Oaxaca – The Ultimate Culinary & Cultural Adventure

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  • February 21 – 27, 2022
  • Mexico
  • Mexico
  • February 21 – 27, 2022
  • 7 Days/6 Nights
  • 8 – 12 Guests

Overview

300 miles southeast of Mexico City lies the enchanting city of Oaxaca (pronounced “wa-ha-ka”). Sitting in a verdant valley with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, this area has been prized since 500BC. To this day, the state of Oaxaca (of which Oaxaca city is the capital) is the most ethnically diverse state in Mexico, home to 16 of the country’s 56 indigenous groups. Oaxaca’s ethnic diversity is the foundation for its rich culinary and cultural traditions. Oaxaca must be taken in slowly and attentively to understand and appreciate its many layers. During our 7-day, 6-night, luxury women’s trip, we will venture into the heart of Oaxacan culture in a way only locals know how.

Highlights

  • Learn all about Mezcal is made and enjoy a tasting or three
  • Savor a cocktail & comeda cruise around central Oaxaca
  • Take a cooking class with with a chef using market fresh ingredients
  • Stay at a calm artistic hotel in central Oaxaca
  • Visit Monte Albán, the ancient Zapotec City which dates back to 500 BC
  • Sample the creativity of a list of the who’s who of Oaxacan Chefs, each trying to outdo one another in delectability
  • Shop for the most beautiful yet affordable handmade pottery & textiles you’ve ever seen
  • Stroll through one of the largest and most impressive markets in Mexico
  • Explore the Santo Domingo Church built in 1575, with its gold and superb statuary
  • Cleanse and detox your body at a traditional ceremonial temazcal, dating back 1000’s of years
  • Buy a hand made rug in Teotitlán del Valle, where they’ve been weaving for 100o+ years

Discard your preconceived notions of Mexican food. The culinary traditions on offer in Oaxaca bear no resemblance to what passes as Mexican food in most of the US. Mole is the cornerstone of Oaxacan cuisine but then there’s Tlayudas, memelitas, carnitas, tetelas, enfrijoladas plus an endless list of homemade food you’ve not yet tried but which will make your heart sing.

Mezcal is at the heart and soul of Oaxaca, and you’ll come away as a lover and a mini-expert.

Unlike Mexico City, Oaxaca is small and easily walkable, its central historic district is made up of perfectly preserved colonial buildings boasting beautiful pastel colors in ocre, pink, terra cotta, salmon and turquoise. The weather in February is picture perfect, every day – highs in the 70’s and lows in the 50’s at night.

We will dine in this historic city and in the hills above as well as the outskirts at both high-end restaurants and off-the-beaten path street stands to experience both myriad of wealth that this culture possesses seen and experiences so clearly through its food.

Trip Notes:

GG2P always reserves the right to alter the itinerary based on weather or availability as well as exciting opportunities that might crop up!

NOTE -> Not to worry – Vegetarians will be well fed in all cafés and restaurants as well as those allergic to seafood or gluten. Options are plentiful.

Itinerary

Day 1 February 21 Monday Arrival Day

Arrive in Oaxaca City – our hotel’s shuttle bus will meet you at the airport and take you to your gorgeous, artsy boutique hotel, conveniently located in the historic downtown area, Pug Seal Oaxaca. Optional jet lag massage available upon request. 

You’ll have time to unpack and refresh before we meet for a welcome drink at our hotel. After a moment of getting to know one another we will walk over to Pitonia which boasts the most stunning view of Oaxaca’s 16th century cathedral as well as superb drinks and comida. 

Rest will come easy tonight. 

Day 2 February 22 Tuesday

After breakfast at the hotel we’ll head over to tour the Cathedral Santo Domingo, whose construction begin in 1585 and following that we’ll tour the cathedral’s museum which is an absolute treasure. 

By this time you’ll be getting hungry so we’ll settle in right across the street on the roof of Casa Oaxaca, one of my favorite restaurants in town. The homemade salsa made at the table is one of the best you’ll ever taste. 

