just make plans to fly out of the Veracruz International Airport instead of the one in Oaxaca City.
Fees: $895 USD / person
Single Supplement: $200 USD
Group Size: 4-16
Includes: All ground transportation, all entrance fees, local bilingual guide, tours per itinerary, 4 nights of hotel lodgings, purified drinking water each day, 4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 1 dinner, transfer to Veracruz Airport on last day
Not Included: Airfare, meals not listed above, alcoholic drinks, travel trip insurance, trip medical insurance, tips for your guide
Helia Bravo Hollis Cactus Botanical Garden / Puebla state
Orizaba City Tour
Veracruz City Tour
San Juan de Ulúa – old harbor fort
Cempoala Archaeological Site
– the first Spanish coastal municipality
– one of the first Spanish churches built in the Americas
Xalapa’s Anthropology Museum
Tour of Xalapa
Coatepec & Xico – Pueblo Magicos towns
See the waterfall used in the movie, Romancing the Stone
Travel day home from the Veracruz Airport
Day 1: November 3
After breakfast, you will say goodbye to Oaxaca City and travel north through the state of Oaxaca and cross over into the state of Puebla. There you will take a guided tour of the Helia Bravo Hollis Botanical Garden; a biosphere reserve to help preserve 53 different species of cacti. There are thousands of them as far as you can see. Later, after lunch, you will head north to the city of Orizaba, Veracruz and overnight at the Hotel Misión Orizaba. (L)
Day 2: November 4
There are signs all around the city of Orizaba that say in Spanish, “Smile, You’re in Orizaba.” Yes, it a very clean and friendly city. One of the main attractions is the Palacio de Hierro (Iron Palace) which was made by the same guy who created the Eiffel Tower. It was built in Belgium, dismantled, shipped, and rebuilt in the center of Orizaba. There are also small museums around town like the soccer museum, the beer museum (Heinekens & Dos Equis are brewed there). Also, you will ride up a cable car (Teliferico) to a nearby hill. On a clear day, you should be able to see the tallest volcano in North America (Pico de Orizaba, 18.500’). (B,L)
After checking out of your hotel, you will travel to the city of Veracruz which is only a short 2 hour drive away. After lunch, one of the local guides will lead you on a walking tour of this historical port city known as the Gateway to México. It was and still is the most important Mexican port for large cargo ships importing and exporting goods, especially from the US, Europe, South America, Africa, and the Caribbean. This is where the Spanish Conquistadors lead by Hernán Cortéz first landed and changed this land forever.
The city of Veracruz has a unique blend of African, Caribbean, Cuban, Spanish, European, and Indigenous mix not found in any other part of México. You will find this mix especially in the music and dance of this region. The Gran Hotel Diligencias, located right across the street from the main square in the center of the city will be you home from the next 3 nights. (B,L)
Day 3: November 5
San Juan de Ulúa fort was built in the harbor of Veracruz on an island in 1565 to mostly protect the city from marauding pirates. Today there is a road that connects the island to the mainland. You will get to explore this fort and hear all about its history as a fort and later, as a notorious prison.
Then your small group will travel north to visit the Cempoala Archaeological Ruins. At one tiem, some 30,000 Totonacans lived here. This is the place where Hernán Cortés first encountered the leader of this large city which was under the rule of the Aztec empire.
On your way back to the city of Veracruz, you will stop to see where Cortés built one of the frist municipalities in the New World in what is now the town of La Antigua. Parts of the customs building are still standing. Also, you will visit one of the first Catholic churches built in this new land. Lunch will be at a local riverside restaurant. (B,L)
Day 4: November 6
Today you will travel to the capital city of the state of Veracruz; Xalapa. First on your agenda will be a guided tour of the modern Xalapa Anthropology Museum. The artifacts in this museum will really give you a good idea of the ancient histroy of this area. Next up will be a quick touor of the city and then a short drive to the pre-Hispanic town of Coatepec which is located in the higher altitudes of Veracruz in the middle of their coffee growing region. Lunch will be at a nice restaurant just off the main square and of course, if you like coffee, you are in the right place. Shopping is a good activity in Coatepec as you will find a variety of nice boutique stores.
Just down the road is the town of Xico (Hee-Koh). There you will see the waterfall made famous in the classic movie, Romancing the Stone with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. Both the towns of Coatepec and Xico are recognized Pueblo Mágico towns by the Mexican government.
Everyone will then travel back to the port city of Veracruz where everyone will gather together for our traditonal farewell dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 5: November 7
Travel day home from the Veracruz International Airport (B)
“Our trip has been absolutely beautiful with the gorgeous foliage and beautiful waterfalls. My wife & I have been to Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador, but Veracruz is by far, the best!” Richard & Shirley Good / Michigan