Oaxaca with Lisa Donovan

September 25 - October 1, 2022

Sold Out

The Flavors of Oaxaca

Experience the region’s best food, art, and culture with Chef Lisa Donovan

September 25–October 1, 2022

One departure only—reserve your spot!

7 Day, 6 Nights

Oaxaca City, Monte Alban, Teotitlan del Valle

Price from

$4,200

Per person
Based on double occupancy

Questions? Text or call us
+1 (855) 219-8018

Breathe it all in. Then take a bite. Oaxaca just may be the birthplace of regional cuisine, a land where each dish relies on a micro-varietal chile, fruit, or herb you simply can’t find anywhere else. The air here is rich with the funk of masa, of roasted ground chiles and fresh salsas (including a few that are spiked with flying ants), of richly smoked meats, and of fresh marjoram and cebollín, a wild onion that only grows here. This is Oaxaca, the land of mole, mezcal, intoxicating flavors and unrivaled cuisine, a place where traditions are handed down through the centuries and secrets are shared, not hoarded. Welcome.

Your traveling companion is Chef Lisa Donovan. One of the South’s most inspiring pastry chefs, Lisa’s showstopping desserts have drawn crowds to Nashville’s City House, Margot Cafe & Bar, and Husk. Lisa draws inspiration — as a chef, bestselling writer, and parent — from her grandmother’s Mexican-Zuni heritage. For her, a self-described obsessive panadería-stalker who always knows when the bolillos are fresh from the oven, this trip is a chance to reconnect with her roots and experience Mexican hospitality and culinary genius at the source. 

If you want a feast for all the senses, this trip is for you. Wander colorful markets and gorge yourself on pineapple tamales and fried grasshoppers. Prepare a farm-to-table feast as you sip and dissect the finer points of smoky local mezcals. Connect with ceramicists, chefs, shamans, and weavers. Immerse yourself in everything Oaxaca has to offer. No matter how much you already know about Mexican culture and food, this journey will teach you, delight you—and leave you hungry for more.

Explore

Oaxaca’s colorful markets, agave farms, artist workshops, and ancient pyramids

Savor

Traditional specialties, from smoky mezcals and fragrant moles to toasted grasshoppers and street tacos

Connect

With traditional ceramicists, weavers, sculptors, and shamans

Experience

Oaxacan cuisine and hospitality at its finest

3 Reasons to Travel with Lisa Donovan

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Day by Day

Day 1

Bienvenidos a Mexico! We’ll start the day off with a tour of one of Latin America’s great colonial wonders: Oaxaca City. We’ll snack our way through the cobblestone streets and central markets, sampling grilled tlayudas (toasted tortillas topped with Oaxacan string cheese and thin-grilled meats), chapulines (roasted grasshoppers), and rich, sugar-coated pan de yema egg bread stacked in woven baskets. In the afternoon we’ll learn more about those baskets and other Oaxacan craft traditions at the city’s textile museum before officially kicking off our adventure with an array of local mezcales as we enjoy a welcome dinner on a terrace overlooking Oaxaca’s flood-lit cathedral domes. Let the fun begin.

Day 1 Highlights

  • Welcome cocktails
  • Walking city tour
  • Welcome dinner
  • Stay at El Callejon in Oaxaca

Day 2

You can’t wander around Oaxaca without breathing in art at every turn, but today we’ll go to the source, visiting artists’ home studios nestled in the nearby Mixtec Mountains. First, we’ll visit with ceramicists Manuel Reyes and Marisela Gómez, who’ll invite us into their home studio and show how they use local clay and natural fibers to craft their signature figurines. We’ll enjoy a home-cooked meal of red mole — one of the seven moles of the region — before heading out to Casa de Arte San Agustin, a cavernous former textile factory turned into an art space and donated to the local rural community by the great Oaxacan artist and philanthropist Francisco Toledo. The evening will be ours to explore more of Oaxaca’s irresistible food and nightlife. We might visit a world-class restaurant to sample a few more of the region’s seven moles, or maybe make a taco crawl along the flood-lit zocalo. Or — why not? — both. 

Day 2 Highlights

  • Visit local ceramicist studio
  • Home-cooked meal in artist home
  • Visit Casa de Artes San Agustín
  • Stay at El Callejon in Oaxaca

Day 3

This morning we’ll head out to Rancho 314 (that’s Tres Catorce to the locals), an urban farm on the edge of the city that supplies fruits, herbs, and vegetables to many of the area’s top restaurants. We’ll break into small groups for a series of culinary workshops, trying our hands at making mole, tamales, Oaxacan cheese, and ice cream. Our lunch will be a true Oaxacan farm-to-table experience for the ages, as we dine al fresco on all the local delicacies we helped prepare. Back in the city, we’ll have free time to rest or wander in the afternoon before meeting up for a tlayuda dinner tour. 

