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Day of the Dead Family Program
The people of Mesoamerica give us a different world cosmology, from which we learn that death is essential for the continuation of life, that it mustn’t be feared but celebrated. In the Zapotec community, it is believed that “the deceased and the living maintain ties spanning much further than death.”
We invite your family to accompany us on a journey to the Valles Centrales and the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca. Live the traditional festivities of “Día de Muertos,” a pre-Hispanic legacy that never dies, full of color, music, joy, and family. You will have the privilege of joining local families in their celebrations, from gathering flowers, constructing the altar, and making traditional mole and pan de muerto (bread of the dead), to experiencing the parades and learning more about the mysteries of pre-Hispanic life in the region. We've tailored this program's activities and pacing with the whole family in mind.
This special departure will be limited to an intimate group of families; please apply soon so we can be sure you are able to take part!
DAY 1 - October 28
Arrival in Mexico
Welcome to Oaxaca! Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel and enjoy some free time to explore. The city is charming, beautiful and safe.
DAY 2 - October 29
Oaxaca City - Benito Juarez
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, then depart for the Zapotec mountain villages in the Sierra Norte. Along the way, we'll stop in the valley to learn about mezcal and traditional weaving, as well as visiting the world’s largest cypress tree (which is amazing!).
We'll arrive in the mountain village of Benito Juarez around noon and get checked into the comfortable cabins which have bedding, hot showers, and cozy fireplaces. We'll go for an exhilarating zipline ride before lunch.
Later on the afternoon, join a local family for a cooking class where we'll learn to make Oaxacan chocolate and the traditional “pan de muerto” (bread of the dead). Eat your work!
Dinner at the village's Casa de Piedra (Stone House). Overnight at the cabins.
DAY 3 - October 30
Benito Juarez - Cuajimoloyas
After breakfast, we'll embark on local trail to the neighboring community of Cuajimoloyas. Our local guide will teach us about the local flora as we enjoy the gorgeous landscapes of pine forest and incredibly large century plants. The hike is not too strenuous and is at an elevation of about 10, 000 feet. Upon arrival in Cuajimoloyas, get checked into your cabins and go for lunch. Those who are unable to do the trek you can get a ride with the luggage.
In the afternoon, we will be escorted into the fields to pick flowers which will be used to make an altar with a local family. This is a very special opportunity to take part in.
Dinner and overnight in the cabins.
DAY 4 - October 31
Cuajimoloyas - Oaxaca City
After breakfast, enjoy a short hike to visit the Mirador Ya-cuetzi, which has a nice view of Cuajimoloyas, and enjoy a longer zip-line. Then, return to the village to learn how to make tamales with a local family, which we'll enjoy eating for lunch!
In the afternoon, we'll return to Oaxaca City. Get checked into the hotel in the central area and get some dinner on your own.
At 8:00 PM, we will visit two cemeteries to experience how the locals celebrate The Day of the Dead. In Oaxaca, it’s a beautiful blending of tradition, worship, party, magic, history, and mysticism. Among the tombs, copal, music, and color, we will come to know the tradition of the faithful deceased. Return to the hotel around midnight.
DAY 5 - November 1
Monte Alban & Day of the Dead celebrations
After breakfast at the hotel, we'll head out to explore the ruins of Monte Albán. This grand Zapotec capital is strategically situated on a mountain in the middle of the Valles Centrales. You can see the grand plaza, the juego de pelota (ball court), los danzantes (“the dancers”—ancient paintings), Tomb #7, and much more.
We'll have lunch at a local restaurant, then later in the afternoon, it's time to paint faces for the Day of the Dead! (Optional rental of costumes - must reserve before September 1).
In the evening, we will head to the Jalatlaco neighborhood, where we are invited to help with preparations at the house of the family that organizes the traditional Comparsa (parade) of the Dead. The horn will sound, announcing the traditional “Muerteada” and letting the neighborhoods and pueblos know that it is time to begin the Day of the Dead celebrations. Everyone gets ready to head out into the streets and march with the bands and throngs in costumes. There is a great deal of excitement for this festival - and we'll be right in the thick of it!
Return to the hotel, retire for the night.
DAY 6 - November 2
Hierve el Aqua and Oaxaca City
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.
Today we will visit the famous local Hierve el Aqua, a petrified waterfall which is a must-see that the kids will love. Plan on getting wet!
Afternoon free in the city for shopping and seeing all the fun things going on. Lunch and dinner on your own.
Overnight in Oaxaca City
DAY 7 - November 3
Check out of the hotel. We will provide transportation from the hotel to the airport for your flight home.
$1,695 per person ($1,395 for kids age 10 and under)
7D / 6N
October 28 - November 3, 2019
Oaxaca City - Benito Juarez - Cuajimoloyas - Oaxaca City
Village experience, Family travel
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