Oaxaca Trekking & Yoga Retreat 2017

Trip Highlights:

  1. Trekking across Central Valley of Oaxaca;
  2. Savoring just-made stone-hearth tacos & tortillas;
  3. Exploring local markets rich in Oaxacan arts and crafts;
  4. Trekking through old-growth pine and bromeliad forests in the Sierra Norte highlands;
  5. Visiting ancient pre-Hispanic trails and archeological sites of the Zapotecs;
  6. Witnessing Oaxacan rug weavers; 
  7. Daily yoga, healthy food, and outdoors.


Oaxaca is a beautiful safe colonial city in the heart of Mexico (Unesco World Heritage Site). It is known for its vibrant cuisine and culture, and is home to a large ex-pat artists' community. Oaxaca City is at 5,000 feet above sea level. 

Awaken to the sounds of roosters and Mexican music echoing across the valley, yet you’re only 20 minutes from the zócalo, the heart of downtown Oaxaca with its art galleries, museums, colonial churches and restaurants featuring world-renowned gastronomic excellence.

How to Get There

Fly to Oaxaca City from Houston on a direct flight - BEST OPTION! 

Another option is to fly to Mexico City from several major US airports, and then take the domestic flight to Oaxaca City.

Our Hosts

Rancho Pitaya is a private B&B-style ranch nestled at the foothills of protected lands in the great valley of Oaxaca only 20 minutes from downtown Oaxaca.

The Ranch is owned and operated by Mary Jane Gagnier, a US ex-pat, and a national winner of 50 and 60-mile horse riding competitions. Mary Jane is also the author of "Oaxaca Celebration" published in 2005 by Museum of New Mexico Press - about culture and traditions in Oaxaca. She is our ideal host and guide. 

Rancho Pitaya offers the perfect balance between spectacular scenery, exotic flora, and fascinating cultural and historical destinations.

The ranch is nestled at the foothills of protected lands perfect for trail running, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. 

Rancho Pitaya is about outdoor living. Enjoy endless safe self-guided hiking in the communal lands just west of the ranch, a biosphere rich in rare, old growth native flora. Or jump on a complimentary all-terrain bicycle and explore the many sites of interest along the quiet backroads stretching east from the ranch. Relax on the guest patio with a book from our well-stocked library or take a cooking class to learn authentic local dishes.

Accommodations are double occupancy. Unless you indicate a single room on the Registration Form, we will do our best to place you with another participant in a double room. 

2-Day Trek in Mountain Villages (facilitated by Tierraventura)

Pueblos Mancomunados, or United Villages, is an eco-tourism project and are located about 60 km (40 miles) northeast of Oaxaca city.

They comprise eight small towns perched in a common land territory of mountains and woods situated between 7,500 and 10,500 feet above sea level. They offer the opportunity to enjoy nature and get a first-hand experience of rural life in this region of Mexico.

The area of Pueblos Mancomunados has extremes in elevation and climate. Be prepared for mountain conditions. Temperature is usually warm during the day but it can drop to around 0° C (32° F) at nighttime in higher elevation (for example in Llano Grande). Sleeping bags will be provided for you but bring warm clothing, good walking shoes, long trousers, a hat and sunglasses.

Our van goes with our luggage from village to village, so that you only have to carry a day pack.

Overnight stays are in the guest houses of the villages, they are simple but very comfortable with private bathrooms fireplaces and hot water.

Included on the Retreat

  • Lodging
  • On-Trip Transportation including airport transfers
  • Three meals per day (*Note: on day trips to Oaxaca city lunch is at your own expense)
  • Tour of the Rug Weaving factory
  • Half-Day horse ride
  • 2-Day Trip to Highland Villages with lodging, 3 meals, and transportation
  • Yoga instruction

Not Included

  • Airfare and lodging prior to the trip 
  • Personal expenses for gifts, snacks, lunches during outings, tea and coffee, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, and mineral water
  • Medical expenses in case of any emergency or injury

What to Bring (more detailed list after registration)

  • Valid Passport (valid visa if required for Mexico)
  • Trail Hiking shoes 
  • Second pair of hiking/running shoes
  • Light clothing for hiking outdoors 
  • Thermal/warm sweater, pants, and hat for cooler temps at high elevation
  • Light backpack for longer hikes
  • Water bottle
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, and hat or visor 
  • Wrist watch

Image: Ancient Zapotec site in Sierra Norte

General Day-to-Day Itinerary - This is a tentative Schedule!

