IntroductionOf all the mezcal producing regions, Oaxaca is by far the most known and popular place to travel. Infrastructure is relatively well developed and it is very easy to get there as it is served by major airlines (United, Aeromexico, Volaris, Interjet). Currently, there are only two US cities that have direct flights to Oaxaca, Los Angeles and Houston, and with most other flights connecting through Mexico City. The city of Oaxaca is quite charming with its parks, zocolo (main square) and colonial architecture. It sits in a high valley surrounded by mountains. It is a center of art, food and indigenous culture, and often leaves visitors with a sense of magic. In planning your trip you want to allow yourself at least two full days in the city to explore the historic center, museums, markets and artisan shops. And of course you want to eat. Mezcal has been produced in Oaxaca for at least 500 years, with most of it produced in small towns or pueblos outside of the city of Oaxaca. A vast majority of mezcal comes from the town of Matatlan in the Tlacolula Municipality, a 45 minute drive from Oaxaca and an easy drive, bus ride or collectivo (shared taxi system). Working with a tour guide means you can visit other mezcal producing towns like Santa Catarina Minas, Sola de Vega, Ejutla, Miahuatlan, San Baltazar Guelavia, San Juan del Rio and San Luis del Rio as day trips. You can also work with a tour guide to plan trips that can take you into the Mixteca or Sierra Norte – these generally are overnight trips and are fairly rugged.
René Cabrera Arroyo, a certified tour guide from Oaxaca City, is the in house tour guide for Las Bugambilias BnB and is available for private tours. He has deep knowledge about the local indigenous cultures, mezcal, food and history of Oaxaca and is able to tailor your tours specific to your needs and interests. He is constantly looking for different places and new craftsmen to make his tours more interesting and unique. Contact him here.
Ulises Torrentera is probably one of the foremost experts when it comes to mezcal. He and partner Sandra Ortiz Brena are the forces behind In Situ Mezcaleria in Oaxaca and the brand El Farolito. They recently have launched the Mezcanautic 2020 tour which runs March 29-April 4 in Oaxaca. This is a great opportunity to visit palenques, taste mezcal not available in the US and of course absorb lots of mezcal information from the master. Details here: https://mezcanautic.com/