Day 3 Highlights

  • Cooking experience at Rancho 314
  • Farm-to-table lunch
  • Tlajuda dinner tour
  • Stay at El Callejon in Oaxaca

Day 4

We’ll earn our appetites today, starting off the morning with a visit to the majestic hilltop ruins of Monte Albán, a monumental complex of pyramids and shrines dating back to 500 BC. After exploring the monumental scale and the intricate carvings of bas relief sculptures of one of Mesoamerica’s grandest sites, Oaxaca City sprawling below us, we’ll head to the village of San Martin for a feast of succulent barbecued meats prepared the traditional way: cooked in the ground. In the afternoon we’ll visit an exhibit of black pottery in Coyotepec, a pre-Columbian tradition as ancient as Monte Albán itself in which the smoke from the underground kiln embeds itself into the pottery, creating a distinctive black patina. Tonight will be on our own, to enjoy more of the gastronomic abundance of Oaxaca.

Day 4 Highlights

  • Visit Monte Albán
  • Barbecue meat feast in San Martin
  • Pottery exhibition in Coyotepec
  • Stay at El Callejon in Oaxaca

Day 5

We’ll be up bright and early this morning, stopping off at Lambityeco, an archaeological site famed for its elaborate stuccowork that once served as an important stop on the pre-Columbian trade route. Next, we’ll head to Teotitlan del Valle, a Zapotec weaving village with almost as many looms (2,000) as residents (5,000). We’ll meet weavers from a local collective who’ll share with us the traditions they’ve passed down over fourteen generations (spoiler alert: that bright red dye is made from ground-up insects), then enjoy a home lunch with a local Zapotec family.

In the afternoon, we’ll wind our way past rows of agave plants to meet up with a fourth-generation mezcalero in Santa Catarina Minas. We’ll learn more about the timeless techniques that have turned tequila’s smoky cousin into one of the most beloved Oaxacan exports. After a tasting (or two), we’ll return to Oaxaca for dinner on our own.

Day 5 Highlights

  • Lambityeco archaeological site
  • Zapotec weaving village
  • Home-cooked meal with Zapotec family
  • Mezcal tour and tasting
  • Stay at El Callejon in Oaxaca

Day 6

Today starts out with a very special treat: 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, an aromatic tree resin, to bid farewell to negative energies. We’ll have time to ourselves in the afternoon to rest and reflect — and maybe squeeze in a final street-food crawl or a little souvenir shopping — before reconvening for a very special evening at Rancho Portozuelo. After a private tour of this organic ranch, we’ll enjoy an unforgettable banquet courtesy of Lisa, who’ll use farm-sourced ingredients and all our recent culinary adventures as menu inspiration. We’ll raise our final glasses of mezcal to toast each other and our great adventure as the stars twinkle in the Oaxaca night sky above us. 

Day 6 Highlights

  • Meet local shaman
  • Farewell dinner cooked by Lisa
  • Stay at El Callejon in Oaxaca

Day 7

All great things must come to an end, but as we enjoy a final breakfast of foamy hot chocolate, fresh hand-made tortillas, and fried eggs in rich mole sauce, we’ll understand like never before the wisdom of the Mexican proverb Barriga llena, corazón contento. Full stomach, happy heart. Until next time. Buen viaje!

Day 7 Highlights

  • Transfers to airport

Where We Sleep

Our peaceful oasis in the heart of the city is the ideal way to immerse ourselves in Oaxaca.

El Callejon

Oaxaca City

Located just a few blocks off the bustling zocalo, a street gate opens into a breathtaking oasis that’s our Oaxaca City home: a boutique hotel built from traditional adobe whose spacious rooms blend the city’s distinctive aesthetic styles. Serenity reigns in its thoughtful garden spaces, covered walkways, and palm tree–fringed outdoor patio bar.

I loved eating goat just after it was lifted from the pit, sipping on a mezcal.
Diana C.
This is more than just a trip. It’s authentic and joyful, and a powerful reminder of why we travel.
Scott M.
The meals made for us in local homes were just heavenly.
Andrew B.

Book Oaxaca with Lisa Donovan

Number of Travelers

Payment

$4,200

Per person
Based on double occupancy

Sold Out

Can't travel on these dates?
Call us at

+1 (855) 219-8018

Questions?

That’s OK, we have answers. Read our FAQs below. Or text or call us at +1 (855) 219-8018 to speak with a Modern Adventure Trip Specialist.

  1. What does the price include?

    Six nights at unique, 4-star boutique accommodations; private travel for all day trips and excursions; departure airport transfer; 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.

  2. What does the price not include?

    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.

  3. Where does the trip start and end?

    Our adventure begins and ends at the El Callejon Hotel in Oaxaca, Mexico. The closest airport is Oaxaca International Airport (OAX). On our final day, Modern Adventure will organize a complimentary transfer to OAX for all guests who’s flight home departs at 1pm or later from OAX airport.

  4. What travel documents are needed?

    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.

  5. Do I need to pay a solo traveler supplement?

    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.

  6. Who is going on this trip?

    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.

  7. Who is leading this trip?

    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.

  8. What is the cancellation policy?

    You may cancel on or before March 29, 2022, and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel on or after May 29, 2022, there is a 50% cancellation fee. On or after July 27, 2022 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).

  9. Do I need Travel Insurance?

    We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance. Travel insurance allows you to seek reimbursement for your trip costs; if your trip plans change for unforeseeable reasons, or if you need to get medical help, emergency transport, and for theft, loss or damage of items while traveling. For best coverage, always insure the full trip cost within two weeks of your initial trip deposit and note that most ‘Cancel For Any Reason’ policies must be purchased on the date of your initial deposit.

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