Oaxaca with Stephen Jones

January 9 - 14, 2023 | Reserve Your Spot

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Oaxaca Masterclass

The ultimate exploration of Oaxaca's culture, cuisine—and mezcal!

January 9 - 14, 2023

One exclusive departure with Chef Stephen Jones—reserve your spot today

6 Days, 5 Nights

Dive deep into cuisine and mezcal, meet the people who know who to make it best

Price from

$4,200

Per person based on double occupancy

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

A vibrant, slightly floral and earthy flavor hits your lips, then travels down your tongue. The agave for this mezcal—one or more of Oaxaca’s 24 varieties—was chosen specifically by a seasoned palenquero, and subsequently steamed in an underground charcoal pit, crushed, fermented, and finally 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 producers, families who’ve been here for generations. You think of the dichotomy of age-old rudimentary techniques and modern machinery, the art, the culture and the food you’ve experienced so far. Right here in your cup is more than mezcal’s journey—it’s Oaxaca itself.

With you on this incredible journey is Chef Stephen Jones, this year’s James Beard “Outstanding Chef Southwest” and owner of Phoenix’s The Larder + The Delta. Stephen is as much an acclaimed chef as he is a preservationist, someone who honors the roots of indigenous communities through their traditional dishes. His insatiable appetite for culinary history extends deep into Oaxaca. It’s a beautiful stage for him—to showcase how deeply connected our ideas of Mexican food and drink are to this region, and to savor the culture and craft that make Oaxaca such a special place.

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, and drink mezcal from the source. This is Mexico like you’ve never imagined.

Oaxaca Highlights

The. Best. Food.

Savor the flavors of this iconic food city: rich mole sauces, spiced chocolate and street tacos, at award-winning kitchens and local street stands.

Immersive Experiences

Explore colorful food markets and ancient pyramids, meet local artists and weavers, shamans and chefs.

Craft Mezcals

Dive deep into mezcal with a fourth-generation mezcalero, meet the people who know who to make it best.

3 Reasons to Travel with Stephen Jones

Sustainability and storytelling are at the heart of everything Stephen Jones creates, both in life and his career. His menu is a perfect marriage of Southern staples with an Arizona twist: think vegetable-forward beignets and locally sourced pork chops. We can’t wait to see what he cooks up in Oaxaca.

A Passion for Mezcal

Blessed with deep connections to the Oaxacan mezcal world, Stephen can't wait to lead the way as we experience the mezcal-making process first hand at a family-run mezcaleria.

Roots All Over

Growing up between California and Chicago, Stephen also spent his formative years getting to know his family (and their recipes) in Alabama. Today, it’s not uncommon to see his own family stop in The Larder + The Delta to say hello as he gets ready to open.

Viva La Mexico

Stephen is a lover of Mexico—Oaxaca in particular. He is ready to visit the colorful markets, taste incredible street food (from moles to tlayudas) then wash it all down with the finest artisanal mezcals.

Your Experience

“For everything bad, there's mezcal—and for everything good, as well.”
Local Wisdom

Oaxaca City, Monte Albán, Teotitlan

“Travel is an opportunity to see the world but it also helps you find yourself and who you are.”
Stephen Jones

Day by Day

Day 1

Bienvenidos a Mexico! We’ll meet up 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 with Oaxacan string cheese and 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).

Our next stop is a tasting celebration of local mezcals, with an expert mezcalero who will introduce us to the origins of artisanal mezcal, the cousin-spirit of tequila and one of Oaxaca’s famed exports. Dinner tonight is an inspired feast at Chef Alejandro Ruiz’s Casa Oaxaca, a World’s 50 Best selection, the perfect way to kick off our adventure together.

Day 1 Highlights

  • City market food tour
  • Mezcal tasting
  • Dinner at Casa Oaxaca
  • Stay at El Callejon in Oaxaca City

Day 2

Today we head into 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 a local Zapotec weaving family, 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 14 generations. A home-cooked Zapotec lunch awaits us, with a chance for us to learn and to prepare local recipes.

Back in Oaxaca we’ll spend the afternoon in a hands-on, immersive mixology class. We’ll craft our own signature mezcal cocktails while learning the nuances of mezcal’s small-scale distilling traditions. After a cocktail, or two, of the artisanal mezcal on hand, we’ll have downtime at our hotel and then reconvene for dinner.

Day 2 Highlights

  • Visit Zapotec weaving village
  • Home-cooked meal with Zapotec family
  • Mezcal mixology & tastings
  • Stay at El Callejon in Oaxaca City

Day 3

After a leisurely breakfast, we travel past row after row of agave plants in the mountain valleys, to meet up in the fields with a master mezcalero in Oaxaca’s traditional family-run palenques. We’ll learn how the piña (heart) of agave are harvested and smoked in underground pits, fermented in large vats, and distilled in copper or clay stills based on traditions that date back hundreds of years.

