Oaxaca Artisanal Cheese Experience – Make your own quesillo – Private Tour

Oaxaca Artisanal Cheese Experience – Private Tour

We believe that one of the best ways to connect with a culture is through their food.

On this unique Food tour, you will engage with local cheese producers and dive deep into their multi-generational recipes and practices! You will see how their customs and recipes are passed down through the generations and you’ll take part of their artisanal traditions.

You will be learning about Oaxacan Cheese (Quesillo) in a way very few people ever get the chance to. You will learn secret techniques to create this delicious dairy delicacy, and how it has shaped the culture not just in Oaxaca, but in Mexico as a whole! This is the most profound connection to Oaxacan Quesillo you may ever get!

*Vegans please note: this tour does not have vegan options. All the cheeses sampled on this tour contain dairy, as traditionally prepared by the vendors.

All bookings are private, so booking with friends works out more cost-effectively, as you share some expenses (such as guide, transport, etc). Discounts are auto-magically applied when you make your reservation.

Are you planning to be here for the Day Of The Dead? You may also be interested in our in-depth, interactive experience taking you deep into the culture, traditions, and practices of the Day Of The Dead in Oaxaca:
Book Your Oaxaca Day Of The Dead Experience here!

Make a Deposit to confirm today!
All booking deposits are in USD and must be made in advance so that we can prepare this experience for you. Your initial deposit covers some expenses payable before your tours, such as your guide fees and other inclusions. Need to reschedule the date? With 2+ weeks’ notice, you may be able to without any rebooking fees! See Cancellations & Rebooking terms at the bottom of the page.

This tour requires a Local Payment in MXN
The Local Payment is a portion of your overall tour cost paid in Mexican Pesos on the morning of tour departure. It includes “on tour” expenses that cannot ordinarily be pre-paid such as money that goes directly to the host families, food vendors, and meals. It is an additional cost to the price of your tour when you make your deposit.

The Local Payment for this experience is 500 Mexican pesos per person (approximately $25 USD).


Oaxaca Artisanal Cheese Experience

Learn the history of the famous “Oaxaca Cheese” Quesillo, in this immersive workshop and tasting


Item Details
Meeting Point Your centrally located Oaxaca City hotel (you tell us your hotel after you reserve)
End Point Your centrally located Oaxaca City hotel
Duration Up to 5 hours (+/-)
Physical Level Low – this experience involves moderate walking
Cultural Rating Moderate – a good balance of cultural interactions, and engaging with local cheese making families
Ages 12+ (under 18 must be accompanied by a guardian/parent)
Group Size Private – Max 6 people per booking


Itinerary for making your own Quesillo: Oaxaca’s most famous string-cheese

Embark on “Discovering Oaxaca’s Quesillo,” a unique experience that begins with a pickup in central Oaxaca City. From there, we’ll journey to the heart of cheese-making in the nearby village of Reyes Etla. This immersive adventure is not just a foray into the flavors of Mexican cuisine but a deep dive into the rich traditions and spirit of Mexico.

Our journey starts with a step back in time as we explore the origins of quesillo, an exquisite semi-hard, light white cheese that emerged in the late 19th century. The story of its creator, Leobarda Castellanos García, and how her serendipitous mistake evolved into an emblem of Oaxacan identity, sets the stage for our experience. We then delve into the enchanting world of traditional cheese-making. Here, you’ll witness and participate in the artisanal process from milk curdling to the creation of the iconic stringed cheese, learning how local families in Reyes Etla have preserved this traditional art through generations.

As we dive deeper into the local culture, we gain insights into the vital role that quesillo plays in the community. We’ll discuss the ongoing challenges, including the struggle against counterfeit products and the commitment to maintaining the cheese’s authenticity. Then, it’s time to indulge your senses. In a tasting session, you’ll sample the exquisite Oaxacan quesillo, a variety of flavored and unflavored queso frescos, and other cheese byproducts like butter and curds. Discover the versatility of these cheeses in traditional Mexican dishes, showcasing the diverse and rich flavors of Mexico.

After indulging in these culinary delights, we’ll take a leisurely walk to a nearby famous church. This stroll not only allows us to appreciate the local architecture and history but also helps to burn off some of the delicious cheese calories from the day.

Our journey concludes with a return to Oaxaca City Centre, leaving you enriched with the knowledge of Oaxacan cheese-making, full of unforgettable flavors, and carrying memories of a unique cultural and gastronomic adventure in the heart of Mexico. This tour is more than just an exploration; it’s an invitation to connect deeply with the essence of Mexico and its enduring culinary traditions. Join us on this extraordinary and unforgettable journey.

For anyone who likes to eat, and appreciates good food and beautiful cultures – we know you will leave satisfied on all fronts with this special artisanal experience!

Please note: There is not a Dress Code! You will be visiting some food vendors who are a bit more traditional, so dressing respectfully is appreciated. You don’t need to dress to impress – you will be getting your hands dirty (literally). It is recommended to just bring modest, comfortable clothes, and that you don’t mind getting a bit dirty (food spillage happens to the best of us). A more detailed list of suggested clothing attire can be found below.

What to bring to the Oaxaca Artisanal Cheese Experience?

Though this could vary seasonally, this is the basic list of what we suggest you bring with you. Keep in mind that your transport is private and secure, so you can leave some items in the vehicle when not needed:
– Jeans or long pants (this is most customary in Mexico, though shorts/dress are fine if you are most comfortable in that).
– Sneakers/comfortable shoes.
– Umbrella (for the rainy season, May-Nov)
– Sunblock.
– Hat/cap.
– Covid Mask.
– Cash. The cheese producers do not accept credit cards if you want to buy any cheese after your experience. There is no pressure to buy anything. Unlike other tour companies, the producers we work with will always get paid fairly for their time, regardless if you buy additional food or not.

