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Oaxaca, Mexico: Guelaguetza Festival: Art, Culture and Indigenous Resistance 2023

  • April 08 - 16, 2023
  • Pickup: Airport

Join us during Semana Santa (Holy week) and witness the beauty of Mexico’s most culturally and linguistically diverse state. Meet with Indigenous activists, enjoy world famous Oaxacan cuisine, visit the ancient archaeological sites of the region, visit community run projects and witness  the Holy Week celebrations. 

These celebrations happen in a state that has suffered disproportionately from the collapse of rural economies and decades long surge of out migration detonated by the original NAFTA accords, as millions of Mexicans — bereft of income and opportunities – headed north. We will look at how Oaxaca was destabilized by this exodus and what people are doing now to hold onto family and community even when they are dispersed geographically.

What’s included

Global Exchange Reality ToursDouble Rooms

Global Exchange Reality ToursSingle Room Upgrade

Available for $250 extra

Global Exchange Reality ToursIn country transport

Includes airport pick-up and drop-off

Global Exchange Reality ToursPrep Reading materials

Global Exchange Reality ToursTrip leader

Juan de Dios, educator and activist from Oaxaca, leading Global Exchanges’s delegations for 15 years.

Global Exchange Reality ToursTwo meals a day

Global Exchange Reality ToursAdmission fees

To all program activities

Global Exchange Reality ToursDonations

To organizations, speakers, communities we visit

What’s excluded
  • International airfare
  • Visa and passport fees
  • Items of personal nature
  • TipsTo guides, drivers, hotel staff, wait staff
Available options

Single Room add-on


Times and events subject to change

Day 1Friday, April 8

6:00 PM: Orientation 

  • Reading and discussion of the document: “Tools to be a socially Conscious & Culturally Sensitive and Respectful Participant”
  • Cultural aspects
  • Review of itinerary 

8:00 PM: Welcome dinner at restaurant Mayordomo

Day 2Saturday, April 9

8:00 AM:  Breakfast 

10:00 AM:  Pluriculturalidad of Oaxaca and Indigenous People of Oaxaca, a presentation. 

12:00 PM: Tour through the historical center of the city 

2:00 PM: Visit the traditional food market “20 de noviembre”

5:00PM: Visit the botanical garden 

8:00 Free for dinner

Day 3Sunday, April 10: Indigenous Art, Ceramic Workshop and Gastronomy Oaxaquena

8:00 AM: Departure from hotel 

8:30 AM: Breakfast at San Bartolo Coyotepec 

10:00 AM: Visit to the Museum of Popular Art of Oaxaca and meet with Indigenous representative to discuss art of Oaxaca 

11:00 AM: Ceramic workshop

1:00 PM: Lunch / Cuilapam de Guerrero

3:00 PM: Visit to the exconvent of Cuiapam de Guerrero 

5:00 PM : Return to the city of Oaxaca

8:00 PM: Free for dinner

Day 4Monday April 11: Centro de las Artes de San Agustín (Arts Center of San Agustín) and Archeological Zone

8:00 AM: Departure from the hotel

8:30 AM: Breakfast San Sebastian 

10:00 AM: Visit to San Agustin Arts Center and art workshop. Less than an hour outside Oaxaca City, a former textile factory has been remodeled into a modern center for the arts, complete with post-industrial architectural touches and a beautiful color palette.

1:00 PM: Traditional Oaxacan lunch in the Villa de Etla

3:00 PM: Visit the Archeological Zone of Las Penitas. Located amid farmland you will see the un-excavated Zapotec ruins. 

5:00 PM: Return to hotel in Oaxaca city 

7:00 PM:  Free for dinner

Day 5Tuesday April 12: Sierra Juarex, Ixtlan and Calpulalpam

8:00 AM: Departure from the hotel

8:30 AM: Breakfast Oaxaqueno buffet 

12:00 PM: Arrive in Ixtlan de Juarez, a beautiful town in the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca that is dedicated to forestry and agriculture. Visit the Communal University and learn about the recovery of Indigenous historical memory. 

