Oaxaca: Culture and Cuisine (2022)

February 21-27, 2022


300 miles southeast of Mexico City lies the enchanting city of Oaxaca, in the most ethnically diverse state in Mexico. This diversity is the foundation for Oaxaca’s rich culinary and cultural traditions. During this 7-day luxury trip, you will experience Oaxaca like a local – slowly and attentively, to understand and appreciate the area’s many layers and facets.


Oaxaca is small and easily walkable. Its central historic district is made up of perfectly preserved buildings in beautiful pastel colors of ocre, pink, terracotta, salmon and turquoise. The weather in February is picture perfect – highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s at night.

  • Stay at a calm artistic hotel in central Oaxaca
  • Learn all about how mezcal is made and enjoy a tasting – or three
  • Take a cooking class with with a chef using market fresh ingredients
  • Visit Monte Albán, the ancient Zapotec City dating back to 500 BC
  • Sample the creativity of the who’s who of Oaxacan Chefs, each trying to outdo one another
  • Shop for beautiful yet affordable handmade pottery and textiles
  • Stroll through one of the largest and most impressive markets in Mexico
  • Explore the Santo Domingo Church built in 1575
  • Cleanse and detox your body at a traditional ceremonial temazcal, an experience dating back thousands of years
  • Buy a handmade rug in Teotitlán del Valle, where they’ve been weaving for 100o+ years

You will get to dine in the old town, in the hills above the city and in the outskirts, at both high-end restaurants and off-the-beaten path street stands. You will truly get to experience the wealth of Oaxaca’s culture, and how it is transmitted through food. Mole is the cornerstone of Oaxacan cuisine but there is also tlayudas, memelitas, carnitas, tetelas, enfrijoladas, and so much more – an endless list of homemade food that will make your heart sing. Not to mention the mezcal – the soul of Oaxaca -you’ll come away as a lover and a mini-expert!


Day 1


Arrive in Oaxaca City. The hotel’s shuttle bus will meet you at the airport and take you to Pug Seal Oaxaca – a gorgeous artsy boutique hotel, conveniently located in the historic downtown area. An optional jet lag massage is available upon request. 

You will have time to unpack and refresh before meeting up with your travel mates for a welcome drink at the hotel. After getting to know one another, you will walk over to Pitonia, which boasts the most stunning view of Oaxaca’s 16th century cathedral as well as superb drinks and comida. 

Day 2

Cathedral, Shopping and Cocktails

After breakfast at the hotel, you will head over to tour the Cathedral Santo Domingo, built in 1585, and the cathedral’s museum.

For lunch, you will get to settle in right across the street on the roof of Casa Oaxaca. The homemade salsa made at the table is one of the best you’ll ever taste. 

After a satisfying lunch, you will have some free time to explore and shop around the downtown area. The shopping here is magnificent, the prices too! You will be given a list of favorite shops – there are many! Be sure to bring an extra bag to carry home all the treasures you’ll find on this trip. 

Tonight, you will have a sunset craft cocktail and tasting tour around town. Rest up and get ready, this crawl will be a whole lot of fun! 

Day 3

Mezcal and Street Food

For breakfast, head next door to Boulenc, a panaderia (bakery) that produces the best French pastries in town.

After breakfast, you will head outside the city for a comprehensive tour to learn all about the making of artisanal mezcal.  Your guide, who is also a mezcal producer, is one of the most knowledgeable people on the subject in Mexico.  

After the excursion, you will stop by the famous market town of Tlacolula. Here you will sample some of the best grilled Mexican street food you can find. Later this afternoon, back in town, you might want to explore the galleries of Oaxaca, or stop into the Museum of Textiles. 

*Optional Trip. If you are interested, you can head out to a nearby village where handmade rugs have been weaved for nearly 1000 years. You will stop into several places, but the women’s cooperative is a definite favorite. 

After a filling late lunch, dinner tonight is vegetable-centric at Calabacitas Tiernas. 

Day 4

Botanical Gardens and Shaman Cleansing

Today, you will enjoy a proper Mexican breakfast at Floricita, in a small nearby market. Here you will want to try their delicious hot chocolate and, if you are feeling adventurous, taste some chapulinas (grasshoppers).

Next, you will have the pleasure of taking a tour of the famous botanical garden, which is laid out on the former grounds of the monastery of the Santo Domingo Church. The garden is well known for its cactus wall made of organ pipe cactus, as well as many varietals of cacti throughout the largely indigenous garden. 

