Celebrate the timeless color and culture of Oaxaca. Savor the freshest mole sauces, the smokiest mezcals.
The ultimate exploration of culture, cuisine—and mezcal!
Space is limited—reserve your spot today
Oaxaca City, Teotitlan del Valle, San Sebastián Teitipac
A smoky, charred, slightly floral and earthy flavor hits your lips, then coats your throat. To get to your cup, even as you sit feet away from rows of agave plants, this mezcal took a journey. Its plants—one or more of Oaxaca’s 24 varieties—were chosen specifically by a seasoned palenquero, then got steamed with an in-ground charcoal pit, ground up, fermented, distilled multiple times in traditional clay pots. The process took weeks, but has been perfected through generations. You sip and appreciate the complexity along with some of the region’s most famous small-scale produces, families who’ve been here for generations. You think of the striking dichotomy of age-old rudimentary techniques and modern machinery, the art, culture and food you’ve experienced so far. Right here in your cup is more than mezcal’s journey—it’s Oaxaca itself.
Want to explore the heart and soul of Mexico—and sip the tastiest mezcals along the way? This trip is for you. Get ready to meet artisans whose generations-old techniques define Oaxaca’s vibrant feel. We’ll prep our own farm-to-table lunch and eat the best street foods. We’ll drink mezcal right from the source. This is Mexico like you’ve never imagined.
Savor the flavors of this iconic food city: rich mole sauces, spiced chocolate, street tacos—even toasted grasshoppers!
Explore colorful food markets and ancient pyramids, meet local artists and weavers, shamans and chefs.
Dive deep into mezcal with a fourth-generation mezcalero, meet the people who know who to make it best.
Oaxaca is a gift. Just the light and colors. And obviously the food.
“For everything bad, there's mezcal—and for everything good, as well.” – Local Wisdom
Our expertly curated experiences give you the opportunity to connect with the world’s premier distilleries and learn from the best. Let’s change our perspective and create lasting connections in new places. We’ll travel to the source. Then cheers to it.
Oaxaca packs in so much of the complex, fascinating culture of Mexico. We’ll experience it all—at mezcalerias, artist studios, ancient ruins, local markets, street-food stands, hacienda hotels.
Bienvenidos a Mexico! We’ll meet up with the group and get oriented with one of Latin America’s great colonial wonders: Oaxaca City. We’ll walk through the cobblestone streets and snack through its central markets, a feast of the senses where tasajo (dried meats) hang, open fires grill delicious tlayudas (toasted tortillas topped, pizza-style, with Oaxacan string cheese and thin-grilled meats), and vendors scurry past offering chapulines (roasted grasshoppers) and pastry-like pan de yema stacked in woven baskets. Yummy (even those grasshoppers, we promise).
In the evening, we’ll toast the start of our adventure with local mezcal—of course—then have terrace seats overlooking Oaxaca’s flood-lit cathedral domes for an inspired, open-air dinner together.
Oaxaca’s sense of art is vibrant, ageless—and everywhere. Today we go to its source, artist home-studios in nearby mountain villages. First we’ll drive into the Mixtec Mountains and meet local ceramicists Manuel Reyes and Marisela Gómez. They’ll invite us into their home studio and show how they use local clay and natural fibers to craft their signature figurines. Then the artist couple will sit with us for a home-cooked meal of red mole and mezcal. Next we visit Casa de Arte San Agustin. This cavernous former textile factory was converted into an art space and donated to the rural community by the great Oaxacan artists and philanthropist Francisco Toledo.
Afterwards we return to the city, where the evening is ours to explore Oaxaca’s irresistible food and nightlife: world-class restaurants open for dinner and taco stands set up along the lit-up zocalo, just a few blocks from our hotel.
Today we get the true Oaxacan farm-to-table experience. Our morning is at Rancho 314 (Tres Catorce to the locals), an urban farm on the edge of the city that supplies the top local restaurants with produce. We’ll break into small groups and take turns making mole, tamales, Oaxacan cheese, and get a hands-on look into the local flavor profiles. We’ll be led in the art of tamale making before we lunch together al fresco. Savor the feast and enjoy all the local delicacies we had a hand in preparing.
Back in the city, we’ll cap off our hard work with a flight of mezcal at a local favorite spot. Cuish Mezcaleria is tucked away in Oaxaca Center, an open, airy space with tinges of modernity while honoring mezcal traditions. Sample their different kinds, bottled from a collection of Oaxacan mezcaleros, kick back and soak in the vibes. We’ll have free time for the rest of the evening to enjoy more of the flavors and the vibrant culture in the city.
Who’s ready for pyramids and mezcal? First, we begin this epic day with a morning to build a hefty thirst. The hilltop ruin of Monte Albán dates from 500 BC, a vast complex of pyramids, a palace, shrines—easily one of Mesoamerica’s grandest sites. We explore its monumental scale and the intricate carvings of bas relief sculptures, with one of Mexico’s great colonial cities sprawling below us.
Next, on the way to the village of Santa Catarina Minas, we’ll stop for lunch in San Martin. Feast on succulent barbecued meat the traditional way—cooked in the ground and generously in our honor as guests. Full from lunch, we take a quick drive by rows of agave plants in the mountain valleys, to meet up with a fourth-generation mezcalero in Santa Catarina Minas. Agave is everywhere here, and there’s no better place to see it than at this incredible palenque (mezcal production site). We’ll learn how these passed-down, timeless techniques turn agave hearts into the smoky cousin-spirit of tequila—and a famed Oaxacan export. After a tasting, or two, of the artisanal mezcal on hand, we’ll return to Oaxaca, where the night is yours to track down an unforgettable meal, craft beer bars or more mezcal. Por qué no?