After our satisfying lunch, we’ll have some free time to explore and shop the downtown area. The shopping here is magnificent. We will provide you with a guide of our favorite shops, and there are many. The prices are even better. Be sure to bring an extra bag to carry home all the treasures you’ll find on this trip. 

Tonight we’ll have a sunset cocktail and tasting tour around town. Rest up and get ready, this craft cocktail & comics crawl will be a whole lot of fun! 

Day 3, February 23rd Wednesday

For breakfast we’ll head next door for our breakfast at one of my personal favorites, Boulenc, a panaderia (baker) that produces the best French pastries in town.

After filling our tummies we’ll be launching outside the city for a comprehensive tour to learn all about the making of artisanal Mezcal. Even if you have told yourself you don’t like Mezcal, this experience will change your mind. Our guide is one of the most knowledgeable people on the subject in Mexico and he is also a producer.  

After our excursion we’ll stop in the famous market town of Tlacolula where today it will be much less crowded day than on their big Sunday market day which can be overwhelming. Here we’ll sample some of the best grilled Mexican street food you’ll find on the entire planet. 

Late this afternoon back in town you might want to explore the galleries of Oaxaca, or stop into the Museum of Textiles. 

*Optional Trip for those interested we’ll head out to a nearby village that makes handmade rugs. They’ll been creating and hand weaving rugs in this town for nearly 1000 years, we’ll stop into several places but the women’s cooperative is our favorite. 

After a filling meat-heavy late lunch, dinner tonight is vegetable-centric at Calabacitas Tiernas. for something a little healthy and satisfying. 

Day 4, February 24th Thursday 

Today we’ll enjoy a proper Mexican breakfast at Floricita in a small nearby market. Here you will want to try their delicious hot chocolate and for the adventurous, taste some chapulinas (grasshoppers). Actually they are quite good and provide some extra protein on your morning tortilla. 

Next we’ll have the pleasure of taking a tour of the famed Botanical garden in town which is laid out on the former grounds of the monastery of the Santo Domingo Church. The garden is well known for its cactus wall made of organ pipe cactus as well as many varietals of cacti throughout the largely indigenous garden. 

After our day of Mezcal yesterday this afternoon is devoted to cleansing. Following a short drive out of town, we’ll enter a pequeño paraíso (little paradise) called the Ceviarem Temazcal which is situated inside the compound of a charming home owned by a lovely couple, the shaman is the man of the house who has learned his craft by having it passed down for many generations. 

Our shaman will carefully lead us and explain everything we will be doing. Don’t fret it’s not as hot as a sauna or a native American sweat lodge. There are herbs on hand to wash away and cleanse your body and spirit and believe it or not mezcal even plays a part. There is also a cool tub so you won’t ever feel too overheated. Its a beautiful and rewarding experience and completely authentic. You’ll come out refreshed and relaxed. 

After our cleansing we will venture further up into the mountains where we’ll find a small restaurant with a lovely view known for their homemade soups and tortillas.

Back in town you’ll likely want to rest and relax. 

Later on tonight, for those who wish, come join us for some classic Tyaludas. This is the quintessential homey feel-good food of Oaxaca. Its basically a HUGE tortilla, painted with fat and a dollop of creamy beans, then topped with lot of Oaxacan string cheese, and vegetables like lettuce, avocado, and tomato and then grilled to perfection on a comal (a flat griddle). One can add any type of meat or protein available and order it flat (open face) or folded like a quesadilla.

Day 5, February 25th Friday 

Today we will delve deep into the richness of Oaxacan cuisine and its classic ingredients. The state of Oaxaca may be one of the poorer ones in Mexico, but it’s rich in heritage owing to the variety of indigenous peoples that hail from this area.

In the morning we’ll meet our chef in one of the incredible markets which Oaxaca is known for. Here we’ll explore the market like a local and pick up all the ingredients we need to prepare our dishes during our cooking class today.

After our big shop we’ll head back into the kitchen for instruction and hands on cooking. Soon you’ll discover why Oaxaca is famous all over the world and is considered to have the very best food in all of Mexico. After our labors we’ll feast on what we’ve prepared with some local beer of course. 

Use your afternoon for rest, shopping or hitting up the modern art museum MACO situated in a gorgeous old colonial building in Oaxaca’s historical district. 