Oaxaca’s sense of art is vibrant, from ceramics and textiles to the highlight of our next stop: handcrafted and fantastical alebrije animal carvings, hand-painted with vivid color palettes. We’ll have a chance to meet the artisans, and then sit down for a traditional barbecue lunch. Afterwards we return to the city, where the late afternoon and evening are ours to explore Oaxaca’s world-class restaurants, or the taco stands set up along the lit-up zocalo, just a few blocks from our hotel.

Day 3 Highlights

  • Agave palenques with master mezcalero
  • Alebrije studio visit
  • Traditional barbecue lunch
  • Stay at El Callejon in Oaxaca City

Day 4

We begin this epic day at the hilltop ruin of Monte Albán, a vast complex of pyramids, a palace, shrines dating from 500 BC—and 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, we’ll stop in the home studio of one of Mexico’s most celebrated folk artists and ceramicists. While her family lovingly prepares lunch for us, we’ll have the opportunity to spend time with the artist as she shares her story and her art-filled private studio us. Then, the artist and her family will sit with us for a home-cooked meal—these are the authentic flavors of Oaxaca, and there’s nothing comparable. We end our day back in Oaxaca, with cocktails at a design-forward mezcal bar followed by a dinner that celebrates the ingredients and local dishes you can only find here, in Oaxaca, Mexico’s culinary heart and soul.

Day 4 Highlights

  • Monte Albán temple complex
  • Artist meet-up, studio visit & lunch
  • Mezcal cocktails & dinner
  • Stay at El Callejon in Oaxaca City

Day 5

The morning is ours to rest and relax, and wander the streets and shops and Oaxaca at our leisure. In the afternoon we get the true Oaxacan farm-to-table experience at an urban farm on the edge of the city that supplies the top local restaurants with produce. We’ll break into small groups and cook alongside one of Mexico’s most celebrated chefs, making mole, tamales, Oaxacan cheese, and getting a deep and personal hands-on look into the local flavor profiles.

For dinner, we savor the al fresco feast and enjoy all the local delicacies we had a hand in preparing. We’ll toast with a full mezcal lineup from the family-run palenques we’ve visited, celebrating the traditions, heritage and true flavors of Oaxaca.

Day 5 Highlights

  • Hands-on cooking 
  • Farm-to-table dinner
  • Stay at El Callejon in Oaxaca City

Day 6

All great things come to an end, alas. After breakfast we’ll bid farewell to Oaxaca, and pack our things—hopefully including some of our favorite mezcal from our journey—for a short drive to Oaxaca’s airport for wherever your journey next takes you. Buen viaje!

Day 6 Highlights

  • Transfer to airport

Where We Sleep

Our accommodations are small-scale and boutique, the ideal ways to get acquainted with Oaxaca life.

El Callejon

Oaxaca City

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.

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 Stephen Jones

Number of Travelers

Payment

Reserve your spot today with a $1,000 per-person deposit plus room supplements (if relevant). Full payment is due 180 days prior to your trip departure date. We’ll email you a reminder. If your trip departs in less than 180 days, we’ll collect full payment either 30 days from when we receive your deposit, or 60 days prior to your trip departure date, whichever is sooner. For details read our Deposit FAQs

$4,200

Per person based on double occupancy

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?

    Five nights at boutique four-star accommodations; private travel for all day trips and excursions; private tours with local guides and cultural experts; exclusive access and mezcal 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 this trip start and end?

    Our adventure begins and ends at the El Callejón hotel in Oaxaca, Mexico. The closest airport is the Oaxaca International Airport (OAX). On our final day, Modern Adventure will organize a transfer to OAX airport; your flight home should be scheduled to depart at 11am or later from here. For travelers who want to arrive a day early, you can reach out after booking and we can organize your stay at the same hotel we are staying at in Oaxaca. 

  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 $1,500 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 18 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 September 11, 2022 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel on or after September 12, 2022, there is a 50% cancellation fee; on or after November 10, 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.

MO/AD News

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For the second year running, Modern Adventure is recognized as one of the top travel operators in the world by ​Condé Nast Traveller’s​ annual Readers’ Choice Awards, the most prestigious in the travel industry.

Modern Adventure makes the Fast Company list of Brands that Matter in 2022. Next-level creativity and sustainable business practices build a brand with impact.

“I’d had Oaxacan food before, but few restaurants served meals like this—'celebration food' worth the effort only for births and weddings. And, apparently, for Modern Adventure.”

“Modern Adventure is curating a slew of foodie getaways, each spearheaded by the world’s most prolific culinary influencers. Who wouldn’t want to venture to faraway lands... eating really, really good food?”