21976
Mexico
Oaxaca & Puebla: The Ancient Civilizations and Modern Cuisine of Southern Mexico
Satisfy your intellectual and culinary hunger in southern Mexico as you learn to cook authentic cuisine, visit important archeological sites and discover traditional crafts.
Rating (5)
Program No. 21976RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
2,399
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12 days
11 nights
26 meals
11 B 8 L 7 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Arrive, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Oaxaca City, Oaxaca
D
Hotel Casa Conzatti

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 2:00 p.m.

Afternoon: After arriving at the hotel, check in and get your room, then take some time to unpack, freshen up, and relax.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant, enjoy a three course meal plus coffee, tea, soft drinks, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
2
Orientation, Market System, Benito Juarez Market.
Oaxaca City, Oaxaca
B
Hotel Casa Conzatti

Activity note: Walk up to 3 miles on flat surface

Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant, enjoy a buffet featuring Mexican and International cuisine with a variety of hot dishes, bead, pastries, fruit, yogurt, plus coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures including contact numbers for key staff, and answer any questions you may have. An instructor conduct classroom sessions, a certified expert will lead field trips, and transportation will be via bus unless specified otherwise. This is a Road Scholar FLEX program. It offers a more flexible schedule than our traditional programs with ample time for personal independent exploration and several meals on your own to enjoy the cuisine of your choice. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Our first lecture begins with a presentation on the market system in Oaxaca and its importance in Oaxacan cuisine. We will then walk to the famous Mercado Benito Juarez. Feast your eyes on the rich colors of the fruits and vegetables, the smells of the aromatic herbs and exotic spices, the sounds of the vendors calling out “Tortillas! Tamales! Chocolate! Chapulines!” Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the local chefs picking ingredients for their evening masterpieces of culinary delights, shopping for high quality leather bags and sacred hearts of hammered tin or beaded jewelry. Watch artisans weave rugs, put finishing touches on pottery, and create amazing paintings, and you, right in the middle of it all.

Lunch: On your own, this lunch has been excluded from the program cost so you can enjoy what you prefer. Group leader can provide options for restaurants

Afternoon: Our field trip for today concludes with a visit to the Mayordomo Chocolate Factory; where we will learn the history and receive a step-by-step demonstration of the chocolate making process. We will learn how chocolate was traditionally prepared as a drink that was only for members of Mayan royalty. See how the cacao is flavored with vanilla and transformed into a liquid, paste, or block form. Learn how chocolate is used in food preparation, in beverages, and in the candy making industry. After the demonstration we will return to the hotel for a social hour, a great opportunity to get to know your fellow travelers

Dinner: On your own to eat what you like the most

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Pre-Hispanic Foods, Cooking Class, Santo Domingo
Oaxaca City, Oaxaca
B,L
Hotel Casa Conzatti

Activity note: Hands on cooking class. Walk up to 1 mile on paved surfaces.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: In our private meeting room in the hotel, our expert will introduce us to pre-Hispanic food of Mexico and the impact on cuisine worldwide as a result of the Spanish invasion. The state of Oaxaca is deservedly famous for its wonderful and varied cuisine. Boarding the bus, we will ride to Yu Ne Nisa for a special hands-on cooking class with one of Oaxaca’s most famous chefs, Ofelia Toledo Pineda. Yu Ne Nisa has been a landmark in Oaxaca for more than twenty years.

Lunch: At Yu Ne Nisa, we will enjoy the food we prepared in the hands-on cooking class, plus coffee, soft drinks, fruit water, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will take a field trip to the historic district to visit the Santo Domingo church and museum. Once the Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán founded by the Dominican Order, the rooms that once constituted the monastery today house Cultural Center of Oaxaca. Began in 1570 and constructed over a period of 200 years, it underwent a complete restoration that was finished in 1999.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like or sample the local flavor. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Mitla, Santa Maria del Tule, Teotitlan del Valle
Oaxaca City, Oaxaca
B,L
Hotel Casa Conzatti

Activity note: Walk up to 2-1/2 miles on compact trails.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Aboard our bus and with a local expert, we will depart to Santa Maria del Tule. This used to be marshland filled with bulrushes, which the Aztecs called “tulle” and cypress trees. At the town center is El Árbol del Tule, a 2,000 year old Montezuma cypress tree that is the widest tree in the world (diameter almost 40 feet). We’ll continue to the Mitla Archaeological site, the most important for Zapotec culture and unique for its intricate geometric and mosaic work. Well preserved thanks to the dry climate, Mitla was the residence of the high priest, and served as the main religious center for the Zapote.

