Visit the naturally beautiful and textile rich Mexico focusing on a boutique small group tour to Chiapas, home to a rich natural beauty, colonial towns, splendid and remote Maya archaeological sites and one of the most textile-rich areas of the world.
DEPARTURE DATE: Monday, 4th of February 2019
Genuinely Small Groups
Our group departures have a maximum of 10 guests, which allows you to connect with people and places on an intimate level. A smaller group also means more opportunities to bond with your fellow travellers and create lasting friendships.
Brigitte Ordoquy has lived in Chiapas for many years and is recognised as an expert and passionate supporter of the local artisan communities. Her local knowledge allows us to offer exclusive opportunities to visit a wide range of local village artisans in their homes and weaving co-operatives. She’ll take us on a journey to visit some of the wonders of the Maya archaeological sites and the glorious mountains, rain forests and waterways of this spectacular region of Mexico.
Arriving in Mexico City for the start of our exciting boutique small group tour to Chiapas, Mexico you will be met at the airport for transfer to your hotel.
Meet your fellow travellers over drinks and dinner in the roof-top restaurant in our hotel which overlooks the Zocalo, the famous main square of Mexico City.
This morning, our local guide will take us on a walking tour of the Historic Zocalo and surrounding area. We’ll stop for lunch before enjoying an afternoon and evening at leisure to further explore the local area.
After breakfast we’ll head to the National Anthropological Museum for a guided tour. This world-class museum is lauded not only for its exhibits but also its architecture. The 12 halls on the ground floor are dedicated to pre-Hispanic Mexico while the upper halls are dedicated to each of the cultural regions of Mesoamerica. After lunch you’ll have additional time to explore the museum or perhaps visit one of the other galleries located close by.
Today we’re heading out for a full day excursion to Teotihuacan to visit the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids of the Sun & Moon. Spend the evening at leisure.
Checking out after breakfast we’ll head to the airport for our late morning flight to Tuxtla. On arrival we’ll transfer to our hotel in San Cristobal de Las Casas. Following an orientation walking tour including the Textile Museum de Los Altos it will be time to enjoy pre-dinner drinks. Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant featuring Chiapaneca cuisine and with great views over the main square.
Today’s excursion takes us to the Lakes of Montebello and Comitan to meet the local rebozo makers. The national park boasts 59 multi-coloured lakes and encompasses the ancient Maya ruins of Chinkultic. A spectacular location with dramatic views across the area’s landscape and jungle. We’ll stop for lunch at the Parador-Museo Santa Maria, a 19th century hacienda now operating as an exclusive hotel.
Today is market day at Zincantan. We’ll learn how to make tortillas and enjoy a weaving demonstration of a feather and cotton wedding dress specific to this area. We’ll visit a weaver and artisan and curandera (faith healer/Shaman) in San Juan Chamula who works with wool on wool weaving using natural dyes. We’ll learn about their unique belief system and rituals which are a combination of Catholic and Maya.
Our destination today is San Andres Larrainzar, a town known for Larrainzar accords between the government and the Zapatistas after the uprising of 1994. It’s also famous for its beautiful cotton on cotton brocades. Each huipil is unique and filled with designs representing Maya mythology. We’ll see several types of huipils, the every-day and the ceremonial. Women are buried with their ceremonial huipils so many top huipils are buried with their makers. On to Aldama Santa Magdalena via a spectacular road where we’ll visit a coffee plantation.
This morning we’ll learn how to make sopa de pan (bread soup) at Don Juan Campestre and visit the potter village of Amatenango. Some potters use the traditional method in the open air. This technique produces a light brown terra cotta. Others use bottle shaped, square or triangular kilns enclosed by corrugated metal or bricks A recent addition to the village is a smokeless Japanese kiln which is less polluting, uses less wood and is better for the health of the women.
Our journey today will take us on a spectacular mountain drive arriving first in the valley and market town of Chenalho. In this area some villages, such as Polho and Acteal, are autonomous areas not answering to the Mexican Government. Then it’s on to Pantelho, where they make striped huipils with brocade. We’ll visit a co-op home to independent weavers. The best huipils use indigenous cotton, with brown cotton grown locally and known as Coyuche.
It’s market day in Tenejapa. Although it’s off the beaten track and receives very few foreign visitors, Tenejapa is alluring because of its vibrant Thursday market. It’s know for its fine textiles – among the finest in southern Mexico. We’ll visit an independent women’s co-operative run by Maria Metza where the local artisans will demonstrate rug and pompom making. We’ll join one of the local artisans for a home-cooked lunch.
This morning we’ll have some free time to explore Chiapa de Corzo, a small and attractive colonial town set on the banks of the River Grijalva. From here it’s possible to take a boat to explore the natural wonder of the Sumidero Canyon. This afternoon we’ll transfer to Tuxtla airport for our short flight to Palenque.
After a leisurely breakfast we’ll visit the ruins of Palenque before an afternoon visit to Agua Azul, spectacular waterfalls set in a pristine rain forest.
After breakfast we’ll check out of our hotel and visit Bonampak before arriving at our hotel for an overnight stay. Bonampak houses one of the most famous painted murals in the entire Maya world. Bonampak literally means ‘painted wall’. Vivid colours and masterful designs tell the story of the last ruling family of Bonampak.
Our hotel is conveniently located near to the wharf where we’ll board our boat for a 45 minutes trip up the jungle river that divides Mexico and Guatemala. Deep in the Lacandon jungle we’ll visit the stunning ancient Maya city of Yaxchilan on the banks of the Usumacinta River and spot some howling monkeys en-route. Archaeologically, Yaxchilan is famed for its ornamented facades, roof combs and impressive stone lintels carved with conquest and ceremonial scenes. Early evening we’ll arrive at our hotel in Villahermosa.
After our long day yesterday, today we’ll have time to relax or explore the local town before our farewell group dinner.
Morning departure for Villahermosa airport to connect with onward trip or return flights to Australia.