8/9 Days Oaxaca, Mexico
February 14 – 21, 2015
July 21 – 29, 2014
This trip can be organized as a Spanish immersion
- Arrive in Mexico: Connect to a short flight to Oaxaca, and settle in at the hotel in the center of the city.
- Breakfast talk: Local Culture and history, intro to Day of the Dead.
- Spanish lesson Spanish basics so you can get around. Language assessment for those wishing to have daily instruction.
- Walking Tour around the center of Oaxaca. First an overview of the city, then a neighborhood market where we will try some local dishes (including chili grasshoppers for the intrepid!), cheeses, and indigenous fruits and vegetables.
- Meet with a local graffiti artist who will introduce us to the street art scene in Oaxaca.
- Chocolate tasting We will end our day at the 2 most popular chocolate shops in Oaxaca, with tastings and a grinding demonstration.
- Wander Benito Juarez and 20 de Noviembre markets
(Breakfast, snacks, and chocolate included)
- Spanish lessons
Day in the villages We will spend the day exploring traditions of the Oaxacan Valley:
- First stop, Tlapanochestli Grana Cochinilla, a small farm and education center. We will see how the bright red dye used in the local weaving is extracted from a tiny bug that lives on the cactus plant. We will also learn about other types of natural dyes, see the plants they come from, and take some time to create our own art with these colors.
- San Bartolo de Coyotepec, the village known for production of the famous Oaxacan black pottery. We will visit a local artist to see how amazing pieces are created using the traditional methods.
- Lunch at Azucena Zapoteca, a restaurant specializing in local dishes–it will be a great opportunity to try mole and watch handmade tortillas prepared on the traditional comal over a wood fire.
- Alebrijes are brightly painted animals made from papier mache or wood. Considered to be the masters of this art, the artisans at Jacobo Y Maria de Tilcajete will show us how they make their finely crafted pieces from copal wood, and how the natural dyes are mixed to produce a vivid palette of colors. We will relax in the peaceful garden of the workshop and paint our own alebrijes.
- Coffee/ice cream break before returning back to Oaxaca
(Breakfast, lunch, snacks included).
- Spanish Lessons
- Hike we will head out to the ancient Zapotec site of Monte Alban, one of the most well-preserved pre-hispanic sites in Mexico, and begin our visit with a short hike through the forest for an amazing vista of the valley.
- Monte Alban After a rest and a snack on the mountain top, we will head down into the archeological site, where we will learn about the pre-Hispanic way of life, their system of math based on the human body, pre-hispanic mythology, and how to play the traditional ball game of the Zapotecs.
- Lunch in a local village
- Parents’ Night Out Staff will supervise activities/art projects and dinner with the kids so parents can have a break. Teens will have the opportunity to meet local peers at the Learning Center, where they can have an intercambio (language exchange) and hang out Oaxacan style. Adults can try one of the fantastic restaurants in Oaxaca, participate in a cooking class with one of Oaxaca’s celebrated chefs, or wander the colorful streets and markets.
(Breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner (for kids only) included)
- Spanish Lessons
- Breakfast talk: Micro loans for kids (a more in-depth explanation will be provided on our tour)
- Micro Loan Tour We will spend the afternoon with En Via, a micro loan organization assisting women in the Oaxaca valley. We will learn how micro loans work, how the families and communities have benefitted, and the pitfalls and challenges of the micro loan system. We will visit a village outside the city where lunch will be prepared for us at a restaurant in the program, and then we will meet several women who will explain to us how they used their loans, and their future plans and goals for their businesses. We will be able to ask questions, see their workshops/shops/homes, meet their families, and learn about their craft and economics. This is a fun learning experience for both children and adults. (Breakfast, lunch included)
Family Day. Some optional activities we can arrange for you:
- Spend a morning with local artists learning traditional crafts techniques and making your own piece of art.
- Take a cooking class.
- Visit the natural mineral springs of Hierve el Agua,
- Explore more local villages,
- Spend a day helping out with Libros Para Pueblos,
- Participate in an intercambio (Spanish-English language exchange),
- Visit Santa Domingo church and cactus garden,
- Or just take one last wander around the squares, parks, museums, and markets of the city.
Early evening flight to Mexico City
- Breakfast Talk: Brief history of Mexico City.
- Tour of the Historic Center We will begin together with a short overview before splitting off into 2 groups.
- Adults will tour with historian and television celebrity Angeles Gonzalez, who will give them a more in depth look at the art, architecture, and history of this fascinating city.
- Kids will hear some Aztec stories and mythology, and follow a few themes around the neighborhood, while we slip in as much art as we can. They will meet some characters from the past, see how the grasshopper shows up not only in the famous murals, but also fried and dusted with chili in the market.
- Lunch We will all meet again for lunch and conversation with our knowledgeable guides.
- Anthropology Museum Adults will have an opportunity to spend the afternoon at the world-renown Anthropology Museum, accompanied by a guide who wil bring the history of Mexico to life.
- KidCity Kids will be accompanied by staff to this fun play/learning center, where they will get to go behind the scenes of grown up life, in an entirely Spanish speaking environment popular with local kids.
- Final Dinner Final dinner together at a local restaurant.
(Breakfast, lunch, dinner included for 7-day trip)
- Departure (7-day trip) for those flying home.
- Family Day (8-day trip)/1 day extension for February trips: Some suggested activities: Spend the morning in the hip Coyoacan neighborhood, visit the Frida Kahlo Museum (La Casa Azul) where she lived with Diego Riviera, the Leon Trotsky House Museum, have lunch in the lovely square, and stroll through the Saturday market. Other possible activities: A day at the magnificent Aztec ruin of Teotihuacan; visit Xochimilco (the ancient canals of the pre-Hispanic city); an afternoon cooking with a family; art; markets; music; food; history; a day of Spanish immersion….
(Breakfast included, dinner for 8-day trip)
All activities and tours are conducted by a bilingual local guide and accompanied by Footprints staff. Breakfast talks will be given either by staff or a local expert in the field. Spanish lessons will be worked around our itinerary and your preferences and we will group students according to level. During our tours and activities, our Children’s Activities staff will help keep the younger children entertained and engaged, and in some activities we will break up into different groups based on age. (This is flexible–parents and kids are welcome to stay together.) Depending on how many teenagers we have in our group, we will organize at least one dedicated activity for them to get to know local teens, practice their Spanish, and maybe help out in the community.
Please note: you are free to substitute alternate activities on any day, however, we are unable to refund participants for any activities or portion of the trip in which they choose not to participate.
Changes may be made in the itinerary or accommodation at our discretion for any reason we deem necessary, including weather or other factors out of our control.
Contact us for more info. Email 617.651.1013