Celebrate the art, culture and cuisine of Oaxaca. Meet the people that make this place magic. Relax and recharge in our tranquil Oaxaca City retreat.
Experience the region’s best food, Oaxaca City and its countryside villages
5 Days, 4 Nights
Oaxaca City, Teotitlan del Valle
“This is the best thing I’ve ever tasted.” It’s a phrase you’ve said more than once today, let alone this week. You’re eating your way through a bustling market, sampling everything you can get your hands on. Seared meats a la plancha send smoke into the air, baskets brim with fresh produce, mole powders, flowers, and coffee beans. You crunch into sweet and aromatic nixtamalized corn elote like you can’t get anywhere else. How can such deceptively simple ingredients yield such intoxicating flavors? You’re in Oaxaca – packed with culture, traditions, and more flavors than you can imagine.
If you travel to stimulate all of your senses, our Oaxaca EPIC is an experience you’ll be talking about for years to come. Wander colorful markets and prepare a farm-to-table feast, taste incredible street food from moles to tlayudas, then wash it all down with the finest hand-crafted mezcals. All the while, connect with local chefs and artists, traditional mezcaleros and sculptors, and experience Oaxaca like a true insider. This is YPO Oregon’s Oaxaca.
From humble street stalls to award-winning kitchens, savor the freshest mole sauces, the smokiest mezcals
Reset your emotional spirit, and connect with YPO Oregon Chapter members and like-minded cultural explorers
We'll meet traditional mezcaleros and sculptors, dine at local artists' homes, and experience Oaxaca like a true insider
“Oaxaca is a gift. Just the light and colors. And obviously—the food.” -Anthony Bourdain
“For everything bad, there's mezcal. And for everything good, as well.” -Local Wisdom
Our Oaxaca EPIC is designed to broaden horizons, expand exploration and, perhaps most important, create opportunities for YPO Oregon Chapter members to connect with one another and to create lifelong memories and friendships.
Note: We will experience all of the following on our EPIC in Oaxaca. But not necessarily in this order. We’ll organize the itinerary into separate ‘tracks’ so that we have the opportunity to explore Oaxaca in more intimate groups each day.
Bienvenidos a Oaxaca, where we’ll meet local chefs and craftspeople, eat at award-winning kitchens and explore the cobblestone streets of its gracious historic center. We’ll dive right in at Oaxaca’s central markets, a feast of the senses where tasajo (dried meats) hang, open fires grill delicious tlayudas (toasted tortillas topped with grilled meats), and vendors scurry past offering chapulines (roasted grasshoppers) and pastry-like pan de yema stacked in woven baskets. Delicious (even those grasshoppers, we promise).
Other culinary highlights include a delicious dinner together at Chef Alejandro Ruiz’s Casa Oaxaca, a World’s 50 Best selection; and our farm-to-table experience at Rancho 314 (‘Tres Catorce’ to the locals), an urban farm on the edge of the city that supplies the top local restaurants. We’ll break into small groups and take turns making mole and tamales, and get a hands-on look into the local flavor profiles. For diner this night, we savor the al fresco feast and enjoy all the local delicacies we had a hand in preparing.
Oaxaca’s sense of art is vibrant, ageless—and everywhere. We go to its source at artist home-studios in nearby mountain villages. First we’ll drive into the Mixtec mountains and meet local, internationally renown ceramicists who’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 with local mezcal—these are the authentic flavors of Oaxaca, and there’s nothing comparable.
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 steamed buried deep in an in-ground charcoal pit, ground up, fermented, and distilled multiple times in traditional clay pots. The process took weeks, but has been perfected through generations.
We’ll venture outside the city, traveling by row after row of agave plants in the mountain valleys, to meet up with a traditional mezcalero. We’ll learn how passed-down, timeless techniques turn agave hearts into mezcal, the smoky cousin-spirit of tequila and one of Oaxaca’s famed exports.
On our last night together, we’ll meet up for a celebration to remember: an EPIC farewell dinner to celebrate under the stars. Our dinner is private, our access is deep, and the food and live music unforgettable, capturing the traditions, heritage and true flavors of Oaxaca. This will be a night to remember!
A peaceful oasis in Oaxaca City in the heart of the historic center—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. Quinta Real is a boutique hotel with spacious rooms, garden spaces, a swimming pool, and an outdoor patio bar set in an expertly restored 16th-century convent that doubles as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in honor of the four centuries of history preserved in the building’s design.
That’s OK, we have answers. Read our FAQs below or reach out to your Chapter Officers if you have any questions about EPIC.
The Chapter is paying for the bulk of your EPIC experience, including one-of-a-kind private tours with local guides and cultural experts, our learning program, meals, and VIP access to some unique experiences. As always, YPO Oregon members pay for their flights to/from EPIC as well as their hotel accommodations. We will be staying at a unique, historic, 4-star boutique hotel in the historic center of Oaxaca City. The room rate includes a private room, breakfast and some other surprises we have in store. Everything else will be covered by the Chapter. Note that hotel incidentals including room service, laundry service and hotel bar tabs are not included, and are at your own discretion.
You are responsible for getting yourself to our hotel by the evening of April 27, 2022. And you can depart anytime on May 1, 2022 (or later, if you elect to participate in the optional EPIC extension). We recommend booking the flight below, as it has the best connections.
There are two options we recommend for departing Portland on April 27, 2022. United avoids redeye connections and is the more expensive option. United: UA #1552 departs PDX at 7:20am and arrives Houston IAH at 1:20pm local time; connecting to UA #4377 departing IAH at 4:41pm and arriving Oaxaca OAX at 7:15pm local time. American: AA #2319 departs PDX at 12:04am and arrives Dallas DFW at 5:39am local time; connecting to AA #1699 departing DFW at 10:30am and arriving Oaxaca OAX at 1:23pm local time.
Once you have booked your flights, please email Janet with a copy of your itinerary so we can coordinate ground transportation for those arriving in Oaxaca on either United or American flights. Individuals arriving on other flights will be responsible for arranging their own transportation to/from the airport in Oaxaca.
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).
Each YPO Chapter member will have a private room with a queen bed.
Oaxaca city and the surrounding area is extremely safe and the U.S. State Department does not have any restrictions or advisories recommending against travel to Oaxaca City.
COVID-19 testing requirements for entry to Mexico and reentry to the United States are in flux, and likely to change prior to EPIC. We will keep you updated on any restrictions as the departure date approaches.
As the departure date approaches, we will distribute a recommended packing list and other items you may want to bring with you.
EPIC is a mandatory event for Chapter members. If you have a conflict arise and need to cancel, please reach out to your chapter officers or Janet. Please note that your hotel booking is non-refundable, and governed by the Terms and Conditions of our travel partner, Modern Adventure.