So many things to see, so many things to experience
Markets are wonderful places to visit, not only to see the thousands of products on sale but just to see how ordinary people of the region live. Always full of vitality, hustle and bustle, noise, smells, colours beyond your wildest dreams, this is a chance to see the quintessential Oaxaca. The many indigenous peoples who live here come to sell their wares and locals come to take home with them what they need to live their daily lives. Come here for an orgy of the senses and pick yourself up a few bargains at the same time. You’ll find the people friendly and happy to show you their goods.
We arrange visits to the various markets in Oaxaca City as well as a special visit to Tlacolula market (30 minutes from Oaxaca) which takes over the whole village each Sunday. Be prepared for a special treat!
The nearest of the city markets are just six minutes’ walk from our hotel so take a firm hold of your bag and dive on in whenever you fancy. Most storeholders are very honest and you’ll find yourselves offered the same price as any Mexican shopper (we’ve tested this!) but there’s usually room for a bit of negotiation so don’t be afraid to come back with a counter offer if you feel the price is more than you want to pay.
The Zapotec people are some of the original inhabitantes of the Oaxaca region of Mexico before the Spanish arrived in 1522. They have preserved many of the traditions that have existed for centuries and each village will normally have its own speciality, whether this be weaving or pottery or wood carving. They are a gentle, softly spoken people who are quick to smile and love the fact that people from outside are appreciative of the handicrafts they have preserved so painstakingly for many generations.
Our courses allow you to participate on the inside with how they live and how they make their living. We work with specific Zapotec families and you will be their honoured guests – hopefully their friends in the end – whilst you are shown the incredible techniques they use for spinning, dyeing and weaving.
Many of your most treasured memories from our tours will not be something organised. They will be the simple interactions with these truly lovely people and their unique way of life.
All of our courses are very much hands on. We work with Zapotec families in a village dedicated to weaving. To dye the wools, we all go out to the mountains together to collect the flowers, plants and mosses used in natural dyeing. We bring them back and boil them in huge vats to get the colours we need. We take off our shoes and wash the finished wools in the local stream!
You’ll have your own hand loom to create your own weaving during the course. There is a member of the family available at every point to give instruction and advise on how to get the specific design you are looking for. Whether this is the first time you have tried to weave or whether you are already an experienced weaver then you’ll receive appropriate guidance.
The Zapotec people are very proud of their traditions and are delighted that people want to come and learn. This also means that what was in danger of being lost not so many years ago has become a sustainable eco friendly industry allowing these communities to carry on their age old traditions.
Endless wonders await you in the awe inspiring region of Oaxaca, south of Mexico. The Zapotec people began their civilisation there with monumental buildings and pyramids aligned to the solstice sun. The same people still inhabit this region and preserve much of the richness of their unique life style. The city of Oaxaca in its own right is truly beyond description, full of colour and life and buzzing with its own resplendent culture. The grandiose architecture of the newly arrived Spanish conquistadors fill every street, whilst little alleyways house galleries, bistros and shops selling every type of local delight.
And don’t miss the surrounding villages, each one dedicated to its own specific handicraft passed down through endless generations – many even going back to the time of the Zapotec civilisation which existed 500 BC – 250 AD.