After a day of mezcal yesterday, this afternoon is devoted to cleansing. Following a short drive out of town, you will enter a pequeño paraíso (little paradise), the Ceviarem Temazcal, in the compound of a charming home owned by a lovely couple. The shaman is the man of the house. His craft was passed down to him through many generations. The shaman will carefully lead you and explain all of the steps of the cleansing process. There are herbs on hand to wash away and cleanse your body and spirit and – believe it or not – mezcal even plays a part. There is also a cool tub, so you won’t ever feel too overheated. It is a beautiful and rewarding experience. You’ll come out refreshed and relaxed. 

After the cleansing, you will venture further up into the mountains to a small restaurant with a lovely view, known for homemade soups and tortillas.

Back in town you’ll likely want to rest and relax. Later on tonight, if you wish, join your travel mates for some classic tyaludas, the quintessential comfort food of Oaxaca. It is basically a huge tortilla, painted with fat and a dollop of creamy beans, then topped with Oaxacan string cheese, and vegetables such as lettuce, avocado, and tomato and then grilled to perfection on a comal (a flat griddle). One can add any type of meat or protein available and order it flat (open face) or folded like a quesadilla.

Day 5

Cooking Class and Ceramics

Today, you will delve deep into the richness of Oaxacan cuisine and its classic ingredients, heavily influenced by the indigenous communities of the area.

In the morning, you will meet your chef in one of the incredible markets which Oaxaca is known for. You will explore the market like a local and pick up all the ingredients needed to prepare your dishes during your cooking class today. After your big shop, you will head back into the kitchen for instruction and hands on cooking. You will soon discover why Oaxaca is famous all over the world and is considered to have the very best food in all of Mexico. You will feast on what you have prepared – with some local beer of course. 

Use your afternoon for rest, shopping or hitting up the modern art museum, MACO, situated in a gorgeous old colonial building in Oaxaca’s historical district. You can also join an optional tour to a nearby town famous for its handmade pottery – the town makes for great and reasonable shopping! You can also make a stop in hills above Oaxaca for some more refined artisanal pottery. The designs and colors are heavenly. 

Tonight, you will venture back up into the hills to a tiny town called San Andrés de Huayapam for a magnificent meal at Luz de Luna.

Day 6

Monte Alban and Alfonsina

Today, you will wake up early to head out for a tour of Monte Alban, a pre-columbian settlement which was the center for the Zapotecs for about 1000 years from 500 BC to 500 AD. The guide will explain the pyramids and the significance of this important culture, still strong in Oaxaca today. 

Today’s lunch is an exciting one. A trip to Alfonsina is more of a pilgrimage than a lunch stop. Voted best restaurant of the year by New Worlder Magazine a few years ago, you’d never know it by the humble look of the place. Chef Jorge León began his journey by working first at Casa Oaxaca and then Pujol (previously voted best restaurant in the world, in Mexico City). He is now at his happiest in his family compound working outdoors and creating whatever he wants for his diners.

This afternoon, take a nap, do some last minute shopping or read a novel.

The farewell dinner will be a much needed change of pace. Kintaro is an excellent Japanese restaurant. It has a gorgeous courtyard and superb cocktails. You and your new friends will toast to the delicious week spent together and reminisce about the many discoveries, memories and tastes.

Day 7


Alas, it is time to return home – with a suitcase full of amazing shopping finds and plenty of great memories.


Oaxaca - Pug Seal Hotel - boutique hotel

Enjoy your stay at this gorgeous artsy hotel in the heart of Oaxaca. Relax in your spacious and aesthetically-pleasing room or read a book in one of the hotel’s perfectly appointed sitting areas.



  • 6 nights in a trendy boutique hotel, the Pug Seal Oaxaca
  • All ground transportation (including airport transfers)
  • Welcome gift and welcome drinks
  • All indicated meals except for dinner on day 4, including beer, wine, or mezcal (when specified) to accompany your food
  • Entrances to museums, Monte Alban as well as costs of all activities mentioned
  • All market visits, mezcal visits and tastings
  • A unique Temazcal ceremonial experience
  • A market visit and cooking class

Not Included:

  • International airfare
  • Gratuities
  • Souvenirs and any additional expenses
  • Massages or additional spa treatments
  • Trip Insurance
  • Medical travel insurance

Luxury Add Ons:

  • Jet Lag Massages on Day 1

Want to Join Us?