Experience Zapotec Art & Culture
with Porfirio Gutiérrez y Familia

Oct. 29 – Nov. 5, 2019

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.

Together we will explore my family’s 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, quiet walks and happy discoveries. I look forward to welcoming you to my home in Oaxaca. ~ Porfirio Gutierrez.



“In Mexico, Weavers Embrace Natural Alternatives to Toxic Dyes” New York Times

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

DAY 1 Tuesday, Oct. 29th/ Arrive on Volaris direct from LAX to Oaxaca City 8:30 PM, check in at Casona El Llano. Check in and enjoy a welcome at the hotel before getting some rest.

DAY 2 Wednesday, Oct. 30/ Start your day in the heart of the historic centro. We’ll take a short walk to breakfast at an outdoor organic market to enjoy fresh liquados, empanadas and tortillas from the comal. We’ll continue our walk down the Alcala to Santo Domingo, where we’ll tour the Oaxacan Culture Museum and overlook the Ethnobotanical Garden. The afternoon includes a stroll to the San Pablo Cultural Center and lunch nearby. Be prepared for this walking day with comfortable shoes, a hat, water bottle and your camera. B, L

DAY 3 Thursday Oct. 31/ Juana invites you to 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 baptisms and 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 a bit of history of the fragments original carved stone by my ancestors. B,L

DAY 4 Friday, 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

DAY 5 / After breakfast at the hotel we’ll travel to the studio at 11 am and join the observances and meet family members. Guests will have a chance to dip their hands in the cochineal vat to dye their own wool scarf. By midday we’ll share a traditional lunch of favorites like higadito (think Zapotec quiche), chocolate and atole. 5 pm 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 by loved one remembering their departed souls. Tonight we’ll return to the city for anyone wanting to see the other side of the celebration and join a lively calenda procession through town. B,L

DAY 6 Sunday. Nov. 3rd// Meeting Master Artisans
Alebrijes, black clay pottery and elaborate embroidery distinguish Oaxaca’s craft traditions. Today we’ll meet three master artisans sustaining those traditions and creating an innovative future for their artforms. We’ll learn from experts in embroidery, black clay pottery and carved wood painted figures. Lunch outdoors on a shady patio will round out our day. The evening is yours for shopping and strolling in the city. B, L

DAY 7 Monday, Nov. 4th /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 also visit with a painter using cochineal pigments in his artwork. Back in the city we’ll have a farewell dinner to celebrate our week together. B, D

DAY 8 Tuesday, Nov. 5th /Departure day. Arrive at the airport by private van, 8 AM. Guests who’d like to stay longer can work with us to extend their hotel reservation.

COST PER PERSON $2495, exclusive of airfare. This is a sample itinerary and subject to change. Maximum group size is 12. 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. There is a limit of 4 single rooms on a first-paid, first-reserved basis.