8695
Mexico
Dia De Los Muertos in Oaxaca
Learn about cultural heritage, archeological treasures, the Palace of Cortes and participate in an ancient ritual as you celebrate the Day of the Dead in Oaxaca.
Rating (5)
Program No. 8695RJ
Length
14 days
Starts at
2,699
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14 days
13 nights
38 meals
13 B 12 L 13 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Arrive, To Cuernavaca, Welcome Dinner
Cuernavava, Morelos
D
Hotel Posada Quinta las Flores

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m. Ride is approximately 1-1/2 hours.

Afternoon: Meet the Group Leader at 4:30 p.m. at the airport for the group transfer to Cuernavaca, where we will then check into the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant specializing in Mexican cuisine, enjoy a three course plated meal, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the days ahead.

DAY
2
Orientation, Cuernavaca City Excursion, Mexican History
Cuernavava, Morelos
B,L,D
Hotel Posada Quinta las Flores

Activity note: Walking up to 2-1/2 miles; one flight of stairs.

Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant, order a plated meal from the menu plus coffee, tea, juice, 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. All transportation will be provided via bus unless specified otherwise. An instructor will conduct all sessions in the classroom; a certified expert will lead field trips and excursions. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. Please note that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We will then set out for a field trip through Cuernavaca to visit historical buildings including the Cathedral of Nuestra Señora de Asuncion, the Hernan Cortes Palace, and the Bodra Gardens. Cuernavaca was established by the Olmec – considered to be the “mother culture of Mesoamerica. Its name is a Spanish derivation of a Nahuatl phrase meaning “surrounded by or close to trees.” The Cathedral of Nuestra Señora de Asuncion, or Cuernavaca Cathedral, was built in the 16th by the first Franciscan Friars. One of the oldest cathedrals in Mexico, admire the frescoes rediscovered in the early 20th century showing the persecution of Christian missionaries in Japan. The Hernan Cortes Palace is the city’s flagship building, finished in 1535 as one of the first European style buildings to be built in the Americas. Serving as the residence of Cortes and his decedents for several generations, it came into state hands in 1969, when it was restored and opened as a museum.

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

Afternoon: Once the residence of Manuel de la Borda and his family, this magnificent mansion hosted balls and galas for Maximilian I during his reign. The gardens were established as with plants and trees brought from around the world. Returning to the hotel, we will have our first presentation led by our instructor on Mexican history, followed by a social prior to dinner in our private meeting room. This is a fantastic opportunity to get to know the rest of the group.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Xochicalo Archaeological Site, Current Mexico
Cuernavava, Morelos
B,L,D
Hotel Posada Quinta las Flores

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles with stairs under strong sun. Bring hats, sunscreen, water.

Breakfast: Hotel plated meal.

Morning: Led by a local expert, our day begins with a field trip to Xochicalo – a pre-Columbian archeological site meaning “in the house of Flowers.” This World Heritage Site is believed to have reached its peak between 700 to 900 CE and may have hosted a population of up to 20,000 people. Due to the areas poor soil, the city was likely a fortified commercial and religious center.

Lunch: En route back to Cuernavaca, we will stop at a popular restaurant to enjoy a plated three course meal plus coffee, tea, fruit water, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Once we’ve returned to the hotel, take some time to relax and freshen up before our second lecture on Mexico. At 5:30 p.m., become acquainted with modern Mexico with a lecture from our expert on the country’s economic, political, and present situation. One of the largest and most populous countries in the world, Mexico has one of the world’s largest economies and is one of the most visited countries.

Dinner: We will have a short ride to a local restaurant and enjoy a three course meal plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
To Oaxaca, Tehuacán, Oaxaca City Center
Oaxaca
B,L,D
Hotel Casa Conzatti

Activity note: Ride is approximately 6 hours. Walking up to 2-1/2 miles on flat surfaces.

Breakfast: Hotel plated meal.

Morning: Checking out of the hotel, we will depart by motorcoach for our transfer to Oaxaca. On the way to Oaxaca we will stop in Tehuacán for an opportunity to explore its downtown and for lunch. Originally settled by indigenous peoples, the city is home to a wide array of cultures and is known for its many diverse festivals.

Lunch: At a popular, centrally located restaurant in Tehuacán, enjoy a two course meal plus coffee, soft drinks, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Arriving in Oaxaca, we will check into the hotel and meet at a designated time and place to begin our walking field trip to the historic city center. Though the current city was founded in 1532, the Zapotec and Mixtec pre-Columbian civilizations settled in the area for thousands of years. The city is known for these archeological sites and the large number of colonial-era structures.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant specializing in Mexican cuisine, enjoy a three course plated meal, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Dia de Los Muertos, Santo Domingo Museum, Chocolate Factory
Oaxaca
B,L,D
Hotel Casa Conzatti

Activity note: Walking up to 3-1/2 miles on flat surfaces.

Breakfast: At the hotel enjoy a buffet featuring Mexican and International cuisine including hot egg dishes, bread, pastries, breakfast meats, yogurts, and fruit, plus coffee, tea, juice, water.

