When you talk to our Mexico Director Robin Anderson about Oaxaca, her enthusiasm is contagious. She’s been connected to Oaxaca for over 15 years, and when she talks about it, you can feel just how special Oaxaca is. Using Robin’s wealth of knowledge, as well as her personal connections, we’re excited to be able to offer hand-crafted journeys in Oaxaca based on your personal interests.
Here is just a sampling of some of the unique, immersive experiences we can use to build a customized adventure, using what fascinates you as an entry point to venture deeper into the culture of Oaxaca.
From the city…
Visit a Small-Batch Mezcal Farm
Known as tequila’s less-fortunate cousin, the indigenous liquor of Oaxaca is gaining popularity due to the growing interest in artisanal and small-batch liquors. Lalo’s mezcal farm lies just over an hour outside of Oaxaca City. No matter what time of day you arrive, you’ll be greeted with a taster of his latest batch. But don’t be fooled; there will be plenty of mezcal to taste for sure, but you’re about to get an education. See how the maguey grows from start to finish, from Lalo’s humble greenhouse of baby sprouts to the freshly-harvested white tubers stacked in the corner, waiting to be split. A short hike around his stunning property and lunch by the river set this mezcal experience apart from the otherwise commonplace, large-scale tours.
Lalo offers his unfiltered opinions on everything from politics, to working with his hands in the dirt, and his passion for Mexico while his wife proffers fresh tortillas from the nearby comal while you sip and chat in their cozy, warm kitchen. Although the popularity of mezcal is indeed far-reaching, Lalo is uninterested in mass production outside of Oaxaca. He makes mezcal for the love of the art and tradition, as well as for the people of his municipality. However, you will certainly find his mezcal in all of the finest mezcal tasting rooms that have sprouted up in Oaxaca City. It’s that good.
Markets of the Valleys
Oaxaca City has several colorful and bright marketplaces to visit, but we’d like to take you out of the city and closer to rural Oaxacan life. This day trip gives you access to a more remote experience just outside of the city, where you find urban mixed with rural, and community members from the neighboring mountains coming to sell their goods and wares. These markets run on certain days of the week in three different locations, so if this is high on your priority list, make sure you let us know so we can plan accordingly.
An Evening of Mezcal
Callejoñadas, or the Mexican version of a pub-crawl, are a common part of the culture in Central Mexico, but Oaxaca has one too. Carve out a fun evening with a relatively early start around 6:00 pm. Begin at Oaxaca’s first mezcal tasting room, with small-batch, artisanal mezcals from all over Oaxaca. Continue down the road to the first bar ever built in Oaxaca at the turn of the century, where women were forbidden to enter until 100 years later. Finish at one of Oaxaca’s newest restaurants from the Chayoga Brothers, who have over 140 years of family experience in the mezcal business. Enjoy a last private mezcal tasting and a beautiful menu of Oaxacan finger foods.
In the mountains…
Traditional Medicine of the Mountains
Wild microclimates sprinkle the Sierra Norte in Oaxaca, and within each one lies a world of botany and medicine. Spend a day on the trail hunting for the traditional medicinal plants of the mountains. After a short day hike with your guide, you’ll head over to the house of the local curandera for a traditional temescal bath, ducking into a giant brick oven with hot water poured in, which quickly fills with fragrant steam from the bundles of plants cleansing your body and spirit. Walk down to Paulina’s house next, where she will show you the giant magueys in her backyard, from which she makes pulque and aguamiel, which is used in both medicinal traditions as well as festivities for its mild alcoholic effect.
Textiles of the Mountains
Oaxaca is famous for its textiles, and we make it a point to stop in the most well-known area of them all — Teotitlan. Did you know that each of the communities has their own weaving traditions? Visit local women who are known throughout the mountains for their weaving techniques and catch the subtle differences.
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