Itinerary for Oaxaca: Becoming the Supreme Artist of Your Life

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Day 1 – (-/-/d) Arrival in Oaxaca, Mexico!

Oaxaca

We leave the US today and meet in Oaxaca, Mexico. Oaxaca is one of the TOP TEN “world’s best cities”, and NUMBER ONE in Mexico/Central and the South American region, based on “sights, culture/arts, restaurants/food, people, shopping, value” – according to TRAVEL+LEISURE magazine issue August 2004. In the evening we settle in and have a lovely dinner at our hotel and enjoy the beautiful countryside in the village of Teotitlan del Valle. Perhaps we will try the chapulines (crispy grasshoppers fried in garlic and lime)! After dinner we gather together as a group and get to know each other and share our intent for our week together.

Day 2- (b/s/d) Tlacalula Market & Teotitlán

Oaxaca market

After breakfast we are off to the famous Sunday market in Tlacalula. In our opinion, this is the valley’s most vibrant indigenous market, drawing vendors from remote villages throughout the valley and surrounding mountains. This guided tour was honed from years of seeking out the rare and regional. This is your opportunity to find local chilies and spices, handcrafted housewares and hand-loomed textiles. (Don’t forget your camera as this market is exotic Oaxaca at its best.) We will also have time for a weaving demo and talk.

Then in the afternoon we are off to Teotitlán which is a traditional Zapotec village, famous for the intricate woven rugs produced here. The rugs, and other items are all hand-loomed out of wool. Designs vary from traditional to contemporary. Natural dyes made from indigo, insects, different types of mosses, sea snails, and other earthly sources are still commonly used. There are shops on the small main street devoted to selling the local products. If you really like these rugs (you will), do a little searching and find the homes of the weavers where you can privately browse through the inventory. If you get on friendly terms with the weaver you will probably be able to strike a better deal than in the local stores. (We will have class this evening and each day we are together.)

Day 3- (b/s/d) Hike the Sacred Mountain & Cooking Class

If you want to challenge yourself, participate in this guided hike to the top of the sacred peak Guia Betz. The panoramic views of the valley and the high Sierras are worth every step! We will participate in a beautiful ceremony on the mountain and enjoy the quiet, peace and serenity of this sacred place. Later in the day, we will return to the hotel to perhaps prepare a delicious mole special to Teotitlán, make a salsa with Oaxaca’s smoky chile pasilla and try our hand at wrapping tamales in banana leaves – and then eat them for dinner!

Day 4- (b/s/d) Temazcal, Horsebackriding, Mitla & Yagul

Our day begins with a movement class using the basics of breath and balanced body awareness to prepare us for our chosen activity. Mary Jane or Alejandro will be conducting class. After breakfast you will have a choice between a guided horseback ride through the beautiful countryside or you can experience a traditional ceremonial Temazcal. Later in the day, we will visit the ruins of Mitla and Yagul. In ancient times Mitla was an important Zapotec ceremonial center and home of the Zapotec priestly class. It was inhabited from around 100 AD to it’s peak around 750 AD. The ancient city was probably planned and is known for the artistic quality of construction and the beauty of the intricate patterns and designs of some facades and tombs. To date, five large architectural complexes have been found. The main church of the small town was actually built by the Spaniards on some of the ruins.

The Yagul archaeological site was settled at approximately the same time as Monte Albán, but actually outlasted Monte Albán. The site, which is located on a beautiful hillside location, contains three distinct parts and houses the largest ball court in the Oaxaca valley. The architectural makeup is, in many ways similar to that of Monte Albán and also contains parts that resemble parts of Mitla. Yagul contains some incredible facades, engravings and hieroglyphics. This site is easily accessible and makes for some great photography, especially from the hill above the ruins.

Day 5- (b/s/d) Hiking the Atravesado Trail

Oaxaca

This morning after breakfast we hike the Atravesado trail that descends from 8,000 to 5,500 feet passing through 3 distinct ecosystems. This land belongs to Teotitlán and has never been commercially logged. This is an enjoyable activity that everyone can do as it’s not about hurrying but stopping to take in the amazing views and enjoying the interesting flora since we will be passing wild orchids and rare tree cacti. Then we stop for a lovely picnic lunch. In the evening we loosen up with salsa dancing under the guidance of our special teacher.

Day 6- (b/-/-) Monte Alban, Arrazola and Atzompa

Monte Alban

Today we explore Monte Albán, one of ancient Mexico’s most impressive ceremonial centers. This massive complex of pyramids, terraces and crumbling temples is considered one of the most important examples of pre-Columbian culture in all of Mexico. Constructed by a culture that possessed a genius for building, this spectacular city is one of the most thoroughly explored archaeological sites in Mexico. Throughout the centuries Monte Albán has continued to amaze those who study the site and has never failed to remain both magical and mysterious. Monte Albán sits 1200 feet above the valley floor. This location gave the residents a clear view of the Oaxaca valleys. The city was constructed by the Zapotecs who first moved to this site around 500 B.C. The city experienced its peak or golden age for a period of 500 years, ending around A.D. 600. During this time, the population of the city was nearly 25,000 people with an additional 100,000 people living in the valley below. After this golden age, and for reasons still unknown, the city was abandoned.

If we have time we will make some stops in Arrazola and Atzompa. Arrazola is the village that is home to the renowned wood carvers who are the creators of the Alebrijes, or imaginary, fantasy animals, and the many other objects that are carved out of a local wood named copal. Collectors prize these brightly painted wood sculptures and some have become very valuable. These imaginative carvings come in all shapes, sizes and are usually brightly colored with intricate designs, all panted by hand.

Atzompa is where the green-glazed pottery is produced. It is incredibly beautiful and is in use daily all over Mexico, and other parts of the world. We may stop by the “La Casa del Artesano” on the way back from Monte Albán and see how these beautiful terracotta and green glazed items are made following ancient, ancestral techniques. Tonight we will be staying at Los Bugambilias in the lovely town of Oaxaca.

Day 7- (b/-/-) Town of Oaxaca

Cathedral Oaxaca

This is our opportunity to explore the town of Oaxaca and have a relaxing day to shop, eat and just walk the lovely streets. There are plenty of great restaurants and art shops – you can walk all day long around town and not be done! The beauty of all the crafts will intrigue you and you will be able to pick up many gifts for your friends and family today.

Day 8- (b/-/-) Home!

Today we leave our beautiful bed & breakfast hotel and make our way back to the airport and get ready for our flights home. We say our last goodbyes, hugs and kisses as we prepare to take our new dream of heaven back to our lives!





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