The soul and sounds of Mexico

 

I moved to San Miguel de Allende when I was 33, single, and spoke zero Spanish.  Granted the town is filled with Expats, living amongst natives was more interesting and important to me.  This move was the biggest and most rewarding of my life.  I learned to speak Spanish in 10 months without classes.  Moving from New York City, my general stress level dropped within weeks of being there....even with the new stresses of being in a new country on my own trying to navigate pretty much everything.  I was instantly affected by the deep and meaningful cultural traditions and way of life.  I have so much to say about my years living in Mexico....but most importantly, it changed my life in dramatic and beautiful ways.  I met my husband Hector there in 2008, and our daughter Xiluen was born at home in San Miguel in 2011.  Our passion is to take people there to share our experiences, knowledge and connections to this soulful and rich country.  If you come with us, it will change your life too.  Here is a comment from a happy client:

"I first met Hector at his private supper club in Portland, Chuparrosa.  My first impression was how passionate he was about his food. His warmth as a host has always stuck with me.

I travel a lot to Mexico for my photography, and went last year to Oaxaca, where Hector was working with artisans, exploring the region, and cooking for locals and travelers.  Hector was the perfect guide, so generous with his knowledge of the land and culture. Exploring the region with Hector, was like exploring it with a long lost friend.    

If you don't have time to plan a trip, but want a rich and authentic experience in Mexico, I highly recommend Hector's trips..... San Miguel alone is magical, but with Hector's intimate knowledge of his second home, it will no doubt be an unforgettable experience. Oaxaca and Mexico City as well.  Whether you are interested in the food, amazing sites, the glorious outdoors, or if you are an artist wanting fresh and rich inspiration, Hector will take you there. I promise you won't be disappointed."  Calvin Chen

EXPLORA:EXPLORE MEXICO

Do you long to visit Mexico but are unsure of where to go and how to get the most out of your trip? Are you dying to get away and have a life changing experience completely immersed in a foreign culture, without actually living there?  Do you want to experience Mexico behind the scenes, i.e. not out of a tour book? Do you imagine yourself coming back from a one or two week trip with a renewed energy and connection to yourself and the world around you, and knowledge of a foreign cuisine, traditions and culture?

With Hector being Mexican and Elizabeth from the U.S. but having lived in and traveled Mexico for over 10 years, together with their knowledge and passion for the regions, they will create for you a personal, safe, unique, authentic and memorable adventure in Mexico.  Their passion for artisans, locals, food, history, art and the many landscapes of Mexico, will bring you to places you couldn't imagine stumbling upon on your own.  Please contact us to talk about your dream experience in Mexico.  We can help you in planning for your trip, and acting as a private guide on the ground in your destination.  We can plan for one person, or small groups. 

Planning can include:

  • Airport Transportation and Local Transportation
  • Hotel/B&B Arrangements
  • Guided Tours including Day Trips, Markets (including Artisan), Galleries & Museums, Air Balloon Rides, Botanical Gardens, Hot Springs, Restaurants (insider knowledge of the best street food and best restaurants), Mezcal Tastings, Artist Studio Visits, Ruins, Local Attractions, Personal Health and Fitness Classes and Therapies, Traditional Temazcal (Full Moon Sweat),  Horse Back Riding, Workshops including Pottery, Weaving and Natural Pigment Dying, Natural Paper Making, and many more for children and adults.

To be noted:  We are not licensed travel agents.  We have a lot of knowledge and experience in these regions, and have close and trusting relationships with many professionals with whom we have worked for years.  We love connecting people and creating memorable and life changing experiences.  We are happy to share references upon request.

SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, GUANAJUATO, MEXICO

A stunning and quaint cobble stoned colonial town nestled in Mexico's Bajio region was named an Unesco World Heritage Site in 2008.  Well known as a large expat community, there are many reasons for the attraction.  Having lived in San Miguel for 7 years intertwined with the locals and the foreigners, the charm of this town never wears off.  Experience the history and charm through the art, theater, artisan markets, incredible local food and gastronomical experiences.  The botanical garden, hot spring paradises and tucked away museums and galleries are just the beginning.  A place where there is a cause for celebration everyday. We know the ins and outs of this vibrant pueblito and will create an experience for you not achievable by just passing through. 