2:00 PM: Lunch at the communal restaurant Los Molinos in Capulalpam also known as “The magical town.” 

4:00 PM: Arrive at the beautiful ecotourism cabins. “Arising from a Community initiative, we have the firm commitment to conserve our natural and cultural resources, giving the visitor the opportunity to enjoy local adventures, learn our traditions, customs. Visiting our community is synonymous with tranquility, harmony, of magic that is in the air, in the greeting, in the daily life of our daily lives.”

5:00 PM: Tour of the local village and visit a traditional medicine center with the option to have a massage or participate in the temazcal bath. (Optional) 

8:00 PM: Dinner and then return to the cabins. 

Day 6Wednesday April 13: Hiking in Capulalpam and Guelatao

6:00 AM: Walk through the forest for morning bird watching and other animal life. 

8:00 AM: Traditional Breakfast at the Capulalpam market

10:00 AM: Meet with a community organizer and learn about the community efforts to close mining and the defense of Indigenous territory. 

11:00 AM: Visit to the Enchanted Lagoon tucked away in the quiet village of Guelatao de Juárez. The lagoon at Guelatao is surrounded by tall trees and lush green grass and some gardens which are carefully looked after. 

2:00 PM: Community Lunch 

4:00 PM: Return to hotel and free for the afternoon to explore. 

8:00 PM: Dinner

Day 7Thursday April 14: Santa Maria El Tule and Mitla and Prehistoric Caves and Jaguars

8:00 AM: Departure from the hotel

8:30 AM: Breakfast in Santa Maria El tule, a town known for large cypress trees. 

10:00 AM: Visit to the famount Tree of Tule, the stoutest tree trunk in the world. It is a Montezuma cypress. Local Zapotec legend holds that it was planted around 1600 years ago by Pechocha, a priest of the god that the Aztecs would call Ehecatl, the Aztec wind god. It’s located on a sacred site, later taken over by the Roman Catholic Church.

11:00 AM: Visit the archaeological site of Mitla and meet with a local historian to learn about the “place of the dead.” Mitla is the second-most important archeological site in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico, and the most important of the Zapotec culture. Mitla is unique among Mesoamerican sites because of its elaborate and intricate mosaic fretwork and geometric designs that cover tombs, panels, friezes, and even entire walls of the complex. These mosaics are made with small, finely cut and polished stone pieces that have been fitted together without the use of mortar. It is said it was built as a gateway between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Nobles buried at Mitla were believed to be destined to become “cloud people,” who would intercede on behalf of the population below.

1:30 PM: Lunch in Mitla

2:30 PM: Visit and tour the prehistoric caves of Mitla, a community based ecotourism project or visit the Jaguar protection sanctuary. 

5:00 PM : Return to the city of Oaxaca

8:00 PM: Free for dinner

Day 8Friday April 15: Monte Alban Archaeological sites, Art and Culture

8:00 AM: Departure from hotel

8:30 AM: Breakfast

10:30 AM: Visit to the Monte Alban Archeological site. Monte Albán, the most significant archeological site in the Oaxaca Valley and one of the most important archaeological zones in Mesoamerica. An ancient Zapotec metropolis, Monte Albán was founded in the sixth century B.C. on a low mountainous range overlooking the city of Oaxaca and functioned as their capital 13 centuries between 500 B.C. and 800 A.D. Its impressive architectural remains—terraces, pyramids, and canals—extend over some four miles, including structures built around the Great Plaza, the north and south ends of which are anchored by massive platform mounds. 

12:00 PM: Learn from local organizers who are fighting against privatization of the city. 

2:00 PM: Eat at a Oaxaquena restaurant “El Mirador de Fortin.” 

4:00 PM: Visit a well known art gallery with a presentation from the local ceramic artists. 

7:00 PM: Listen to live traditional Oaxacan music from Juan Jose Gonzalez. 

8:00 PM: Traditional Oaxacan dinner then return to the hotel. 

Day 9Saturday April 16: Departures

8:00 AM: Breakfast



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