(All times and activities are subject to change; A more detailed itinerary will be shared with registered participants within a week of the trip)

Prior to the start of the Retreat: 

  • Participants are strongly encouraged to arrive to Oaxaca, Mexico, at least 1 day before the Retreat in case of any travel delays
  • Recommended Lodging in Oaxaca City will be emailed to Registered Participants

Day 1 - Arrival Day, Saturday, December 2

  • 11am - Meet the group in Oaxaca City
  • 11:30am - Van to Retreat Center, Check-In
  • 12:30pm - Lunch at the Ranch
  • Free time
  • 3:30pm - Short hike on nature trails with a local guide 
  • 5pm - Yoga class
  • 6:30pm - Dinner

Day 2  - Sunday, December 3

  • 7:15am - Run or Hike (optional) to the big tree in El Tule (3.5k each way, about 4.4 miles)
  • 8:15am - Yoga
  • 9:15am - Breakfast
  • 10am - Free time / optional trip to Oaxaca center to the market
  • 1pm - Lunch at Ranch (included), or in town (not included)
  • 2-5pm - Visit the archeological site of Dainzu and 16th century church in Tlacolchahuaya (ride there and hike back, 10k or 6 miles)
  • 6:30pm - Dinner

Day 3 - Day#1 in Sierra Norte Highlands, Monday, December 4

  • 7:15am - Breakfast
  • 8:15am - Depart to the Eco-Project Sierra Norte Highlands 
  • 10:30am - Hike through pine wood forest and fields to a neighboring village (about 10 mile hike). We start at over 10,000 feet and hike down to just over 7,000 feet elevation.
  • Late lunch
  • 5:30pm - Check in at the beautiful adobe cabins (mostly double occupancy)
  • 6:15pm - Dinner

Day 4 - Day#2 in Sierra Norte, Tuesday, December 5

  • 7:30am - Yoga 
  • 8:30am - Breakfast 
  • 9:30am - Hike on old pre-Hispanic trading paths in ancient alpine forest (around 8 miles)
  • Lunch in Santa Catarina Lachatao
  • Check in at the beautiful adobe cabins
  • Free time
  • 6:30pm - Dinner

Day 5 - Day#3 in Sierra Norte, Wednesday, December 6

  • 7:45am - Yoga
  • 9:15am - Breakfast 
  • 10:30am - Visit a recently discovered archeological site with a local guide and shaman, Oscar
  • 1pm - Lunch in Lachatao
  • 3pm - Van transfer back to the Ranch
  • Free time - Visit town (optional)
  • 6:30pm - DInner

Day 6 - Horses and Weavers, Thursday, December 7

  • 7:15am - Easy Run (optional)
  • 8:15am - Breakfast
  • 9:30-12:30pm - Horse back ride through the hills and the valley with Mary Jane
  • 1pm - Lunch 
  • 2:30-5pm - Visit Teotitlan (village of rug weavers) and meet Antonio Ruiz, a local rug weaver and our guide; walk around the perimeter of the village with Antonio; witness a demonstration of rug weaving at Antonio's home
  • 5pm - Yoga
  • 6:30pm - Dinner

Day 7 - Friday, December 8

  • 7:15am - Easy Run (optional)
  • 8:15am - Breakfast
  • 10am - 1pm - Oaxaca center visit/Free time in town
  • Lunch at Ranch (included), or in town (not included)
  • Free time to visit a market in El Tule
  • 5pm - Yoga
  • 6:30pm - Dinner

Day 8 - Departure Day, Saturday, December 9

  • 7:15am - Easy Run(optional)
  • 8:15am - Breakfast and Farewells
  • Participants will be transferred back to airport or Oaxaca center (earlier transfers will be available upon request)