OAXACA, MEXICO

Also named an Unesco World Heritage Site, Oaxaca is famous for it's ancient sites Mitla and Monte Alban; amazing food and craft markets, indigenous craft villages of pottery, weaving and textiles, mouth watering restaurants, and so much more.  Come to Oaxaca and you will experience this amazing place and all of its nooks and crannies.  Oaxaca is the place to go if you want a trip that is relaxing and rejuvenating, but also filled with adventure and discovery.  Take local cooking classes with traditional Zapotec cooks; traditional pottery and paper making classes; learn how to make natural dyes using pigments made from flowers, insects and fruits, and learn to weave...we will take to you to places impossible to find.  Explore the historic center with so many lovely galleries, museums, restaurants, stores and of course beautiful architecture.  Experience the many celebrations that bring together people in the streets.  The streets are alive in Mexico...filled with colors and sounds and smells, it is truly an all sensory experience.  It is impossible to leave Mexico without feeling changed, on many levels.  See below some of our favorite activities and day trips in Oaxaca.  Contact us to create the perfect trip for you!

SAN AGUSTIN ETLA, OAXACA: CaSa, Papel Oaxaca and Las Guacamayas $175 per person

Explore CaSa (Centro de las Artes San Agustin).  Opened in 1883 as a Cotton Factory, abandoned in the 80's, restored, and reopened by Francisco Toledo in 2006.  Gorgeous grounds and fascinating programs, exhibitions and workshops, there is always something interesting going on at CaSa.

Then we will go visit the inspiring master paper maker Alberto Valenzuela at his incredible studio, Papel Oaxaca, in San Agustin.  An ongoing intention of Alberto is to inspire people and give them the tools to create paper and art using tools and materials around them.  Alberto primarily uses natural fibers abundant in Oaxaca; Ixtle (fiber of the Maguey plant), Platano (fiber of the Banana Tree ), and Cotton.  Alberto will give you a tour of the studio, a brief history of paper making and explanation of the fibers and process.  Papel Oaxaca has lovely hand made goods for sale at the studio as well.  We also offer a wonderful 3 day workshop with Alberto....please see below for more information!

In the afternoon, out into nature in The Guacamayas.  About 25 minutes from San Agustin, The Guacamayas are a nature preserve with lovely hiking trails, waterfall, and river.  A windy road brings you to the top where you can walk along the river.  Gorgeous views and a peaceful break from the city, we will take you to a lovely rustic comedor where they will pull fresh trout from their holding tanks and prepare them for you A La Diabla or Mojo de Ajo (both absolutely delicious) over the open fire. 

 

SAN AGUSTIN ETLA, OAXACA: Paper Making Workshop with Alberto Valenzuela at Papel Oaxaca

3 day workshop

An ongoing intention of Alberto is to inspire people and give them the tools to create paper and art using tools and materials around them.  Alberto primarily uses natural fibers abundant in Oaxaca; Ixtle (fiber of the Maguey plant), Platano (fiber of the Banana Tree ), and Cotton. 

In the 3 days with Alberto, we will take you to forage the fibers you will use to make your paper.  Then back to his ever inspiring studio (that he made by hand with a little help) to begin the process.  You can decide to create a varied collection of paper, a journal, whatever you can think of with paper!  Alberto will guide you, and explain the history of natural paper making.

If you are an artist, and would like to translate your work into a piece created with hand made paper, this is an interesting opportunity for you.  Alberto has worked with many artists, such as Francisco Toledo, to help translate visions and existing works of art into prints on hand made paper, books, journals, boxes, anything you can imagine.  Bring any work with you that you may want to use to create pieces with Alberto.

At the end of each day, we will cook a lovely, fresh. healthy and delicious dinner for you and/or the group.

 

EXPLORATION TRIPS:  Monte Alban, Mitla, Markets in Oaxaca, Cooking Classes, Teotitlan de Valle (incredible weaving village near Mitla), Las Guacamayas, Hierve del Agua (natural swim holes with stunning views), river swim, and more.

Please Contact Us to create some amazing outings in Oaxaca and around.