Day 4 — Details

“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” — Vincent Van Gogh
Day 4

Mitla, Hierve el Agua & el Tule

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks & Beverages

Start your day authentically!

Chilaquiles — a typical breakfast dish in Mexico — are lightly fried corn tortillas cut in quarters and topped with green or red salsa or mole sauce and commonly garnished with crema, crumbled queso fresco, onions, and avocado. Chilaquiles can be served with refried beans, scrambled eggs, and guacamole on the side.

The breakfast bar at the hotel has everything you need to make this delicious, traditional Mexican breakfast dish a part of your mornings on your journey.

¡Buen provecho!

Our first Academic Exploration today takes us to Hierve el Agua — Spanish for “the water boils.”

These so-called petrified waterfalls and pools are created by freshwater springs that are highly saturated with calcium carbonate and other minerals so that as the water flows over the cliffs the minerals are deposited similarly to how stalactites form in caves.

The otherworldly landscape and the incredible vistas of surrounding mountains and valleys offer unparalleled photography options.

You’ll have free time to explore the natural pools, take photos, and peruse the local artisan stands that surround the area.  

Before we depart for our next adventure, we’ll invite you to enjoy a refreshing beverage of your choice, including the local specialty — fresh juice served in a hollowed-out pineapple topped with chile-dusted pineapple slices.

Your Academic Exploration continues on to Mitla — the Zapotec religious center dating from 900 BCE. 

The Zapotec people called it Lyobaa, which means “place of rest.” The current name, Mitla, is the hispanicization of the Nahuatl (the Aztec language) name Mictlán — “the place of the dead or underworld.”  

Mitla is unique among all other Mesoamerican archeological sites for its elaborate and intricate mosaics and geometric designs that decorate tombs, panels, and entire walls made with small, finely cut and polished stone pieces fitted together without the use of mortar.

You’ll also have an archaeological explorer moment when you go deep beneath the ruins to experience Zapotec tombs — similar to those famous tombs of Egypt!

Lunch today on our Academic Exploration is at a typical Oaxaca roadside buffet that features a delicious all-you-can-eat selection of salads, typical Oaxacan hot foods, freshly grilled meats, made-to-order tortillas, and sumptuous desserts.

You’ll also enjoy an assortment of aguas frescas — lightly flavored fresh fruit juices — that are delicious, refreshing beverages popular across Mexico.

We encourage you to try a little of everything as this restaurant is renowned for the authenticity and exceptional quality of its dishes.

Next up on your Academic Exploration is the town of Santa María del Tule, home to the 0ver 1,600-year-old Montezuma cypress tree known in the Aztec Nahuatl language as Ahuehuete — meaning “old man of the water.” This amazing tree is registered with UNESCO as the tree with the stoutest trunk in the world!

According to Mixtec beliefs, the tree is sacred because people originated from cypress trees.

Local elementary school students give entertaining tours of the tree, pointing out perceived images of people and legends in its gnarled branches.

As a part of the Academic commitment to “give back” to the places we visit, students are invited to bring a simple English-language storybook to donate to the local elementary school to foster the students’ English skills.

In the late afternoon after a day full of Academic Explorations, we’ll return to the hotel so you can relax, take a swim, catch up on posting pictures, connect with family, or just hang out before dinner.

Tonight’s dinner takes place at a local restaurant that is Mexico’s version of the American diner.  

You’ll enjoy your choice of sandwiches or burgers — many American classics with a Mexican twist — or local Mexican favorites.

After dinner, we’ll return to the hotel for dessert and an Academic Discovery Dialogue with local Oaxacan students.

The purpose of this event is to give you and your Oaxacan peers the chance to get to know and learn from one another.

We invite you to ponder this event in advance and the questions you’d like to ask in the spirit of creating an open dialogue of discovery and understanding.

We’ll provide a more detailed framework in advance of the journey and discuss topics during dinners on the evenings before the event.

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