A Slow Travel Guide


Oaxaca: A Slow Travel Guide

Cleobella's founder Angela and the sisters of Design 4 Corners, Elaina and Susanna, traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico for a luxury buying trip where they discovered inspiration around every corner. From authentic cuisine experiences to meetings with talented artisans, discover the beauty of Oaxaca through their eyes.

Choose a Destination: Oaxaca, Mexico

After a short three and half hour flight from San Diego to Oaxaca, we were graciously greeted by our driver who quickly had us driving through the colorful and vibrant streets of Oaxaca City. The city reminded us of Bali with it’s rich smells, narrow twists and turns and the sounds of motor bikes beeping from all directions. The colorful buildings and the dynamic street art caught our eyes as we navigated through the bustling city. A foreshadow to the artistry that is beautifully woven through the streets of this amazing city.

We then arrived at Escondido Hotel. A hotel situated in the heart of city. As we entered from the street we were greeted by a beautiful wooden door and friendly doorman into a lush oasis of architectural beauty - almost as if we had stepped through a portal from one part of the world to another. Among the bustling city, the hotel was calming and quiet, just what we needed after a long travel morning.

Healthy Bites

During our first day we explored the streets of Oaxaca city by foot. Walking up and down the narrow roads, stopping for coffee, having lunch at the Muss Cafe at Casa Antonieta, while shopping and site seeing along the way! A beautiful way to get our bearings for what we would call home for the next few days. We quickly learned that Oaxaca is full of life. The buildings are painted in beautiful, vibrant colors. There are murals and street art all over depicting the stories, the history and the political doctrines of the local people. The smell of food cooking in open air cafes and the symphony of the city sounds transports you into this old world, where architecture, art and history collide in the most inspiring way. 

Dinner at La Cocina de Humo that evening was an experience of it’s own. If you are looking for an authentic Oaxacan meal this is the place. We sat inside a primitive and traditional kitchen where we watched our chef make a classic 6 course meal in front of us. Oaxaca is known for its flavorful mole and has some of the best restaurant experiences known. The next few nights were flavorous, cuisine adventures. Be sure to make reservations at Criollo and Los Danzantes if you plan to visit Oaxaca.

Immerse Yourself in the Culture

Day two we visited the weaving city of Teotitlan del Valle. This was where we met with Bulbar Perez Mendoza and his family of master weavers of Bulmaro Perez Rugs. Bulbar so graciously spent the time showing us how he makes his natural dyes and his process of weaving. It was wonderful to witness the art of weaving and how much time, thought and skill goes into each and every piece.

Next we visited Dona Viviana Alavez and her family at their home, Casa Viviana. Viviana greeted us in her bare feet, tucked back hair, a beautiful blue dress and gorgeous smile! She graciously welcomed us in and willingly demonstrated her candle making process. Originally inspired by a rose and how the petals eventually fall, she wanted to reconstruct and piece the petals back together. From this idea she created a one of a kind candle design that is now known around the world. In 2021 she was featured in Vogue breaking the mold of century-old candle making traditions.

Before calling it a day we stopped by the home studio of Christina Hattler, owner of Mexchic - a textile and home decor brand. Her home is situated on a beautiful side street and we were greeted by her two dogs who paraded us inside. One half of her home is dedicated to her bright studio which is like an intricate blueprint of her creative mind. Her clothing collection is so unique and exquisite and her home decor line is whimsical and one of a kind. It was refreshing to see new things and experience her interpretation of indigenous traditional designs.

On our third and final day we visited the town of San Marcos Ttapazola and San Maria Atzompa, also known as the pottery towns. Specifically known for their red, green and black pottery. Here we met with a local artisan Ana Maria Alarzon and her family at their home studio. Ana Maria sat down at her pottery wheel and started working with a small piece of clay that quickly turned into a beautiful heart shaped mug. She took us back to her homemade kiln and further explained her process.

From the artisan to the home is the story we want to tell. To experience and connect with the traditions of a place and the people is what brings meaning to the treasures you find along the way.