Mexico Today Kick-Off Event in Oaxaca

1 Jul

Just when I start to think Quintana Roo is the most beautiful state in Mexico, I visit another area that gives the Riviera Maya a run for its money.

Last Thursday, I flew down to the state of Oaxaca to participate in the kick-off event for the incredible Marca Pais Mexico Today program. There, I met up with 23 other bloggers along with the incredible team of organizers to find out what the program was all about, all while surrounded by some of the most stunning mountain landscapes I’ve ever seen.

The city of Oaxaca as seen from the plane

The entire group stayed at the Camino Real Oaxaca hotel, set in the heart of the historic downtown area. As a hotel management major, you can imagine how giddy I was to stay in such a unique and luxurious hotel! It was built in the 16th century as a convent, and it’s filled with courtyards, columns, stone archways and lush gardens.

My room, with beautiful tall ceilings

Not gonna lie, this was my favorite part of the room! Love the sink

Mexican hospitality at its best

On our first night, several reputable local artisans showed up during our cocktail hour in the hotel’s Lavadero garden to show us how they make their craft.

Making pottery of “barro negro” (black clay) on a traditional wheel

Susie from The Mexico Report even got a weaving lesson from one of the local artisans:

El Lavadero garden was a gorgeous setting for the cocktail party!

The following day, several of us went to the Zapotec ruins of Monte Alban, just half an hour outside Oaxaca City. This visit merits a more detailed future post, so for the moment I’ll just leave you with this teaser:

We flew right by Monte Alban on my flight into the city. What a surprise!

Friday night, we had a mezcal tasting, followed by dinner and a traditional Guelaguetza show in the hotel’s impressive chapel.

Saturday, the whole team went to the town of San Martin Tilcajete, famous for producing detailed alebrijes. We explored the home and workshop of Jacobo Angeles, an internationally-renowned alebrije master, where we were also greeted with traditional dances, music and a delicious lunch.

A wall full of vibrant alebrije lizards

The entire four-day trip was packed with activities, and I returned to Cancun with a better sense of the fascinating state of Oaxaca, Mexico. I’ll finish this post up with some of my favorite photos of the Camino Real Oaxaca hotel and the amazing colonial city of Oaxaca:

Marca Pais – Imagen de Mexico, is a joint public and private sector initiative designed to help promote Mexico as a global business partner and an unrivaled tourist destination. This program is designed to shine a light on the Mexico that its people experience every day.

Disclosure:  I am being compensated for my work in creating and managing content as a Community Manager for the Mexico Today Program.  I was also invited on an all-expenses paid trip to Oaxaca as part of my role.  All stories, opinions and passion for all things Mexico shared here are completely my own.

21 Responses to “Mexico Today Kick-Off Event in Oaxaca”

  1. Kate July 1, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    I was supposed to go to Oaxaca when I was in MX in 2006, but teacher protests started & then it turned into riots & got really violent! So they wouldn’t let us go, but I wanted to so badly! My Latin American studies advisor did all her field research in Oaxaca & I heard her talk about it for years! I hope I make it someday!

    And your pictures make it look as beautiful as I always thought it would look!

    • gringation July 1, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

      Yes, that was a rough time for Oaxaca, but it looks like it’s back to normal! You should definitely try to make it someday… I’ve never seen any place like it.

  2. Jackie July 1, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    I have been reading Nancy’s,Kelly’s and your blog for a couple of years. I look forward to many more great blog posts regarding this project.

    • gringation July 1, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

      Thanks, Jackie! and I look forward to hearing your input 🙂

  3. Lib July 1, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

    OMG just beautiful. My ex is from Oaxaca and he always talks about how beautiful it is.

    • gringation July 2, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

      You should believe him, too 🙂 it’s amazing.

  4. KfromMichigan July 2, 2011 at 1:23 am #

    Sounds like a great time. Oaxaca is beautiful and the hotel looks so grand. I’d love to make it there someday.

    • gringation July 2, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

      It was my first visit to Oaxaca, and I couldn’t believe I’d never been before! Truly beautiful, and a far cry from the flat terrain of Quintana Roo!

  5. Catie July 2, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    Looks beautiful Laura! My question is, as someone who took years of spanish but still cannot speak it, is it feasible to travel to Mexico if one cannot speak the language?

    • gringation July 2, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

      Hey Catie! It’s not a problem if you don’t speak Spanish. In most tourist destinations and larger cities, the people in the service industry and many of the locals speak some level of English. (I know people who live in Cancun and still haven’t learned the language because there’s no need.)

      In lesser-known areas, they don’t speak much English, but they won’t mind if you can’t speak Spanish 🙂 Mexicans are remarkably tolerant of bad Spanish, and will always try to help you. You’d be perfectly fine with a few key phrases and a traveler’s dictionary.

      On our trip to Oaxaca, most of our group spoke limited Spanish (if any) and we had no problems.

  6. Krysten July 3, 2011 at 1:24 am #

    Oh my gosh Laura, looks lovely!

  7. Kristi July 3, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Oaxaca is a beautiful city, I visited there almost twenty years ago. The Camino Real looks like an amazing place to stay!

    • gringation July 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

      I’m sure it looks much the same as it did 20 years ago! The historic center seems to be frozen in time. and yes, the Camino Real was incredible 🙂

  8. Harri July 4, 2011 at 8:35 am #

    This looks gorgeous and seems like you had a great time. What a fantastic project to be part of 🙂 xx

    • gringation July 4, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

      Thanks! We did have a great time. Hopefully I’ll get to go back someday with Jorge

  9. Nikk {Perpetually Engaged} July 5, 2011 at 12:48 am #

    Beautiful! I’m so glad you enjoyed yourself and got to meet so many wonderful people. What an experience.

    Did Jorge take good care of the pups?

  10. ashlie July 6, 2011 at 12:33 am #

    What an incredible experience you were fortunate to have in Oaxaca. I look forward to reading more about it soon. Great photos too!

  11. Megan July 6, 2011 at 4:37 am #

    Beautiful! And what a cool project to be part of. I am quite impressed with you, lady! 🙂

  12. GRRRL TRAVELER July 8, 2011 at 7:28 am #

    *Wow* That looks like such an awesome project that you got to participate in! I can’t believe they paid you & put you up for the weekend! Way to go! That was a truly blogger-fantastic weekend.

  13. Kathryn July 9, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    Oh my gosh, how beautiful! It looks like it was such an amazing time! How did they do the message on the bed? I can’t tell- is it in leaves?

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