WHET YOUR APPETITE
With its many groups of indigenous peoples that fiercely maintain centuries old traditions, from style of dress to religious practice to their original Maya languages, a journey through Chiapas offers a window into living and well as ancient Maya culture. Bask in colonial San Cristobal’s pastel colors, rustic charm and evocative markets and meet local friends and hosts along the way who grant us privileged insiders’ access into the cultural heart of their vibrant region.
Our fixed departure, small group programs in Chiapas often coincide with one the region’s spectacular local festivals. One such event is the carnival celebration n the deeply traditional indigenous town of San Juan Chamula, where it is celebrated with feasts, visits to sacred shrines, the ‘jaguar dance’ and dozens of men running across a burning thatch to achieve ritual purification. While few foreigners ever experience them, the colorful festivals of Chiapas are amongst the most vivid expressions of folkloric tradition in all of Mexico.
In addition to its brash nature, stunning architecture and impressive archaeological treasures, Culture Xplorers provides travelers an unparalleled access to the people and living culture of Chiapas.
LIFE AT GROUND LEVEL
Whether enjoying insights into pre-Hispanic traditions during a home-hosted meal at the home of one of the members of the successful Sna Jolobil weavers cooperative or participating in one of the most unique carnival celebrations in the Americas in the indigenous town of San Juan Chamula, Culture Xplorers travelers taste local life at ground level.
ACCESS & EXPERTISE
Join a leading expert on the indigenous cultures of Chiapas, at his San Cristobal home for insights into the ancient, dynamic and constantly evolving textile traditions of the Chiapas highlands and tour the only indigenous-owned publishing house in Mexico, in the company of one of its founding members.
EXTEND YOUR EXPERIENCE
Explore several of Mesoamerica’s most intriguing ruins, set against the exuberant backdrop of the verdant jungles of Chiapas The stele carved lintels and beautiful temples appear even more magnificent against the exuberant backdrop of the jungle with the accompanying sights and sounds of monkeys and toucans. From the atmospheric boat ride up the Usumacinta River to Yaxchilán to the remarkably well preserved murals of Bonampak, to the monumental city state of Palenque – this extension transports you back in time to the apogee of the Maya civilization.
Dive into Mexico’s thriving metropolis with a mural-themed walk taking in its revitalized historic center. Discover one of the world’s great museums, the Museo Nacional de Antropología. Its superb collection is designed with a room dedicated to each of Mexico regions or ancient cultures. Follow the lives and artistic development of two of Mexican most compelling figures, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Explore the ancient City of Gods, Teotihuacán. This imposing site reflects the importance of the city, estimated to have been the sixth largest city in the world in its heyday from 450 – 600 A.D.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
At Culture Xplorers, we insist on being not only responsible travelers, but on making a positive impact on the communities with which we come into contact. We work hand-in-hand with local leaders in the destinations we visit to spend time as well as money in their communities, to exchange views and to support the living traditions that make these destinations unique.
As a catalyst to these deep-rooted partnerships in each of our destinations, the non-profit Culture Xplorers Foundation was created in 2007 with the goal of fostering the sustainability of local culture in indigenous communities worldwide.
We constantly look for ways to minimize our carbon footprint before, during and even after our travels. We start in the office by not producing or printing any printed brochures. We have adhered to this leading-edge environmental practice since 2005, sending all our correspondence electronically as PDFʼs, from program itineraries to comprehensive pre-departure materials, to invoices, to our feedback & evaluation forms after the journey ends.
Traveling in extremely small groups (maximum 10 travelers) helps us minimize our ecological footprint in other ways. We stay in locally run, upscale boutique lodging brimming with local character — often in converted historic buildings, rural haciendas & renovated manor homes. This re-purposed lodging not only transmit a deeply authentic sense of place, they eliminate the need for additional tourism infrastructure.
When it comes to food ways and traditions, we emphasize visits with farmers and local producers and during each of our trips we participate in a hands-on culinary workshop focused on locally sourced foods & regional specialties.