What is included with the Oaxaca Ancestral Experience?

Your ancestral experience includes:
– information provided before your experience to educate you and properly prepare you
– a specially trained and licensed English-speaking guide who will facilitate your experience
– translations and demonstrations with the local food vendors
– cheese, nacho chips & memelas (Alcoholic beverages are not included with the meals)

What is not included when on your Sacred Food Experience?

Travel Insurance (Compulsory)
– International flights
– Transportation (outside of itinerary)
– Accommodation in Oaxaca
– Alcoholic beverages
– Gratuities and tips
– Spending money if you wish to purchase additional cheese, souvenirs or items.

Supporting Local Projects with our TRiP Foundation

For every TRiP that you go on with WSE Travel, we will donate 2% to an environmental or community-based project in the country you’re visiting. We want to ensure that every guest we help, in turn, supports and preserves the destination we’re experiencing together as a direct result. We live by an ethos of Travel Responsibly & Impact Positively (TRIP).

For more information on the projects supported by this experience, please visit our Mexico TRIP projects.

Cancellations & Rebooking

All tours, services, and experiences booked through WSE Travel are bound to our Terms and Conditions, which were modeled after most other travel services such as flights, hotels, and other tour operators.

Should you need to cancel or change your reservation for any reason (including but not limited to missed flights, illness, or change of mind), you will still be bound to the terms and conditions agreed to at the time of booking.

Should you give us more than 14 days’ notice of a change in your reservation, we can store your payment in the ‘safety deposit box’, to be used for a future travel date, either by you or transferred to a friend or family member. Refunds are not available unless your reservation is canceled by WSE Travel for circumstances outside of our control.

Should you give us less than 14 days notice of a change in your reservation, a rebooking fee will be imposed. We do try to be flexible for our guests, but not at the sacrifice of the livelihoods of all locals hired for your private experiences. As these are private experiences, your guide and any other local service provider block their days off from other work to accommodate your reservation, and may not be able to fill that day again in the event of cancellation.

To be fair and responsible to them and their reliance on your reservation’s promised work, your guide will still be paid for your reservation. As such, last-minute cancellations or changes within 2 weeks of departure will be subject to a rebooking fee of the online deposit, to re-hire a guide for your future travel date.

This flexibility is a bend in our Terms and Conditions to try to be fair both to our guests, as well as the locals hired to facilitate your reservation. If you feel there is a high chance of cancellations or changes, please make sure you buy appropriate travel insurance that will reimburse you for cancellations of things such as flights, hotels, and tours.

5 reviews for Oaxaca Artisanal Cheese Experience – Make your own quesillo – Private Tour

  1. Lily (verified owner)

    This tour was an amazing up close and personal account of all things quesillo. Christian was a fantastic guide that translated the quesillo maker’s thoughts and process. We were able to ask whatever questions we wanted and learned SO much while being grounded in the culture and importance of this practice. We couldn’t recommend this enough. If you’re on the fence, just book it.

    And you can take quesillo home if you want, leading to wildly delicious snacks over the next couple days.

  2. Sarah Horcoff

    A tour focusing on cheese…what’s not to like? But even though I had no doubt I’d enjoy a tour about cheese I had no idea how much I’d love it. You may have had Oaxacan cheese before this tour, but I doubt you’ve had it this fresh. Like made right in front of your eyes fresh! In Oaxaca this cheese is called quesillo but the claims of it being similar to mozzarella don’t really come close. On this tour we got to watch a family of quesillo makers perform their craft, learned from generations passed. It was a fascinating experience and a beautiful thing to see a family working together and taking pride in their work while making a living and preserving a tradition. Then we got to taste the quesillo and about 8 other types of cheese and butter that they make right there. You can also buy the fresh products which of course I did and savored every bite for the next few days.

  3. Michael Novitzki (verified owner)

    As a lover of cheese, especially quesillo, this was an experience I’d been wanting to try out for awhile. I would recommend skipping breakfast before this tour, as you’ll be served memelas and sampling different cheeses to your heart’s content. It’s lightly hands-on, but not a tourism-focused “cooking class”. Your host is a professional cheese maker of 40 years, and the production/sale of various dairy products is still her family’s main business. This experience is a demonstration of that production with a chance to participate if desired. Some of us scrubbed up and got shoulder-deep in the curds and whey, others decided not to, but the process requires more technique than I’d expected, so in the end I was glad I hadn’t been set up with a personal cheese-making station and asked to take a whack at it from scratch. The best part of this experience was, inarguably, sampling the braided, seconds-old quesillo, freshly hand-rubbed with salt still granulated on it’s surface. You can not buy it that fresh at any market.

  4. Renee Ladouceur (verified owner)

    This is a perfect smaller tour for the morning to get a taste of quesillo and queso frescos. Make sure you come hungry!! Fascinating to learn about the history of cheese and quesillo in Oaxaca. To see quesillo being made fresh in front of you was the highlight and then getting to taste it right away. Best quesillo I’ve ever had! Not to mention all the other queso products we tried too! The family is very generous with the tasting and proud of their product. The walk to the church afterwards was a needed gentle way to walk off a full belly! Thank you for this intimate tasting. Definitely recommend for any cheese enthusiasts!

  5. Nathan (verified owner)

    So much cheese! If you love cheese, and I do, then this tour is for you. Not only do you get to indulge in various fresh cheese, but you actually get to make some yourself and eat it that fresh. The quesillo cheese with a pinch of salt is out of this world!

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