Tours and Workshops

In addiion to Spanish classes, the ICC also offers tours and workshops to help people experience the culture of Oaxaca. Tours and workshops can be booked on their own or in conjuntion with spanish classes (for more information, see our "Packages" page, under "Programs").

Tours

ICC tours are done in small groups (four people max.) and start at 9am. Groups generally meet at the ICC at 8:45 am. Hotel pickup can be arranged.

Etla

The tour starts with a visit to CASA (Centro De Las Artes De San Augustin) which is the first ecological art centre in Latin America. The CASA, founded by famous Oaxacan painter Francisco Toledo, is housed in a previously abandoned textile factory. Besides regular exhibitions of contemporary art, the centre offers courses and workshops focused on ecological and digital graphics, photography, drawing, textile design and even theatre and music.

The tour continues on to paper factory and workshop where paper is made, by hand, using local plant varieties.

The tour concludes with a to a colorful local market, famous for its chees, and the Iglesia de las Peñas, which is considered a sacred place known for its “ huella del Cristo” or the footprint of Christ.

Wednesdays are the best days to see Etla.

Cuilapam de Guerrero and Zaachila

Cuilapam de Guerrero, former Zapotec and Mixtec indigenous settlement, is best known for its convent (Convento Cuilapam), dedicated to Santiago Apostol. Dominican monks started to construct its basilica around 1550 in order to evangelize the large indigenous population. Though left unfinished, it still stands today as one of the most extravagant and elaborate colonial constructions in the Oaxaca region.

The tour continues to Zapotec archeological site of Zaachila, believed to be the last Zapotec capital. Two interesting tombs of important Zapotec noblemen were discovered in 1962 inside a large pyramid and are open for visiting. The tombs are decorated with bas-reliefs and Zapotec inscriptions.

We will finish this amazing trip at a lovely indigenous market of Zaachila where we will have a light lunch at one of the “comedors” offering local specialties.

Thursdays are the best days to see Cuilapam de Guerrero & Zaachila.

Ocotlán and surrounding communities

This full day tour begins in San Martin Tiljacete, a lovely artisan village known for the production of “alebrijes”. These fantastic animals and creatures carved from copal wood are hand made using traditional techniques and natural dyes. During our visit to the local workshop, the artisans will explain the whole process of carving and painting.

The tour continues to Ocotlán de Morelos, a pretty indigenous village with one of the most impressive markets in the area. We will discover the colorful market offering everything from fruit and vegetables, home made tortillas, rugs, clothes, to horse saddles and live turkeys and goats. We will also visit the museum of Rodolfo Morales, one of the most significant painters of the Oaxaca region.

The women of Santo Tomas Jalietza are skilled waivers producing beautiful cotton tablecloths, belts, blouses and other clothes woven on a back strap loom. We will have an opportunity to watch them weaving and visit the local market.

Our final stop will be at San Bartolo Coyotepec, village that is world famous for its black pottery (barro negro). We will visit the workshop of the famous Doña Rosa and see the artisans working using traditional techniques.

Fridays are the best days to see Ocotlán.

Tlacolula, Mitla, Tule and Teotitlán del Valle

The tour begins in Tlacolula where we visit the famous local market, one of the largest, oldest and most diverse in the Oaxaca Valley.

Then we will continue to a close-by Mitla, known for its exceptional Zapotec archeological site. Mitla, used to be an important Zapotec religious centre and is famous for its elaborate mosaic fretwork and geometric designs. After the ruins, we will have a look at one of the local mezcalerías that produce delicious mezcal.

In San María del Tule we will admire one of largest trees in the world. The huge cypress tree is more than 2000 years old.

The tour concludes in Teotitlán del Valle which has centuries old tradition of weaving. We visit a weaving workshop to learn how the local women produce woolen products, such as rugs, dresses and jackets using natural dyes like indigo and cochineal.

Sundays are the best days for this tour.

Hierve el Agua

For nature lovers we can arrange a trip to Hierve el Agua, natural springs and a petrified waterfall in the mountains. This site of exceptional natural beauty used to be a sacred spot for Zapotecs and the archeologists recently discovered an irrigation system more than 2 500 years old. You can enjoy a walk in this exceptional setting with incredible views over the valley and swim in one of the horizontal pools.

Workshops

The ICC offers two kinds of workshops: cooking classes and salsa dance lessons. The cooking claases will teach participants how to make a variety of classic Oaxacan dishes such as pozole or tamales. Salsa dance lessons introduce beginners to one of the most common latin dances.


“Their approach of practicing speaking Spanish all the time while using correct grammar worked so much better for me than my first school's approach of many hours of learning grammar and then speaking for only part of class.”

- Tim Wang,
United States

“The ICC's classes focus on practical Spanish. It helped me better understand what people say and what they mean... and in turn helped me to become more fluent, not just linguistically, but culturally.”

- Marie O'Brien,
United States


“Probably my favourite time at the ICC was the excursions. Yolanda (the director) took us personally on tours of the surrounding pueblitas, showing us the specific hand crafts that each town specialized in, often including a demonstration of the traditional methods the still use.”

- Tim Wang,
United States

"The teaching staff at ICC is fantastic.  The classes were organized to facilitate real life conversations, which was exactly the practice I needed. The school is also located in a great part of the city, close to the heart of centro historico.  I plan to return."

-Marla Renn

Vancouver, Canada

“As an advanced student of Spanish, I have to look carefully for language schools that can help me, so I was delighted to find that the instruction in ICC was so in-depth. Because of the school’s association with the Oaxaca Times, the staff are a well-informed resource for what goes on in this beautiful city.”

- Jim Innocent

United States


“I was pleased with the flexibility of the school to meet my needs – they designed an advanced class appropriate for my language level, met me at the airport despite flight complications, and organized excursions based on the sights I wanted to see in Oaxaca Valley.”

- Sarah Roggero,
United States

"The spanish classes at the ICC were great. They were the perfect balance of educational, informative and fun. The teaching was very professional and personal and the atmosphere was just right. We highly recommend the ICC to anyone who wants to learn Spanish!"

- Jonathan Thaw (April 2012)