Morning: Our day begins with an with a lecture in our private meeting room on the Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, and how it has been celebrated through time. The holiday combines the beliefs of the indigenous people with the Catholic Spaniards that arrived in the 15th century. Indigenous peoples believed that each year, the souls of the dead return to eat and drink with the living as they would have before their deaths. This belief was combined with the Catholic holidays of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. Our first field trip for the day will take us to Santo Domingo Church and Museum of Oaxaca Cultures. In the church, we will have an opportunity to admire the Baroque ecclesiastical building built between1570 and 1608. Once the Templo de Danto Domingo de Guzmán founded by the Dominican Order, the rooms that once constituted the monastery now forms the Cultural Center of Oaxaca. After undergoing construction for nearly 200 years, it underwent a complete restoration that was finished in 1999.

Lunch: Walking to a local restaurant a few blocks from the church and museum, we will enjoy a plated three course meal plus coffee, fruit water, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will walk to the market and chocolate factory, where we will learn the history and see 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, beverages, and the candy making industry.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: We will celebrat Dia de los Muertos by visiting one of the many cemeteries and observe the rituals associated with this important celebration.

DAY
6
Xoxo Cemetery, Arrazola, Cuilapan, 3000 Years of History
Oaxaca
B,L,D
Hotel Casa Conzatti

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile on flat surface

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Aboard our bus and led by a local expert we will ride Xoxo Cemetery in Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán. It is just one of the many cemeteries that are filled with decorated graves with flowers of cempasuchitl – marigold flowers referred to as “flor de muerto” – dedicated to deceased family members. We will walk in the trail of the cemetery admiring all the altars and decorations that families dedicate to the diseased relatives. We will continue to Arrazola a quiet town outside of Oaxaca that is the birthplace of alebrijes, or brightly painted folk art sculptures of creatures limited only by the imagination. When woodcarving was introduced to the area in the 1950’s, this art form took on a life of its own and has become internationally renowned.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, enjoy a two course meal plus coffee, tea, fruit water, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Our day continues with a visit to the town of Cuilipan de Guerrero, where we will visit the Cuilipan Monastery. Once a formidable city with a population of over 40,000, the Spanish built the Monastery to convert the Zapotec and Mixtex populations. After decades of population decline, the monastery slowly deteriorated to its current state. Today, it is a national monument under the care of the National Institute of Anthropology and History. After these visits we will return to the hotel and assemble at our private meeting room for a lecture, we will build on our knowledge of Oaxaca and its history stretching back 3,000 years.

Dinner: At a local restaurant featuring a three-course meal plus coffee, tea, soft drinks, water; other beverage available for purchase.

Evening: We will continue celebrating Dia de los Muertos as we walk downtown and attend presentations sponsored by different cultural organizations.

DAY
7
Santa Maria del Tule, Mitla, Teotitlan del Valle.
Oaxaca
B,L,D
Hotel Casa Conzatti

Activity note: Ride approximately 1-1/2 hours throughout the day. Walking up to 3 miles throughout the day; bring hats, sunscreen, water.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will depart to Santa Maria del Tule, home of the widest tree in the world with a diameter of almost 40 feet. Santa Maria del Tule used to be marshland filled with bulrushes, which the Aztecs called “tulle” and cypress trees. At the towns center is El Árbol del Tule, a 2,000 year old Montezuma cypress tree. Continuing along, we will visit Mitla Archaeological site, the most important site for the Zapotec culture. It is unique among other Mexican sites due to its intricate geometric and mosaic work that cover everything from friezes to entire walls. Well preserved thanks to the dry climate, Mitla was the residence of the high priest, whom the Spanish likened to the Pope, 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: Our exploration continues at Teotitlán del Valle, where we will learn about this small village best known for its handmade textiles from local materials.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: We will continue celebrating Dia de los Muertos by visiting one of the many cemeteries and observe the rituals associated with this important celebration.

DAY
8
The Ocotlan Route, Coyotepec, Jalieza, & Ocotlan
Oaxaca
B,L,D
Hotel Casa Conzatti

Activity note: Total ride time will be approximately 2 hours throughout the day. Walking up to 1 mile on flat surfaces.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Setting out from the hotel, we will start our day with a visit to the town of Coyotepec, meaning “many tigers” in the Zapotec language. The town is known for the black pottery that is produced there. For many centuries, black pottery has been produced with a dull finish, but when Doña Rosa Real Mateo started polishing and giving the pottery a shiny finish, they become more attractive and the industry grew. Our local expert will give us the explanation of the entire process on how they work the clay. Our field trip will continue to Ocotlan de Morelos. We will visit the Dominican church and convent founded in the 16th century, and observe how one side of the chapel opens to the main central nave. We will get to see some of the local artwork, including some from famous local artists.

