Oaxaca Cotton Textiles Experience – Private Tour

Oaxaca Artisanal Cotton Textile Experience

We believe that the best way to connect with a culture is to participate in their local activities.

On this unique Textile tour, you will be engaging with local families and participating in their day-to-day activities. You will have an opportunity to see their way of life passed down through the generations and be part of their sacred practice.

You will be learning about textile weaving in a way very few people ever get the chance to, learning natural dyes, picking and spinning cotton into thread, and having a demonstration of how the ancient looms are used! This is the deepest connection to this ancient tradition you may ever get!

All bookings are private, so booking with friends works out more cost-effectively, as you share some of the 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 we can prepare this experience for you. Your initial deposit covers some expenses payable in advance of your tours, such as guide fees and transport. 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 on the morning of tour departure, in Mexican Pesos. It includes “on tour” expenses that cannot ordinarily be pre-paid such as money that goes directly to the host family 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 Cotton Textile Experience

Visit a local weaving collective and learn about traditional textiles from beginning to end from a local family


Item Details
Meeting Point Pickup at your Oaxaca City hotel
End Point Drop off at your Oaxaca City hotel
Duration 6-8 hours on average
Physical Level Low – this experience involves minimal movement for weaving and harvesting leaves
Cultural Rating Moderate – a good balance of cultural interactions, and engaging with a local family of textile producers
Ages 18+
Group Size Private – Max 6 people per booking


Itinerary for visiting the Textile Weavers near Santo Tomás Jalieza, Oaxaca

Embark on a captivating journey to Santo Tomás Jalieza, Oaxaca, where you will immerse yourself in the rich textile tradition of the Zapotec community. This unique adventure begins with a 45-minute drive from the center of Oaxaca de Juárez, transporting you to a world where textile craft and Zapotec culture intertwine.

Upon arrival, the vibrant atmosphere of a community brimming with art and tradition welcomes you. Here, the backstrap loom (also known as a waist loom) technique is a heritage skill passed down through generations. Primarily passed down by women, all community members are now generally involved. It is a living testament to the community’s dedication to preserving their culture. In Santo Tomás Jalieza, men and women alike share and celebrate this skill, bringing the ancient art to life.

At the workshop, your hands-on experience begins. Under the guidance of master artisans Nelson and Wendhy, you’ll partake in the process of gathering various pre-Hispanic varieties of cotton, the raw material for waist loom weaving. This immersive session allows you to delve into the tradition and experience using tools for cotton spinning firsthand.

Your exploration extends to the world of natural dyes, such as indigo, huizache, pomegranate, aloe, lemon balm, and cochineal, which breathe life and color into the woven pieces. You’ll learn about the significance of these dyes in creating pre-Hispanic symbols and motifs, an integral part of the Zapotec weaving legacy.

This whole day is an opportunity for you to interact directly with the artisans, gaining deeper insight into the cultural significance behind each creation. Throughout the experience, you’re encouraged to engage with the artisans, ask questions, capture photographs, and learn about the history, techniques, and cultural importance of the waist loom.

This experience is more than learning about an ancient craft; it’s an opportunity to witness the fusion of beauty and tradition that characterizes Zapotec culture. You’ll leave not only with memories and knowledge but also with a profound respect for the art and culture of Santo Tomás Jalieza.

Following your immersive experience in the workshop, the day culminates with a traditional Oaxacan meal, allowing you to savor the local flavors and further connect with the community’s heritage. As the day concludes, we journey back to Oaxaca City, parting ways with a deepened understanding and appreciation of the sacred textile practices and the enduring legacy of the Zapotec people.

This is most of a full-day experience where you will learn and appreciate the hard work of the weaving families and communities of Mexico. It will be a window into a normal day in these people’s lives and allow you to connect deeply by participating in their activities and connecting to the land they live on. The objective is that you can get a bond with the sacred practices of textile production – in the ways the weavers have bonded with this practice for generations.

Please note: There is not a Dress Code! You will be visiting a traditional family in the villages, so dressing respectfully is appreciated. You don’t need to dress to impress – you will be getting your hands dirty. It is recommended to bring modest, comfortable clothes, and that you don’t mind getting a bit dirty in. A more detailed list of suggested clothing attire can be found below.

What to bring to the Oaxaca Artisanal Textile 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.
– Long sleeves or bug spray (there are mosquitos where we are going).
– Sunblock.
– Hat/cap.
– Covid Mask.
– Cash. The producers do not accept credit cards if you want to buy any textiles 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 a textile or not.

What is included with the Oaxaca Artisanal Textile Experience?

Your 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
– transportation during the tour (a private vehicle to and from Teotitlan)
– translations with your weaving host family
– meal (includes a meal at the end of the day. Alcoholic beverages are not included with the meals)
– a special small gift to take home with you

What is not included when on your Artisanal Textile Experience?

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

Supporting Local Projects with our TRiP Foundation

Every TRiP that you go on with WSE Travel, we will donate 2% (or $1/day per day, per person – whichever is greater) 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 be 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. They 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 which will be able to reimburse you for cancellations of things such as flights, hotels, and tours.

3 reviews for Oaxaca Cotton Textiles Experience – Private Tour

  1. Tony Esteves (verified owner)

    This was literally “cotton picking” good fun!
    I went into this tour with no idea of what to expect and came out of it with such a deep appreciation of this traditional method of spinning cotton.

    It was a hands-on experience and we got to learn about some of the history of the area as well.
    Just a great day! As a bonus, we had a delicious meal prepared for us by a local celebrity chef so went home well fed.

    A special thanks goes out to our guide, Christian, who translated into English throughout the day, and took great care of us.

  2. Renee Ladouceur (verified owner)

    It was a true joy to participate in the cotton textiles tour! It was an honour to learn about the history of the village and see where their inspiration comes from. The hands on experience of harvesting and spinning cotton will forever be with me and was so much fun too! I have a whole new appreciation for this art and way of life. Thank you for this amazing experience!

  3. Nathan (verified owner)

    The process and work involved in handmade textiles is crazy. We were able to literally make our own cotton thread by hand. The process from the cotton Bush to a complete project is amazing. Quite a learning experience!

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