Lunch: At a local restaurant just outside Mitla Archaeological Site featuring a buffet specializing in different kinds of moles, enjoy a variety of salads, main dishes, and desserts, plus coffee, soft drinks, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Field trip continues and we will drive to Teotitlán del Valle, where we will learn about this small village best known for its handmade textiles from local materials. The village was originally founded by the Zapotec under the name Xaguixe, meaning “at the foot of the mountains” and still retains much of its original culture. The Spanish then renamed the site Teotitlán del Valle; Teotitlán meaning “land of the gods” in Nahuatl.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Monte Albán Field Trip, Free Time
Oaxaca City, Oaxaca
B,L,D
Hotel Casa Conzatti

Activity note: Walk up to 2 mile on flat surfaces. Bring hats, sunscreen and water

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Aboard our field trip then takes us to Monte Albán, one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Mexico with the most spectacular views. One of the greatest Mesoamerican cities, it served as a political and economic center for the Zapotec from roughly 500 BCE to around 500 CE. One of the most defining features of the city are the carved monuments or “Danzantes” lining the Main Plaza. After the site visit, we will walk into Monte Alban Site Museum with an opportunity to observe many of the artifacts excavated from the area; one of the highlights is the collection of the Danzantes.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, enjoy a two course lunch, plus coffee, soft drinks, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch we will return to Oaxaca to enjoy some free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and a local restaurant directory will be provided.

Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant a short walk from the hotel, enjoy a three course meal plus coffee, soft drinks, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Hands on cooking Class, Free Time
Oaxaca City, Oaxaca
B,L
Hotel Casa Conzatti

Activity note: Be prepared to participate on this cooking class

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will then transfer to the prestigious Seasons of My Heart Cooking School and put on aprons for a hands-on cooking class! The class focuses on pre-Hispanic foods, traditional culinary, medicinal and spiritual herb usage.

Lunch: Enjoy our meal at the Season of My Heart School featuring the food we prepared, plus coffee, soft drinks, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: On your own to further explore Oaxaca.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like or sample the local fare.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Traditional Oaxaca Cuisine, Free Day to Explore Oaxaca
Oaxaca City, Oaxaca
B,D
Hotel Casa Conzatti

Activity note: Free day after the lecture

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: In our private meeting room, our instructor will introduce us to traditional Oaxacan cuisine. One of Mexico’s gastronomic centers, the state of Oaxaca has some of the countries most diverse cuisine with the city of Oaxaca at its helm. While the indigenous people have grown the staples of beans, corn and squash for thousands of years, recipes were later brought over from Spain, and the various cultural influences have over centuries imposed layers of their own special flavors on the cuisine of today. Enjoy your free day on your last day in Oaxaca and visit places of personal interest or take in the relaxed atmosphere.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Continue your enjoying your free time in Oaxaca.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, enjoy a three course meal plus coffee, soft drinks, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
To Puebla, Walking Field Trip, Cooking Class
Puebla City, Puebla
B,L,D
Hotel Colonial De Puebla

Activity note: Ride is approximately 4-1/2 hours. Standing for 1 hour.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will board the motorcoach and transfer to Puebla, arriving in time for lunch.

Lunch: At the hotel restaurant featuring Mexican cuisine, enjoy a three course meal plus coffee, soft drinks, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will set out from the hotel for a walking field trip of the World Heritage Site of downtown Puebla. We will be stopping at the Templo de Santo Domingo, a world Heritage Site; The Chapel of Rosario, also called the House of Gold and one of the 8th wonders of the world; Casa de los Muñecos, the Doll House, a baroque house from the 18 century with beautiful talavera tile and a final stop at the artisan Market “El Parian”. The area was unsettled during the Aztec empire, having served as the location for “flowery wars” between the Aztec alliance and their rivals. Until the establishment of Puebla in 1531, the area was known as Cuetlaxcoapan or “where serpents shed their skin.” Today the city is known for its diverse architecture and Talavera pottery in addition to being one of the largest cities in Mexico.