Or join us for an optional tour to a nearby town famous for its handmade pottery. After buying up everything (the prices are crazy affordable) we can make a pitstop up in hills above Oaxaca for more refined artisanal pottery. The designs and colors are heavenly. 

Tonight we will venture back up into the hills but into a tiny town called San Andrés de Huayapam for a magnificent meal at Luz de Luna.

Day 6 February 26th, Saturday 

On our final day we’ll rise early to head out for a tour of Monte Alban, a pre-columbian settlement which was the center for the Zapotecs for about 1000 years from 500 BC to 500 AD. Our guide will help explain the pyramids and the significance of this important culture, still strong in Oaxaca today. 

A stop in the small shop is not to be missed, their jewelry based on ancient archeological finds is worthy of a look.

Today’s lunch is an exciting one. A trip to Alfonsina is more of a pilgrimage than a lunch stop. Voted best restaurant of the year by New Worlder Magazine several years back, you’d never know it by the humble look of the place. Chef Jorge León began his journey back home by working first at Casa Oaxaca and then Pujol (voted best restaurant in the world several years ago in Mexico City) and now he is at his happiest in his family compound working outdoors and creating whatever he wants for his small cadre of diner. You will be guaranteed to leave with a smile on your face. 

This afternoon, take a nap, do some last minute shopping or read a novel.

Our farewell dinner together will be a much needed change of pace. Kintaro is the only really excellent Japanese restaurant that we found during our long stay in Oaxaca in 2020/2021. It has a gorgeous courtyard and superb cocktails. We’ll drink together and toast to our delicious week together with many discoveries and friendships made that we will surely relish forever. 

GG2P always reserves the right to alter the itinerary based on weather or availability as well as exciting opportunities that might crop up!

NOTE -> Not to worry – Vegetarians will be well fed in all cafés and restaurants as well as those allergic to seafood or gluten. Options are plentiful.

Trip Cost

Trip Cost: $4,995

 

  • * All our trips are organized and priced based on single occupancy at all the places we stay. (Everyone gets their own fabulous room)! If you’re traveling with a friend/relative, or would prefer to save some money by sharing a room, we can usually organize double occupancy and a reduction in cost.
  • * Unless stated otherwise, all our trips are priced in the home currency of the trip’s location. However, as a convenience to our US-based customers, we will invoice you in the equivalent USD calculated at the exchange rate at the time of invoice.
  • Interest-free, monthly payment plans are available. Please inquire.

What’s Included?

  • All ground transportation (including airport transfers)
  • Welcome gift
  • All meals except for 1 dinner on day 4, including beer, wine, or mezcal (when specified) to accompany your food
  • Welcome drinks
  • Entrances to museums, Monte Alban as well as costs of all activities mentioned
  • All market visits and mezcal visits and tastings
  • A unique Temazcal ceremonial experience
  • A market visit and cooking class
  • Your stay at a boutique hotel in downtown Oaxaca.

What’s Not Included?

  • International airfare
  • Souvenirs
  • Massages or additional spa treatments
  • Trip Insurance
  • Medical travel insurance (required for anyone over 50 years old)

I’m interested, so what do I do next?

If you have questions, press the Inquire Now button above, and complete the form. We’ll get back to you ASAP.

If you’d like to come, press the Reserve Now button above. You will be prompted to complete a form with your pertinent details, put down a refundable $250 deposit, and schedule a time to speak with a GG2P representative.

We like to speak with everyone before they embark on their first trip with Girls’ Guide to Paris & Beyond. This allows you to ask any questions or voice any concerns you may have. These are intimate, small group trips; a quick yet personal conversation allows you to get to know how our trips work and make sure it’s right for you. If it’s not, we’ll immediately refund your $250 deposit.

If it’s a Go! after your call, we’ll bill you for a non-refundable deposit, usually 35% of the trip’s cost (less the $250 place-holder deposit, if you already paid it) and your place is reserved. At this point, you’re committed to the trip, so we recommend that you purchase Travel Insurance to protect you in case your plans change unexpectedly. The balance will be due approximately 2 months before the trip.

Our cancellation policy is here.

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