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Chiapas - Mexico

October 21-November 6, 2022

Completed - This way for photos and tour report 

Explore a tucked away treasure in Mexico's southern highlands 

Where mountains split the land to isolate centuries-old communities, exquisite Mayan arts, crafts, and textiles follow a rich tradition integral to everyday life.

From the colonial/post colonial mélange of Mexico City, travel to the stunning natural beauty of Chiapas. Linger in artisanal villages for workshops and demos of the famous ceramic and textile heritage of San Cristobál. Explore the archaeological riches of Palenque, Teotihuacan and Xochimilco. 

Add Dias des las Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival for an unforgettable journey that reminds us to always keep tradition close at hand.

Led by Mexico scholar and curator, Chloë Sayer. 

 ** Leisurely 17 days deep-dive**

Small group . . . write us today!          

From past tours 

I’m still re-living and remembering our marvellous tour in Mexico. I needed to let it perk awhile in my brain, to begin to absorb and relish all the wonderful people we met and the arts and crafts we saw. When I look at the treasures I brought home or the photos I took, I get a smile on my face and a good feeling all over – what a trip!!  Carol Koenig, Ontario

In one word, breathtaking. We were lucky to have two fabulous tour leaders. One was Shila herself , organising our daily outings and marvellous accommodation and meals, and in her inimitable fashion encouraging us to share our thoughts and reactions and communicate with each other from day one. Additionally we had the huge benefit of Chloe Sayer, curator and expert in Mexican art and culture, who introduced us to artisan families and their skills. We watched their creative processes in small workshops that we could never have stumbled upon without Chloe’s guidance or her personal friendships with the artists themselves. It was a huge privilege to join this tour and if repeated, must NOT be missed.  Ruth Bundey, U.K. 

Read about Mexico's outstanding arts and crafts

Days of the Dead

In Mexico the first and second of November belong to the dead. According to popular belief, the deceased have divine permission to visit friends and relatives on earth. In Chiapas, the highland Maya receive the souls with elaborate home-altars and hold vigils beside the decorated graves of loved ones. We will sensitively partake in this ages old festival. 

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The Maya of Chiapas are some of the most accomplished weavers in the world. Complex designs, some extremely ancient, are woven on the backstrap loom. Highland communities have preserved their identity through traditional forms of clothing. Wool and cotton are still hand-spun and dyed with indigo and natural colourants. We will visit weaving cooperatives and homes of spinners, weavers and dyers. In Zinacantán, we will see constantly evolving clothing styles where garments are exuberantly embroidered with shimmering threads in an ever-changing range of colours.

Craft Skills 

Traditional ceramic skills are preserved in the village of Amatenango del Valle, where women hand-shape their work before burnishing and painting it with earth colours. Chiapa de Corzo is famous for its lacquered and exquisitely decorated gourds. Elaborate masks and dazzling costumes are made by specialists in Chiapa de Corzo for performers in la Danza de los Parachicos

Maya Archeology

The Maya have been a cultural force for well over 3,000 years. Immense stone cities like Palenque and Toniná were home to vast populations. Site museums include magnificent carved stone panels, fine ceramics and jade carvings.  We will visit these timeless sites accompanied by expert guides. 

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San Cristóbal de las Casas

This beautiful colonial town has bustling craft markets, interesting and quirky museums, spectacular churches, sidewalk cafes and restaurants with local cuisine. The Maya Centre, in the Ex-Convento de Santo Domingo, displays pre-Conquest and Colonial Art. Housed upstairs is one of the finest collections anywhere of Maya textiles, many dating back to the 1970s and beyond. We will base ourselves here for our deep exploration of Chiapas. 

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The Natural World

Rich in flora and fauna, Chiapas has spectacular landscapes: dense rainforest, pine-covered highlands, lakes, labyrinthine caves, waterfalls and crystalline pools. In the spectacular Sumidero Canyon, small boats carry visitors beneath towering canyon walls along the Grijalva River.

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Culinary Beats 

A given on every E.Y.H.O. tour since we are huge foodies. We will introduce you to how locals eat, in a safe and hygienic way. Meals with local families and roadside eateries for a culinary immersion. Worried about getting sick? We have an enviable 12 year record of keeping our travellers healthy!

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Local Markets

The beating pulse of any traditional community is also the best place to imbibe local flavour. We will visit the very special textile market of San Pedro Chenalhó and the Sunday weavers market in San Andrés Larráinzar.his region has one of the most consistent weaving traditions and specializes in weaves that incorporate cultural symbolism

Hands on Workshops and Demos

Learn alongside the best. Pottery workshop, classic Aguacatenango embroidery, optional culinary and handmade paper workshops. Visit with private collection. And more. 

Led by Chloë Sayer

Chloë Sayer is an author and curator, specialising in the art and culture of Latin America. She has made ethnographic collections for the British Museum and has published numerous books. She has worked on television documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4 and is a Research Associate with the Department for World Cultures at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. In 2016, the Mexican Government awarded Chloë the Ohtli medal to thank her for her long-standing commitment to Mexican culture.

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