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Oaxaca City and the Central Highlands Tour

February 8-16, 2022

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The Central Highlands of Southern Mexico, sharing a coastline with the Pacific, is best known for its mild semi-tropical climate, rich culinary and handicraft traditions, and multifaceted history. Oaxaca de Juarez City, with a population of 300,000 and an altitude of 5102 feet, is the capital city located in the state of Oaxaca. The city center has been transformed, due in part to its 1987 UNESCO Heritage Site designation, and features both Zapotec and Mixtec influences. Today, the city center is full of galleries, upscale restaurants, and mezcalerias - all surrounded by striking Spanish colonial architecture made of native greenstone, sun-drenched with light and sunshine.

 

Archaeological ruins dating back to more than 11,000 BC make Oaxaca the first location of human settlements  in Mexico. The archaeological ruins of Monte Alban, a pre-Hispanic city  built around 800 BC by the Zapotecs, reached a population of 35,000 inhabitants. The Aztecs arrived in this region around 800 AD, warring with the many indigenous groups of the region. There are 16 different indigenous groups that are registered with the state today, each with its own language and handicrafts, creating a diverse and rich cultural experience in this unique state. 

 

Oaxaca has long been considered Mexico’s culinary capital with many varieties of moles recognized as truly Oaxacan by Mexicans. The origins of moles go back to the melding of Spanish and Arabic food from Spain. Other notable foods from this region are corn, squash, peppers, and chocolate. Oaxacan hot chocolate is easily distinguished and is made with water or milk and flavored with cinnamon, almonds, and sugar.

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Your trip director, Brigitte Cowan, has traveled extensively throughout Mexico during the past dozen years. Brigitte lived in Manzanillo, Mexico for over 10 years with her husband and dog, traveling from Staunton, Virginia to Manzanillo, Mexico by car in the fall and returning to Virginia in the spring. The miles through Mexico exposed her to a country rarely seen or understood by its northern neighbor. It also started her long love affair with Mexico.

 

Join me on this 9 day/8 night trip as we explore all that this city and state have to offer. We will be staying in a lovely bed and breakfast conveniently located close to the city center, and will be served a deliciously healthy breakfast before starting our day. We will begin our tour with a guided historic walking tour on our first day to orient us to the city center. We will also explore the beautiful botanical garden (with guide)  just a few steps from our B&B. We will explore several villages outside the city renowned for their textiles, pottery, and woodcarving. We will also visit the Sunday market of Tlacolula, reputed to be the oldest market still in operation in all of Mexico, and go to a Mezcal distillery to sample its offerings. The Central Valley is also famous for its archaeological ruins where we will be introduced to Monte Alban -  the oldest human settlement in Mexico dating back to 800 BC. We will close our tour with a culinary delight: learning to shop and prepare an authentic Oaxacan meal to be savored by the group.

INCLUDED IN THE TOUR:

  • 8 nights in a beautiful B&B, breakfast included

  • Transportation to/from the Oaxaca Airport

  • Welcome cocktail party and botanas for group

  • Group dinner (excluding alcoholic drinks)

  • Historic Guided Walking Tour

  • Guided Botanical Tour

  • The Magic Route of Handicrafts Guided Tour

  • Monte Alban Archaeological Guided Tour

  • Tlaculola Market Guided Tour

  • Farewell Group Dinner

  • Authentic Oaxacan Cooking Class

  • Gratuities for all B&B Staff

  • Gratuities for all Tours led by Tour Guide

  • Gratuities for driver

  • 1 night in Mexico City Hotel for early AM flight back to Atlanta

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NOTES:

  • All tours will be given by a registered tour guide who is bi-lingual.

  • Transportation will be in a private Sprinter Mercedes Benz van. Van carries liability insurance.

  • Bottled water, driver, and tour guide will be provided for tours outside the city center.

  • Lunch or Dinners do not include any alcoholic beverages.

