Who: Teens going into 8th-12th grades
Where: Teotitlan del Valle, Sierra Norte, and Oaxaca City, MEXICO
When: August 18-22
Counselors: Jay Waltmunson, Kymber Waltmunson, Samuel Bautista Lazo (see counselor bios here)
This will be a very fast-paced summer travel camp that covers a lot of ground and environments. On our first day we’ll wake up on the Bautista Lazo family farm in Teotitlán del Valle serenaded by roosters and braying donkeys. Leonor, one of our Zapotec hosts (pictured above) will tour the market with us and will introduce us to local sellers, identify unfamiliar fruits and vegetables, and help us find the most delicious breakfast treats. Samuel will introduce us to his kissing bulls and we’ll help snuggle the goats. We’ll spend two days exploring the village, learning to weave, and riding horses.
The second phase of our trip will be an introduction to life in the mountains of the Sierra Norte at 10,000 feet above sea level. Eli and Rufina will introduce us the their miniature deer, we’ll catch chickens, and learn Rufina’s family recipe for tortillas and mole. With full bellies, we’ll hike up to ziplines and a suspension bridge that overlook miles and miles of gorgeous pine forests.
The third phase of our trip will be bustling, colorful, and friendly Oaxaca City. We’ll reflect on the differences between village, mountain, and urban life as we sample all the famous local culinary treats – chocolate, tamales, chapulines (fried grasshoppers), mole, super-hot peppers (peppers are optional, of course), fresh fruit juices, and more. We’ll get familiar with the city’s world-renowned art scene by learning about the politics of street murals and get hands-on, making vivid alibrijes (brightly painted spirit animals). The sunrise at the stunning pre-Aztec ruins of Monte Albán will top off our trip before a final celebration dinner in historic Oaxaca City.
What will we do?
- Explore food and artisan markets
- Meet wonderful local people
- Sample moles and other traditional foods
- Meet local businesswomen and learn about micro-lending
- Sunrise hike to the pre-Aztec ruins of Monte Albán
- Horseback riding and farm animal hugging
- Weaving class and Zapotec stories
- Spanish instruction and practice (no minimum level of Spanish required)
What is included in the price?
- Spending money
- In-country transportation
- Activities and local guides
- $100 donation to local micro-lending non-profit
- Tips for local service providers
- Trip insurance
What is not included in the price?
- Transportation to/from your home airport
Is there financial aid or scholarships?
We are currently building our scholarship fund. See our financial support page here.
What about technology?
We are a technology device-free camp. Phones and other wired devices are an incredible distraction from the world around us. They can have an especially negative impact when we are trying to immerse ourselves in a new culture. It keeps us at arms length from our experience and from one another. I wrote a post on teens, technology, and travel that explains more.
Feedback from campers has been that they are glad they didn’t have their phones! They say they feel more connected to each other, their surroundings, and even that the days feel longer with so much more that they are taking in.
What resources do you provide?
We’ll guide you every step of the way. When you’re all signed up we’ll help you with passports, vaccination processes, packing lists, reading lists, trip insurance, and will coordinate a traveler meeting. We’re available at any time to answer questions.
As a parent, you’ll get daily photographs of our experiences so that you can see and hear about all the fun your child has been having. All counselors will have cell phones as well, should an urgent matter require communication.
For your camper, we provide all logistics to make this an amazing trip. Transportation, translation when needed, great activities, introductions to locally vetted and established guides, dietary food accommodations, and anything else that’s needed. We also have a system of group journaling to help us process our experiences, build relationships, experience our destination more deeply, and craft stories for our return.
We always bring a professional photographer along on our trips so you’ll get amazing digital photos of your child experiencing Oaxaca and you can purchase prints from the website if you want them in hard copy.
Interested? Got Questions? Let’s chat!
Please contact us and we’ll be happy to answer questions and describe anything in more detail.
Check our our testimonials and if you need references, we’ll gladly give you a bunch. We’d also encourage you to peruse the rest of the blog to get a sense of our values and how we travel. There are posts specific to Oaxaca on our Mexico page.
Let’s go far and travel deep!