Oaxaca Ancestral Mezcal Experience
Visit a palenque and learn about mezcal from a local family
|Meeting Point||Pickup at your Oaxaca City hotel|
|End Point||Drop off at your Oaxaca City hotel|
|Duration||Up to 10 hours|
|Physical Level||Moderate – this experience involves short-distance hiking around agave fields and hills in the sun|
|Cultural Rating||Moderate – a good balance of cultural interactions, and engaging with a local family of mezcal producers|
|Ages||18+ (the trip includes alcohol)|
|Group Size||Private – Max 6 people per booking|
Itinerary for visiting the Mezcal Palenques in Mina, Oaxaca
You will be picked up from your Oaxaca City hotel at 9:00 a.m. to get an early start out to the Agave plantation and mezcal production location, known as a Palenque.
We will be going to visit one family in Santa Catarina Minas town (1 hr south of Oaxaca) to learn their story and family history. Once we arrive, we will hop into their pickup truck to visit their agave fields. The fields are around a 10-minute drive from the home of the mezcaleros we are visiting. We will be spending the first half of the day hiking around these fields and learning about all the varieties of agave plants that grow here, what makes them special and how long each variety takes to mature. Some varieties take up to 25 years for maturation, before they can be harvested!
We will take a break to eat some snacks while in the fields (you will be able to let us know your dietary requirements in advance), and keep your energy levels up. Once we’ve refilled our bellies, you will have the unique opportunity to plant a baby agave for yourself – connecting you to the sacred land we are visiting! Very few foreigners are ever given this privileged opportunity, as you become part of the process, and part of the sacred land the farmers pass down from generation to generation! This plant may end up living in your newly assigned home for up to 25 years! You can come back to visit it any time you are in Oaxaca and see how your efforts have become part of this land – and part of the Oaxacan culture.
At this point, we head back to the mezcalero’s home. You will be able to learn about the process which happens next. From the harvest to the fermentation, to the distillation – it is an ancestral practice that gets passed down from one generation to the next. You may be surprised at just how labour-intensive it is, to turn the sacred maguey (agave) into the delicious spirit you know as mezcal. We are sure you will find a newfound appreciation for this unique Mexican drink.
We will of course, then take the opportunity to try several of the varieties that this mezcalero produces on his land, seeing the difference between each plant, and experience the subtle nuances that the smokey mezcal drink has become famous for. You of course will have the opportunity to buy a bottle or two of your favourite type, should you choose to do so, but there is no pressure whatsoever. The mezcaleros are paid for their time with us, so any purchase you make is entirely up to you (paid in cash only, so if you plan to, please be sure to bring at least 1000-2000 pesos in cash to be sure you have enough – there are no ATMs nearby).
After the mezcal tasting, we are going to stop in a local Oaxacan restaurant. Here we will try some delicious Oaxacan food, local to the area. If the weather permits, they also have a big swimming pool, where you can take a dip and cool off after a long and rewarding day out in the Palenque.
This is a full-day experience where you will learn and appreciate the hard work of the mezcal producers. It will be a window into a normal day in these people’s lives and allow you to connect on a deep level by participating in their activities and connecting to the land they live off. The objective is that you can get a bond with nature and the sacred practices of mezcal production – in the ways the mezcaleros have bonded with this practice for generations.
Please note: There is not a Dress Code! Though you revisiting a traditional family in the villages, dressing semi-respectfully is appreciated. You don’t need to dress to impress – you will be getting your hands dirty. It is recommended to just bring comfortable clothes, which are modest, 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 on the Oaxaca Sacred Mezcal Experience?
Though this could vary seasonally, this is the basic list of what we suggest you bring. Keep in mind that your transport is private and secure, so you are able to leave some items in the vehicle when not needed:
– Jeans or long pants (we will walk in the fields, which do have bugs and cactus). You can also bring shorts and you can change once we are back in the palenque.
– Sneakers/comfortable shoes. No sandals (during the hiking)
– Long sleeves or bug spray (there are mosquitos in the fields).
– Covid Mask.
– Swimsuit/bikini (pool attire)
– Cash. The producer does not accept credit cards if you want to buy bottles of mezcal after your tasting. There is no pressure to buy anything. The producer always gets paid fairly for his time, regardless. Bottles of mezcal range from 250 to 1400 Mexican Pesos, depending on size and variety.
What is included with the Oaxaca Sacred Mezcal Experience?
Your sacred 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 Mina, as well as a pickup truck out into the fields)
– translations with your mezcalero
– meal (includes snacks in the field, and a meal at the end of the day. Alcoholic beverages are not included with the meals)
– Mezcal tasting (please drink responsibly, you are at someone’s home)
– a special small gift to take home with you
What is not included when on your Sacred Mezcal Experience?
– Local Payment of 1000 Mexican Pesos per person (payable at the start of the tour directly to your guide)
– Travel Insurance (Compulsory)
– International flights
– Transportation (outside of included itinerary)
– Accommodation in Oaxaca
– Alcoholic beverages (outside of the included mezcal tasting)
– Gratuities and tips
– Spending money if you wish to purchase additional mezcal, souvenirs or items.
Supporting Local Projects with our TRiP Foundation
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, helps support and preserve 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 modelled 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 cancelled 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 to both our guests and 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.