  • Not Included in your trip:      

    • Air transportation to and from Oaxaca City 

    • Trip Insurance 

    • Some lunches and some dinners see calendar

    • Alcohol with Meals 

    • Gratuities for cabs, porters @ airport or anyone lending a hand.      

COST OF TOUR:

Double Occupancy:           

$1,800 per person

Single Occupancy:           

$2,100 per person with King room upgrade.   

$1,800 per person Queen room. **Only 2 available **  

  • ​Trip Insurance is required by October 1st, 2021

  • Copy of Passport and CDC VAC Record is required by September 1st, 2021

  • Payment Schedule:

  • $500 with initial hard copy reservation form due July 15, 2021

  • $1000 due September 15th 2021 with copy of passport and proof of trip insurance.

  • Balance of your land tour will be due November 1st, 2021

CANCELLATION POLICY:

  • Up to 30 days after registering: $500 less administrative fee of $150

  • Before July 15th, 2021: 50% of deposit less administrative fee of $150

  • After September 15th, 2021: Trip insurance is required for reimbursement. You may buy trip insurance through Allianz Global Assistance.

  • Please Note: Full reimbursement will be made should we experience a worldwide pandemic or natural disaster. Excludes trip insurance and all flights.

* The Registration Form is fillable.  Please complete, save to your device, and email to director@saartcenter.org

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MEXICO CITY EXTENSION TOUR
February 16 to February 20, 2022

Mexico City, founded in 1325, is reputed to be one of the largest cities in the world and is the capitol city of Mexico. It is also a world class city filled with history, museums, colonial architecture, visual arts and culinary delights with one of the youngest demographics giving it a very hip vibe. 

 

The City's best attractions are located within a 15 Square km. area known as the Centro Historico de la Ciudad, a designated UNESCO Heritage Site. The heartbeat of this area is the Zocalo, the world's largest square laid out immediately after the Spanish Conquest of the former Aztec city of Tenochitlan. 

 

The Zocalo is bordered by 3 main attractions:

  • The National Palace, the official presidential residence built over the old Aztec Palace, where we will view some of Diego Rivera's murals

  • The Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral de Metropolitana de la Asuncion de Maria) a magnificent Baroque inspired cathedral started in 1525 taking 205 years to complete

  • The Temple Mayor, home to the remains of great Temple of Tenochitlan including the first relic discovered in 1978. Excavations tell us this temple was rebuilt 11 times. 

 

We will also spend time exploring the recognized world class National Museum of Anthropology, built in 1964 located in the famous Chapultepec Park. 

 

I will schedule a day tour through VIATOR for our visit to The Blue House (La Casa Azul) the home of the iconic Mexican painter Frida Kahlo the off again, on again wife and lover of Diego Rivera the neighborhood of Coyoacan in Mexico City.  This was originally Frida Kahlo’s family home where she spent most of her life and later her life with Diego Rivera. Upon her death she wanted her home to become a museum for the Mexican people to enjoy. It was Diego Rivera who helped make this happen.

 

Our other stop will be the fascinating Xochimilco (Zo-chee-mille-co) and the floating gardens where we will board a flat bottom boat called a Trajineras for our adventure. Xochimilco lies 7461 ft. above sea level on Lake Xochimilco. Built on the site of a Pre-Columbian town, Xochimilco is famous for its floating garden that provided crops to the Aztec capital of Tenochitlan. These gardens are still used today for the cultivation of flowers and vegetables. Small boats float along the Trajoneras serving a variety of food and drink.

 

THREE DAY ITENERARY

 

  • Day One:  The National Museum of Anthropology, lunch and a visit to the Presidential Palace & the Diego murals 

  • Day Two:  La Casa Azul and Xochimilco lunch included. Bring snacks for the bus ride.

  • Day Three: The Templo Mayor, lunch and The Metropolitan Cathedral

 

Hotel (4 nights)– Zocalo Central Hotel rated excellent by Tripadvisor.  Average double room $100 per night. Excellent location!

VIATOR Tour is around $40 plus tip for driver and tour guide

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