Today we pack for our country retreat in the mountains, where villages devoted to arts and crafts lurk in valley shadows. We’ll stop at the Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle, a weaving village with about 5,000 people (and 2,000 looms). We’ll meet weavers of a local collective, who’ll demonstrate their intricate craft using natural fibers for dyes (and even a grounded insect for the bright reds), just as they have for the past fourteen generations. Then we’ll drop by a home to learn to make some local recipes and have lunch with a Zapotec family (try to say xtiuzu’u instead of gracias).
In the afternoon, we head to our home for the next two nights. Our own 300-year-old hacienda feels like a private retreat in the mountains. Kick back by the pool or indulge in the on-site spa before the night’s main event. A big meal with live music and more drinks await, as Ray is preparing an unforgettable banquet meal with ingredients sourced from local organic farms and producers.
Today is ours to enjoy. The hacienda can arrange hiking, bike riding or horseback riding across the neighboring mountain vistas, book a message or take part in a guided sweat lodge temazcal experience. These lodges have been used for purification for millennia, so we think they’ll do the trick for the morning.
We meet up in the afternoon for an up-close-and-personal meeting with a local shaman, who’ll share the secrets of a cleansing ritual that’s been in practice here for thousands of years, using smoked copal to bid farewell to negative energies. We’ll leave feeling electric and magical, and toast the results at our huge final dinner as the stars twinkle in the clear Oaxaca night sky.
All great things come to an end, alas. We’ll have a big farewell breakfast at the hacienda: hot chocolate (not too sweet, not too rich), hand-patted just-made tortillas, huevos rancheros blanketed in a richly flavorful mole. Then we’ll bid farewell to Oaxaca, and pack our things—hopefully including some of our favorite mezcal from our journey—for a short drive back to Oaxaca City for wherever your journey next takes you. Buen viaje!
A peaceful oasis in Oaxaca City, a historic hacienda gone chic in a private valley of mountains—our accommodations are small-scale and boutique, the ideal ways to get acquainted with Oaxaca life.
Off a central side street, a few blocks from the zocalo and central shops and eateries, a street gate opens into a breathtaking oasis that’s our Oaxaca City home: a boutique hotel with a dozen spacious rooms blending the city’s distinctive styles. Serenity reigns in its thoughtful garden spaces, with palm trees, covered walkways and an outdoor patio bar.
A 300-year-old hacienda tucked away in the mountains, just 45 minutes’ drive south of Oaxaca City. Mountains press on the cacti-filled premises, where arched walkways look in toward an open, interior courtyard and bell tower. Each of the 16 rooms has been lovingly restored in a mix of traditional and contemporary designs. There are two pools (one inside, one out) and an on-site spa, plus hiking, horseback riding and biking options. The hacienda is relaxing and private, the ideal place to soak in the golden dusk with a cocktail.
That’s OK, we have answers. Read our FAQs below or call +1 (503) 461-5194 to ask us any questions you have. We're here 8am-5pm weekdays, Pacific time.
Six nights at unique four- and five-star accommodations; private travel for all day trips and excursions; private tours with local guides and cultural experts; exclusive VIP access and tastings; guided activities, adventures and expeditions; entrance fees; daily breakfasts, most lunches and dinners; local beverages with meals.
International roundtrip airfare; travel insurance; transportation to the trip’s starting point; activities not included in the trip itinerary; hotel incidentals including room service, laundry service and hotel bar tabs; food and beverages not included in itinerary; gratuity for tour leader.
Our adventure begins at the El Callejon Hotel in Oaxaca, Mexico. The closest airport is the Oaxaca International Airport (OAX). Our trip ends in the small village of Teitipac, about 60 minutes from Oaxaca's OAX airport. On our final day, Modern Adventure will organize a transfer from Teitipac to OAX airport; your flight home should be scheduled to depart at 1pm or later from here.
US citizens are not required to have a visa for tourist visits to Mexico, but are required to show a valid US passport. It is recommended that your passport is valid for six months after your travels are over. On arrival in the airport, you will be issued a visitor’s permit, known as a FMM (Forma Migratoria Multiple). For citizens of other countries, please check with the Mexico Embassy or Consulate for information and requirements.
For solo travelers, there is a $2,000 single-supplement fee—paid at the time of booking to secure a private room. If you would like us to pair you with a roommate, that option may be available upon checkout—these spots are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Our adventures typically have between 10 and 20 guests, and our Modern Adventure Team. Our experiences are fun and inclusive and you can expect to be joined by a diverse group in terms of age, background and interests—including solo travelers, couples and friends traveling together. This adventure is for travelers age 18 and above.
This trip is led by an expert Modern Adventure trip leader. They're an experienced travel guide, a representative of Modern Adventure and your go-to person for questions or concerns on the trip. We’ll be joined throughout our adventure by local, expert guides who are deeply knowledgeable with respect to local cultures, customs and history and are passionate about sharing that with us.
You may cancel on or before July 10, 2021 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel on or after July 11, 2021, there is a 50% cancellation fee; on or after September 8, 2021 there is a 100% cancellation fee. We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance as we are not able to make exceptions to this policy in cases of family/medical emergency or cases of the trip being canceled (see our Terms and Conditions for full details).