Join us in Oaxaca, Mexico during one of the most unusual festivals anywhere – the Day of the Dead. On this day, people prepare home altars and cemeteries to welcome the dead, who are believed to return to enjoy the food and drink they indulged in during life. Not at all a morbid occasion, the town is filled with celebration.
Oaxaca lies in a semitropical valley surrounded by the peaks of the Sierra Madre del Sur. The city’s architecture reflects its rich Spanish Colonial and modern history. Vast ruins of Ancient Mixtecan and Zapotecan civilizations lie just outside the city. Oaxacan archaeologist Dr. Jeffrey Blomster will accompany us on our trip.
Friday, October 23
Join us in Oaxaca for a cocktail party at the Hotel Gala de Oaxaca, where we’ll spend ten nights.
Saturday, October 24
In the morning, we will tour the Mercado de Abastos, Oaxaca’s famous flower market. In addition to an abundance of cut flowers we will also see special Day of the Dead decorations on sale. In the afternoon, we’ll visit the regional museum and tour its displays of artifacts from Mitla and Monte Albán, including the gold treasures that were found in Monte Albán’s tomb #7 in 1932.
Sunday, October 25
We’ll spend the morning exploring the impressive ruins of Monte Albán, a city occupied by the Mixtecs and Zapotecs between 500 B.C. and A.D. 850. In the afternoon, we’ll take a walking tour of Oaxaca and visit the ornate church of Santo Domingo, the cathedral on the Zócalo, and the central market.
Monday, October 26
We’ll tour nearby crafts villages, including San Bartolo Coyotepec, San Martín Tilcajete, and Santo Tomás Jalieza. In Ocotlan de Morales, we will visit the Dominican Templo de Santo Domingo complex that internationally celebrated artist Rodolfo Morales helped to restore.
Tuesday, October 27
We’ll explore the elaborate ruins of Mitla. Built by the Zapotec and later occupied by the Mixtec, the masonry buildings are decorated with mosaics made from thousands of hand carved stones. We’ll tour Dainzú, a Zapotec city founded in 350 B.C. that controlled a narrow valley pass. We’ll also visit the ruins at Yagul and Lambityeco.
Wednesday, October 28
We’ll tour the wood carving village of Arrazola as well as Cuilapan, a Dominican monastery built in 1555. In the afternoon we’ll visit Zaachila, the last capital of the Zapotec kingdom.
Thursday, October 29
We’ll travel to the Etla Valley and tour the site of San José Mogote, an important village first occupied around 1400 B.C.
Friday, October 30
We will see the native weaving village of Teotitlán del Valle in the morning. In the afternoon we’ll visit the Rufino Tamayo Museum of Pre-Hispanic Art.
Saturday, October 31
In the morning we’ll visit the archaeological site of Atzompa. In the evening we’ll visit the cemetery in Xoxocatlán
Sunday, November 1
Free Morning. In the afternoon we’ll visit the main cemetery in Oaxaca to observe the Day of the Dead festivities. In the evening, we’ll have a farewell dinner at one of Oaxaca’s finest restaurants.
Monday, November 2
Participants depart for home. You may want to ask your travel agent about extending your vacation to the beach at Huatulco, or to other delightful destinations in Mexico.
Cost Includes hotel accommodations based on double occupancy (single supplement is $310), ten breakfasts, nine lunches, one dinner, happy hours, admittance fees, tips, tours, background reading materials, surface travel via bus. Not included are meals other than those specified and transportation to and from Oaxaca.
Oaxaca is located at 5,000 feet above sea level and the ruins are at higher altitudes. People with respiratory problems should consult with their physician. People unaccustomed to higher altitudes sometimes experience fatigue and dizziness. A modest amount of walking is required. Ruins have rubble, undeveloped trails and stairs. The Hotel Gala is a charming restored hotel. It does not have an elevator or rooms on the first floor.
To join us on this tour, or for further information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (505) 266-1540.
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