Lunch: Along our route, we will stop at a restaurant for a three course meal plus coffee, soft drinks, fruit water, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Visiting the last town along the Ocotlan Route, we will stop in Jalietza where we will receive a demonstration on belt weaving. The townsfolk are known for their handmade embroidered cloth and leather belts. Following the demonstration, we will return to Oaxaca.

Dinner: A short ride away, we will dine at a local restaurant featuring, a variety of small plates from the region of Ismuths, plus fruit juice, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Lecture Magic Hands of Oaxaca, Monte Alban, Benito Juarez
Oaxaca
B,L,D
Hotel Casa Conzatti

Activity note: Walking up to 2 mile under direct sun; bring hats, sunscreen, water. Optional Stairs onto pyramids

Breakfast: Hotel plated meal.

Morning: Lecture on Magic Hands of Oaxaca. This lecture will include a closer look in the ethnic groups, the diversified customs and traditions of the area, the artistry of the people outstanding, the fashioned buildings, clothing & decorations. 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: We will drive to restaurant outside of Monte Alban known for their delicious food, a buffet featuring Mexican food, with a variety of main dishes, salads, soups, water, coffee, soft drinks; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: In at our private meeting room at the hotel, we will play the film focusing on Benito Juarez, one of the most influential figures in modern Mexican history. Leading “La Reforma del Norte” or “The Reform of the North,” he is credited with bringing federalist, liberal policies to the Mexican government.

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

Evening: At leisure

DAY
10
Legends and Traditions of Oaxaca
Oaxaca
B,L,D
Hotel Casa Conzatti

Breakfast: Hotel plated meal.

Morning: Enjoy a presentation on the legends and traditions of Oaxaca. Thanks to Oaxaca’s large indigenous populations, the state is incredibly heterogeneous because each group has their own language, culture, and traditions.

Lunch: At the hotel, we will have a buffet featuring a variety of soups, salad, and main dishes, plus coffee, soft drinks, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: 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.

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

Evening: We will walk from the restaurant to the performance site and we will experience La Guelaguetza, an event celebrating indigenous culture with dancing, costumes, and parades. More than half of Oaxaca’s populations are indigenous people and their culture remains as an important part of their identity.

DAY
11
To Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala Historic Center
Tlaxcala
B,L,D
Posada San Francisco

Activity note: Ride is approximately 5 hours. Walk up to 1 mile.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Checking out of the hotel, we will board our motorcoach and transfer to Tlaxcala. During our ride, we will be accompanied by a local expert who will provide commentary about our destination and the communities we will travel through. We will arrive in time for lunch.

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

Afternoon: After checking into the hotel, we will depart for a walking field trip to the historic center of Tlaxcala. Established by the Spanish in the 16th century, the city served as a center for government and evangelization after the establishment of New Spain. The compact city center is filled with historic, colonial era building painted in a variety of colors.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Cacaxtla Archaeological Site
Tlaxcala
B,L,D
Posada San Francisco

Activity note: Walking up to 1-1/2 miles and climbing a flight of stairs.

Breakfast: At the hotel enjoy a buffet featuring Mexican and International cuisine including hot egg dishes, bread, pastries, breakfast meats, yogurts, and fruit, plus coffee, tea, juice, water.

Morning: Take a field trip to the archeological site of Cacaxtla. A prosperous city for more than 300 years, Cacaxtla declined around 900 CE before ultimately being abandoned by the year 1000. Cacaxtla was built around the Gran Basamento, a large elevated platform where the most important buildings where located and offering unobstructed views of the surrounding area. It is known for its colorful murals with their unmistakable Maya influence that are in excellent condition having not been excavated until the 1980’s.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Tlaxcala, we will stop at a restaurant for a three course meal plus coffee, tea, fruit water, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: On your own to see and do what interests you most.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Huamantla, Market & Bull Fight Museum, Farewell Dinner
Tlaxcala
B,L,D
Posada San Francisco

Activity note: Walking up to 1-1/2 miles on flat surfaces.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Departing from the hotel, we will visit the small city of Huamantla and the Rosete Aranda National Puppet Museum. The only one of its kind in Latin America, the museum showcases the history of modern Mexican puppetry – an art form whose history can be traced back to Huamantla in the 1850’s. Our exploration continues with a visit to the municipal market, an opportunity to explore the aisles of the mercado and see the products locals buy for their day-to-day living. We then will continue along to the Bullfighting Museum. The Bullfighting Museum, located in an 18th century building next to the city’s bullring, celebrates the tradition of Mexican bullfighting and matadors with a diverse collection.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Huamantla, enjoy a three course meal plus coffee, tea, fruit water, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Our exploration of Huamantla continues to Hacienda of Soltepec, unique for its splendid façade resembling a medieval style castle. Founded in 1712, the original name of the hacienda is San Francisco Soltepec and is rich in history for us to discover.

Dinner: Walking to a local restaurant, enjoy a three course farewell meal plus coffee, tea, soft drinks, water’ other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
To MEX, Program Concludes
Tlaxcala
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 1:00 p.m. Ride is approximately 2 hours to MEX.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Immediately following breakfast, 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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