Day of the Dead "Back-Cactus" Tour in Oaxaca, MX

Oaxaca, Mexico · About Culture & History · from $3,300.00 USD

Don't miss this cultural immersion and Day of the Dead Experience. Deposit by May 31, 2019 to secure your spot.

Back-Cactus Tour in Oaxaca, MX Day of the Dead


COST: $3,300 land only per pax based on double occupancy

Single Supplement $390

A minimum of 8 travellers is required , max 11

REGION: Central Valleys of Oaxaca, Mexico

LENGTH: 9 days/8 nights

DATES: Oct 28,2019 - Nov 4, 2019

INCLUDED:

  • One Professional, bilingual guide
  • All local transport in private van
  • Entry fees
  • Meals as listed
  • Tips
  • Local guides and transportation
  • 8 nights lodging double occupancy (single supplement $395)

NOT INCLUDED:

  • Airfare
  • Transfers to/from airport
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Personal items
  • tips to guides

Need airfare?

Please note we are a full service travel agency and can provide you with a quote on your airfare when you inquire.


Oct 28-Nov 4, 2019

OVERVIEW

This is an exceptional immersion into Oaxacan culture through the festivities of Dia de los Muertos. This is the most colorful and fascinating time to be in Oaxaca. And whether you’ve been here before or this is your first time, our tour will open your eyes to the diversity of Oaxaca’s celebration of Dia de los Muertos, her ancient palaces and creative living cultures. We’ll visit traditional villages, prepare food side by side with families and be part of the unique, graveyard celebrations that are at the heart of this festival. We’ll see Zapotec altars built in loving memory to the deceased and explore the ancient temples of Mitla. We’ll lose ourselves in a market full of marigolds, wander through candle lit graveyards, meet a traditional healer and have an opportunity to experience her work, visit weavers, potters, candle makers and apron makers. And day in and day out it will be our pleasure to taste, sip, chew and smell all the flavors of this paradise of cuisine, from fresh made, steaming tortillas to home-cooked meals in grandma’s smoky kitchen. From the lively markets to solemn small town graveyards where the humble, old ways persist, we’ll experience this unique and touching fiesta where remembering departed loved ones and the blessings and pleasures of being alive are at the very center of the ceremonies. And go beyond, into the old world of Oaxaca’s village and the vibrancy of her beautiful, crowning jewel of Oaxaca City.


Day 1, Mon 28th. BIENVENIDOS

D/ Oaxaca City

We’ll all meet in the lobby of our hotel at 6PM today, introduce ourselves, talk about the upcoming trip and then head out to dinner. Bienvenidos, welcome to Oaxaca!

Overnight Oaxaca City/Hotel Abu

Day 2, Tues 29th. A LAND OF ARTISANS

B/ Breakfast at hotel L/ With family

APPROXIMATE start/finish (time is touring/post breakfast unless noted) 9-5

We dive straight into the fascinating creative and human culture of Oaxaca. Pottery, weaving, flowers and artistic heritage are the focus of the day. Our journey takes us into the Ocotlan valley to visit the workshops of artisans who are at once traditional and innovative. We’ll also visit fields filled with marigold and cockscomb; flowers blooming in fields and so central to the Day of the Dead celebrations; bright adornments to please the sensibilities of the departed.


Overnight Oaxaca City/Hotel Abu

Day 3. Wed 30th. OAXACA CITY

B/ Breakfast at Hotel L/ TBD

start/finish 9-4

We meet the fascinating city out our front door. The historic old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, recognized for its significant history and beautifully intact architecture. We will walk through the city today, learning stories both old and new about this vibrant, ever changing yet rooted city. From ancient churches to contemporary artists, we will get a feel for this urban jewel. Then in the afternoon we give our legs a rest and stretch out our creative minds working with an artist in a hands on paper mache workshop...the theme, day of the dead of course!


Overnight Oaxaca City/Hotel Abu

Day 4. Thurs 31st. MARKET AND ARTISAN

B/ Breakfast at Hotel L

start/finish 9-5

We will start our day with a visit of about 2.5 hours to Monte Alban. Next, a visit to the famous Oaxacan wood carving village of Arrazola to learn from an artisan family how with the most rustic of tools they create beautiful wooden figures. From there we head to Zaachila, where the Thursday market has been held for ages. Today it will be especially exciting as last minute purchases of flowers and food for the celebrations takes place. We’ll swirl through it all. There is no better place for people watching than a lively market, no better place for interesting encounters. We’ll follow with a visit to the town graveyard, known for its decorative crosses.


