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Focus on the Masters Benefit Travel Experience
Weaving Oaxaca
Oct. 27 - Nov 7, 2018
Focus On The Masters Dia de los Muertos - Zapotec Rites and Rituals
Experience Zapotec arts and culture hosted by
Porfirio Gutierrez & family
To reserve your seat, click HERE.

My family and I invite you to join us in our home town, Teotitlán del Valle, for a unique exploration of our Zapotec culture, community and traditions during the annual Dia de los Muertos, The Day of the Dead. Together, we will honor our ancestors,create cultural connections, and explore Oaxaca’s artistic diversity. You will experience life today in Teotitlán del Valle and our neighboring towns, visit artist studios and historic sites, share meals and participate in our festival preparations along with us. We will explore Zapotec heritage and history, and consider how the modern Zapotec identity is shaped by centuries-old customs. There will be ample time for independent excursions in the village and in Oaxaca City, including a private visit to my exhibition at the Museo Textil. I look forward to welcoming you to my home in Oaxaca.

~ Porfirio Gutierrez


For those that have CONFIRMED, make your payments HERE.

PROPOSED ITINERARY, subject to confirmation.

Daily activities run from approximately 8 AM - 4 PM unless otherwise noted.

DAY 1, Saturday Oct. 27th/ Arrive Oaxaca City 8:30 PM, first night at Casa Conzatti. Check in and enjoy a late evening mezcal and light meal nearby before getting some rest.

DAY 2, Sunday Oct. 28th/ Today you’ll get familiar with your surroundings in the historic centro of this beautiful Colonial city. We’ll have breakfast at a nearby organic market and fuel up for a day exploring on our feet. We’ll see the Textile Museum and San Pablo Cultural Center and the Zocalo while tracing Oaxaca’s colonial roots block by block. Dinner time is yours to enjoy at your own pace using our list of favorite restaurants as your guide. (B, L)

DAY 3, Monday Oct. 29th/ San Agustin Etla, Art & Innovation: Today after breakfast at the hotel we’ll head north to the green hills of San Agustin Etla, home to the CASA arts center, a beautifully restored former mill that houses a paper studio, felted sculpture workshop, gallery and art classrooms. We’ll have lunch in a nearby outdoor dining room and stop by to see Xaquixe glassworks, which creates beautiful contemporary recycled glassware using alternative fuel sources. Dinner on your own back in the city. (B, L)

DAY 4, Tuesday Oct. 30th / Group travel to Teotitlán, with a morning visit to ancient Mitla, the primary Zapotec religious site. After a delicious lunch in Mitla we will visit a mezcal distillery (palenque) where we will learn about the importance of this drink in Dia de los Muertos observances. We will stop in San Marcos Tlapazola, where red clay pottery is made, and learn how some of the tableware that my mother uses is made. We’ll arrive at our studio and home for a blessing and share a late afternoon family dinner. To end our evening together we will start the preparation of chocolate making using freshly roasted beans that we mill with cinnamon and sugar. (B,L,D)

DAY 5, Weds. Oct. 31st/ Juana invites you join her at the local mercado to buy pan de muertos, flowers, cocoa beans and other ofrendas for our family altar. We will all share in our family’s preparations, then visit my godmother Viviana who sustains the long-practiced art of making beautifully decorated beeswax candles that are used in some very special occasions such as a weddings. We’ll explore my village and show you our museum, cultural center and the last remnants of the original temple of my ancestors right behind our church. While we are at the church I will share with you bit of history of the fragments original carved stone by my ancestors. Dinner at the studio and an evening conversation with a respected Zapotec historian, enjoying Juana’s just-made hot chocolate before bed. (B,L,D)

