When is the next tour taking place?
Our tour dates vary from year to year, though we try to release the dates 6 months ahead of time to allow for planning. We base our dates on your requests and what we believe to be good times for people to travel. We also prefer avoiding crowds, as prices increase and we think places are better experienced when things are calm and less crowded. In the past, we have planned or carried out our tours in January, March, July, August, and October. If there are any specific dates that would work for you, please send us an e-mail and we will keep them in mind for future planning.
What kind of places will we be eating at?
Out itinerary is full of what we believe to be the best food in the area. Some spots may be hole-in-the-wall, some much fancier, but we chose each place based on what we consider to be the most iconic and most delicious food, regardless of the environment and/or price of the establishment.
What if I have dietary restrictions?
We will work hard to provide menus tailored to any type of dietary restriction, and we will guide you in ordering things that you can safely eat. However, as a group, we will be trying different local things, and sometimes it is simply impossible to avoid certain ingredients. Please do let us know in advance of any restrictions or concerns, and we will do everything to accommodate you.
What will we be doing during the cooking day?
Because we want to make sure you don’t only taste the food, but also have an actual understanding of the ingredients and what it is like to cook with them, our cooking day will be an opportunity for you to shop interesting and new things in the local market, and then learning ways to use them, guided by Chef de la Vega. We are less interested in giving you a cooking class with a zillion ingredients you will not find in the US than giving you insider’s tips to using the ingredients intuitively and with the right techniques. That way you can use what you can find and have available back at home. We will also see and participate in a tortilla and cheese demo that day.
Is going to Oaxaca or Mexico City safe?
Oaxaca is an extremely safe city with a very low crime rate. While Mexico City can be a little more hectic, it can be very safe if you know where to go and what to avoid. That’s what we are here for. And as with every place you go to, you have to be smart and avoid trouble. We suggest keeping a low profile (i.e. avoiding flashy jewelry, being discreet when getting money from your wallet in the street, not carrying too much cash, keeping your passport and important documents in the hotel’s safe deposit, not walking alone in dark and lonely areas, etc.) We are planning to go to busy markets, so be mindful with pickpocketing. And always remember we are here to help and guide you, your safety is our biggest priority.
Is it safe to eat the food?
We only pick places that we trust to be safe and clean, but nevertheless anyone can get sick, especially when one’s body is not accustomed to a new environment. If there is anything you should avoid, like tap water or blocks of ice, we will tell you. Our word of advice is to take 1 Tbsp of pepto bismol each morning, as it will protect your stomach preemptively, allowing you to eat worry-free.
Is there a dress code?
Our two current destinations are far from being beach towns, and Oaxaca, for example, tends to be a little more conservative. Casual attire is okay for our daily activities (jeans, shorts, t-shirts, polos), but we recommend avoiding overtly provocative clothing and beach ware. We will be doing plenty of walking, so we suggest you wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Avoid wearing flip-flops or high heels. We will be having dinner at some high-end restaurants, so pack some nicer clothes for that. It doesn’t have to be very formal, but nice business casual should be okay.
What is the weather like?
Obviously, depending on the time of year the weather will vary, but Oaxaca is generally fairly warm during the day, with cooler mornings and evenings. Mexico City is cooler in the winter months, with heavy rains during the summer, but on average it is much like Oaxaca, warm during the day, with cooler mornings and evenings.
What is the exchange rate?
The current exchange rate dollars-pesos is around 17-18 pesos per dollar, so you will get a lot of pesos for your dollars.
Is it okay to haggle with vendors?
Oaxaca has wonderful arts and crafts, and these should be pretty cheap if we consider the amount of labor involved in making them. Some often take days, weeks or months to make, so we simply ask that you please consider that before haggling. The people of Oaxaca and many other areas of Mexico are economically needy, and often are already selling their items for a lower value. If you believe a price is too high, you can always ask for our guidance, we only want you to get the best for your money.
What sorts of things can I bring back home with me?
Be mindful about what you bring back. Some of the arts and crafts are fragile, like ceramics, but they often offer to pack them safely for you, and sometimes they can even ship them. As for food items, NO fresh foods and/or seeds are allowed back, especially meats. You can bring chocolate, dried chiles, vanilla, and anything else that has been dried. Two bottles of alcohol are allowed per person. Sometimes vanilla, as it can contain alcohol, is considered into that amount. We have heard sometimes cheeses are allowed, we have never tried, but you can declare it in costumes and the worst that can happen is that they take it away, but at least you don’t pay the fine that is around $300. Same situation applies when entering Mexico: don’t bring fresh foods with you.
Do I need electricity adapters?
The electricity and plugs are the same in Mexico as in the US, so just bring whatever you normally use at home—there’s no need for adapters.
Will this be a tour focused just on food?
While we can customize trips specifically tailored for food, our signature tours include a little bit of everything: sightseeing/visiting landmarks (archeological sites, cathedrals, etc), exploring local arts and crafts, dabbling in local spirits like Mezcal or Pulque, and yes, there is an emphasis on food and learning about local culinary traditions.
What is the best way to get to Oaxaca?
The airport you would fly into is the Xoxocotlán International Airport (the local Oaxaca airport.) The only direct flight from the states to Oaxaca is from Houston, and even then, they only fly once or twice a week. The best way to get to Oaxaca is through Mexico City, which is a big airport with direct flights from most cities. There are plenty of connecting flights from Mexico City to Oaxaca, and it is a very short flight there (around 45 min.) We arrange for people to be picked up from the airport (and also dropped at the end), so you don’t have to worry about anything once you are there.
What does the price include?
All meals are included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and even the ingredients needed for the cooking day. The only instance food would not be included is if people get anything when they are not with the group, during the free time we give people during a couple of the afternoons. The price does not include alcoholic beverages during our meals, but we will be having a mezcal tasting that is included. The hotel price is also included. Our hotels are always five-star boutique hotels, and we make an effort to find unique places that are memorable. For example, in Oaxaca we stay at a beautiful renovated colonial house right downtown.
How do I secure my place?
If you would like to reserve a place in one of our tours, please contact us and we will send you a reservation form. You will then return the filled-out form to us along with a security deposit ($300 for Oaxaca and $500 for Mexico City per person), via check or through our PayPal account. This will hold your spot. The deposit is refundable if cancellation is made 90 days in advance of trip and also in the event that the tour is cancelled for external circumstances on our end.
How do I make the payments?
Once the deposit is received and your is place secured, we ask that you pay the first 50% (taking into account the security deposit) 60 days in advance of trip and the remaining 50% 30 days in advance of trip.
Can children come on the trips?
Children older than 8 are welcome to come. It is important to know that many of the things we will be eating may seem very unusual to children, though we will try to accommodate to any dietary restrictions or dislikes whenever possible.
Is the price of children the same as for adults?
The price for the children will depend on how many rooms will be needed, and if they are sharing rooms with their parents or not. Please write to us with your specific circumstances and we will work on a fair price based on your needs.
Need more help?
Please send us your questions and we will contact you.