Overnight Oaxaca City/Hotel Abu

Day 5. Fri 1st. TEOTITLAN

B/ Breakfast at Hotel L/ Village meal

D/ Restaurant in Mitla

start/finish 9-5

Teotitlan is a very traditional Zapotec village, famous for the wool tapestries woven here. By some estimates there are over 5,000 weavers in this village of 8,000 people! Because of the income generated by this good trade people haven’t had the need to immigrate away from the village and so many of the lifeways are still intact and healthy and there is a rich ceremonial culture. We’ll spend the day visiting and learning. Our first stop will be at the home workshop of a ceremonial candle maker where you’ll likely see the biggest candle you’ve ever seen! We’ll learn how these beeswax candles are made and what they are used for.They are also weavers and we’ll learn how rugs are woven here. Then we visit a curandera, or traditional healer, with whom we’ve arranged for a group limpias, or energy cleaning. Afterwards will visit the home of Maria and family and integrate ourselves into the goings at the house. We’ll help them prepare tamales and build a ceremonial altar for the ancestors, for today is the day, at the ringing of the church bells, when the souls of the departed return. In the afternoon, along with the rest of the village, we will find our way to Teotitlan’s graveyard and spend some time there with Maria’s family and the people of the community as they welcome their ancestors home.


Overnight Mitla/Hotel Don Cenobio

Day 6. Sat 2nd. FOOD AND POTTERS

B/ Breakfast With Dalia L/ Family home in San Marcos D/Grandma Lucia

start/finish breakfast in private home, leave hotel 8:15-4.

This is a day of home cooked meals- breakfast, lunch and dinner. As much as anything else, these celebrations are about sharing food, and for us as visitors, this is where we get to try the traditional cuisine of Oaxaca. Breakfast will be in a Santa Ana, at the home of Dalia, where we’ll not only eat well, but also see how traditional Oaxacan chocolate is made. Then we travel to a village where simple, lovely cooking pottery has been made for over a thousand years. The village is called San Marcos and we’ll meet a family of exceptional potters and learn how they work a this trade, passed from mother to daughter for so many generations. We’ll also learn how they make the huge corn tortillas called and then get to eat them as we enjoy a home-cooked lunch at the family house. In the afternoon we visit two more households in the town of Mitla to see altars and learn about their significance. One of those two houses is Lucia’s, and we’ll go there at dinner time, to both look at the altar and enjoy a meal.


Overnight Mitla/Hotel Don Cenobio

Day 7. Sun 3rd. DAY OF THE DEAD

B/Alice’s Restaurant, Hierve El Agua D/ Tamales in the graveyard

start/finish breakfast at near mineral springs, leave hotel 8:15-1:30. Free time 1:30-3:35. Tour again 4-9ish

This morning we leave early and will have our breakfast “out”. Way out, at a tiny little eatery with swept dirt floors and tortillas made on the spot. The menu is simple, the flavors just right and our eatery is at the front door of Hierve el Agua (The Water Boils) a fascinating mineral springs where the ground is as white as snow and the springs have created mineral cascades that look like frozen waterfalls. We’ll explore this fascinating area (bring a swimsuit if you want to dip in the cold springs, sun block if you don’t want to burn) and hike (optional) below the rock formations and through the cactus forests.

Returning to the hotel mid-day we’ll take a little down time as we’ll be staying out later tonight. In the afternoon we’ll regroup and visit the ancient ruined palaces of Mitla (meaning Place of the Dead, and the namesake of this town we’ve been staying in) and learn some of their story. Then, as evening comes on, we’ll return to Santa Ana and Dalia’s house, where we had breakfast yesterday. With her and her family we’ll head to the graveyard and see the candles on the tombs twinkle to life as people gather round the tombs of their departed relatives to celebrate their return. We’ll be in the midst of it, with food, drink, music and and an unforgettable communion of the living and dead. This is what day of the dead is about.


Overnight Mitla/Hotel Don Cenobio

Day 8. Mon 4th. HIKE AND MEZCAL

B/Mitla L/ Distillery D/Oaxaca City

9-3

Yesterday we saw the regal palaces of ancient Mitla. This morning we’ll take a hike to the seldom visited fortified hilltop that once served as a safe place in times of war for this old kingdom. We can observe the stone walls and unexcavated pyramids that top this hill...and work off some of the good meals we’ve been having while taking in the views. Then we visit a mezcal distillery to learn how this older brother to Tequila is made. Mezcal is found on every day of the dead altar, because this delicious fire water is an integral part of any Oaxaca celebration. We’ll taste some while we enjoy a meal at the distillery. Then we return to Oaxaca City where you’ll have some free time before we gather for our final dinner and recall experiences from our travels.


Overnight in Oaxaca/Hotel Abu

Day 9. Tues 5th. ADIOS

B/Hotel

HURRY, Deposit by May 31, 2019 to secure your spot.

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Shari Block

Shari Block

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