Dinner: At the hotel, enjoy a three course meal, plus coffee, soft drinks, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Hands on cooking class
Puebla City, Puebla
B,L,D
Hotel Colonial De Puebla

Activity note: An opportunity to participate in the making of mole poblano class

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: At the hotel in our private meeting room, we will enjoy a cooking class. Led by a local chef, we will learn the secret of preparing "Mole Poblano," sometimes called the 'national dish of Mexico". One legend behind the sauce's creation tells of convent nuns in Puebla needing to prepare food for the archbishop who was coming to visit. After praying the mixed together what ingredients they had and poured on top of cooked turkey. When the archbishop enjoyed the meal, the nun explained that she made a "mole," being the ancient word for mix

Lunch: Hotel plated meal.

Afternoon: We will continue learning how to prepare “mole poblano.” With nearly 20 ingredients, mole is a labor intensive sauce that is a source of pride for the chef. It is said that each Mexican woman has her own mole recipe that has been passed down through their family.

Dinner: At a local restaurant: enjoy a two course dinner with coffee, tea, water; Other beverages available for purchase

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Colorful Churches, Cholula, Talavera Pottery
Puebla City, Puebla
B,L,D
Hotel Colonial De Puebla

Activity note: Photographs are not allowed at San Francisco Acatepec. Walking up to one mile on flat surface.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Our day begins with field trips to Santa Maria Tonanzintla and San Francisco Acatepec. These two churches are examples how indigenous and Spanish art blended together to create vibrant and colorful masterpieces. Both built in the 17th century, they are fine examples of the Mexican Baroque style that many consider Puebla to be the true capital of. We will then depart Puebla for a field trip to Cholula and the Great Pyramid. One of the largest pyramids in the world, the Great Pyramid of Cholula has the widest base in the world with a width of a quarter square mile and stands 180 feet tall. Built over a period of four stages over a period of 800 years, it was the primary temple to Quetzalcoatl. Following a period of population growth, the pyramid became abandoned until the Toltec-Chichimecas overtook the city and built a new temple atop the pyramid. The temple remained overgrown after the arrival of the Spanish and remained undisturbed until the 19th century, except for the Nuestra Señora de los Remedios church atop.

Lunch: Enjoy a box lunch prepared by the hotel eaten picnic style featuring a sandwich, fruit, and potato chips, plus soft drinks, water.

Afternoon: Our field trip at the Cholula Archeological site continues. As we return to the hotel, we will visit a Talavera Pottery factory for an opportunity to witness the delicate process from working the clay to decorating and firing the pieces. Brought to Mexico by Spanish colonists, pottery development became very successful in the Puebla region thanks to the accessibility of fine clays and the demand for decoration and tiling in newly established churches and monasteries.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
To Mexico City, National Palace, Latin-American Tower
Mexico City
B,L,D
Hotel We Aeropuerto

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile on flat surfaces.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Boarding the motorcoach, we will transfer to Mexico City for the last night of our program. We will then visit the National Palace, next to the zócalo, or main square of Mexico City. The National Palace is the seat of the executive branch of the Mexican government. Located on Mexico City’s main square, much of the materials remain from the original palace that belonged to Montezuma II.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, enjoy a three course meal plus coffee, soft drinks, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will ride to the Latin-American Tower and ascend to the observatory, located on the 44th floor, offering views from one of the highest points in the city. The tower is a significant architectural and engineering feat, being the first skyscraper in the world to be built in a highly seismic area.

Dinner: At the hotel, enjoy a three course meal plus coffee, tea, soft drinks, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Enjoy a closing ceremony to wrap up all that we have learned about the food and culture in Oaxaca and Pueblo.

DAY
12
Program Concludes
Mexico City
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out from 1:00 p.m.

Breakfast: At the hotel, enjoy a buffet featuring Mexican and International cuisine, including a variety of hot dishes, fruit, pastries, plus coffee, tea, juice, water.

Morning: Check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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