DAY 6, Thurs. Nov. 1st/ Let's get cooking! After breakfast we will all help prepare the food for our loved ones while we learn about the significance of Zapotec family altars and the meaning behind each ritual. We will then begin to decorate the altar with the ofrendas we bought at the mercado. By 3:00pm we should be ready to welcome our loved ones. After the spirits’ arrival the village comes out to walk through town, visiting and taking offerings of pan de muertos, mezcal and candles to relatives’ homes. (B,L,D)

DAY 7, Fri. Nov. 2nd/ Our morning begins with a traditional celebration day breakfast.We’ll have favorites like higadito (think Zapotec quiche), chocolate and atole. Juana and I will share with you the process, history behind our weaving, and how we work to preserve our ancient weaving and natural dyeing tradition. We will starting by sharing with you the process of obtaining our primarily colors from plants such as Mexican tarragon for yellow, indigo for blues and cochineal insects for reds, then we will learn to obtain secondary colors by over-dying the previous elements. You will then see how we honor our ancient symbols in our weavings and learn how we use very simple tools to create pieces that are now in many private and public collections, such as the Smithsonian institution. 3:00pm marks the hour when spirits depart, and we will be joining a community celebration with music, food and mezcal. In our cemetery we'll see tombs decorated with colorful fresh flowers and more offerings. (B,L,D)

DAY 8, Sat. Nov. 3rd/ Indigo dyeing with Maestra Juana and free time in Teotitlan. Bring a white cotton t-shirt with you and we’ll all take a turn dyeing in the indigo vat! After sharing lunch we’ll explore the hillside above the village and do some outdoor photography with Javier Gutierrez, Juana and Antoño’s son. At LaPresa, our reservoir lake, we’ll gather with a local storyteller to hear the legends that are told at this time of year. (B, L, D)

DAY 9, Sun. Nov. 4th/ After breakfast we will check out of our inn, say goodbye to Teotitlán, then visit a good friend of mine who is an award-winning backstrap weaver, Ines Navarro. In her community they still use the original loom that our ancestors used before the arrival of the Spaniards. As we travel up the road we will visit some wonderful woodcarvers who make the alebrije figures that Oaxaca is known for. After a stop at our favorite lunch spot we'll visit with Adelina Pedro Martinez who crates beautiful black clay pottery and where my mother buys her pots to clean her corn. Arriving back in Oaxaca City, we’ll check in to our hotel and have an evening stroll to see the altares around the Zocalo. (B, L)

DAY 10, Mon. Nov. 5th/ Your day to explore on your own! We’ll help you chart your course, from casual strolling through town to a morning excursion to Monte Alban, take a cooking class, or just enjoy a leisurely rooftop lunch. Sleep in, do some shopping and relax in Oaxacan style. (B)

DAY 11, Tues., Nov. 6th/A day to explore the city, including the Botanical Gardens and the Museum of Oaxacan Cultures, housed in the beautiful monastery buildings adjoining the Templo de Santo Domingo. The extensive exhibits will transport you through the history and cultures of Oaxaca state, from the earliest inhabitants to the modern age. This evening we’ll gather for our farewell dinner to reflect on what we learned and celebrate our week together. (B, D)

DAY 12, Weds, Nov. 7th/Return home on Volaris to LAX. Depart hotel after breakfast, 8 AM (B)

COST PER PERSON $2575, exclusive of airfare. This is a sample itinerary and subject to change. Maximum group size is 10. Meals provided are noted as B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner.
Tour cost includes airport transfers, ground transportation by private van, interpreting, entry fees, guide services and all meals noted. Additional expenses are alcoholic beverages, personal purchases, and optional gratuities. Price quoted is per person, double occupancy. Single supplements for individual rooms are $400 per person.
To extend your stay or for specific questions please contact Leslie Mehren at 415.385.0007 or email her at

Volaris Airlines flies directly from LAX into Oaxaca on Saturdays and Wednesdays.

A 50% deposit is required to hold your spot, and the balance is due August 27, 2018.
Cancellation refund policy: 31-60 days prior to departure- 50% of total refunded, 30 days or less- no refund.