We suggest that you put your name and the address of the Hotel Misión San Felipe
on your luggage tags. Most of those who fly will go through Mexico City; therefore,
you should have on hand your proof of citizenship and after passing through customs,
claiming your luggage, and rechecking-if your luggage does not go directly to Oaxaca.
Check your luggage to Oaxaca if possible. Airlines normally allow two suitcases and
one carry on bag. While in the Mexico City Airport expect delays. Check with your
travel agent and ask if the Mexican taxes have been included with your ticket.
There are eateries and shops in the Mexico City Airport, and plenty of seating after
you pass through the checkpoint (metal detector) with your hand luggage and boarding
pass (from the International side to the National side). It is advisable to exchange US
dollars for pesos ($200 - $300 USD) while in the Mexico City airport to have some
pesos on hand. The numerous money exchanges at the airport are open on Sundays.
The exchange rate fluctuates daily and the rates at the airport are competitive.
If you purchased your airline tickets through Elderhostel/TZell and are arriving on
the first day of the program, you will be met by a Site Coordinator at the Oaxaca
airport. After retrieving your luggage at the Oaxaca airport, look for the person(s)
with the Elderhostel sign(s). It is unnecessary to tip porters (mozos) who take your
luggage to your hotel room (unless you desire to do so). The tips and van rides have
been pre-paid by the program. If you leave on the last day of the program your van
ride from the Hotel Misión San Felipe to the airport will be scheduled and paid by the
Program. The Site Coordinators will also reconfirm your airline ticket prior to
If you arranged your own travel, retrieve your luggage at the Oaxaca airport and
then purchase a ticket for van service at the Transportacíon Terrestre window outside
the door through which you leave the baggage area and just to your right. Ask the
driver to drop you off at the Hotel Misión San Felipe. Expect to pay about 250 pesos
(approximately $25 USD) per person for the ride (or more if you are the only person
on the van-about 150 pesos- $15.00 USD). Cabs are also available at the airport for
about 350 pesos ($35 USD). The vans and the cabs are safe to ride from the airport.
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Your address and telephone number in Oaxaca are:
Hotel Misión San Felipe
Av. Jalisco No. 15 Sur
Fracc. San Felipe, del Agua
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, México 68020
Telephone: 011 52 951 52-00-050
The Hotel Misión San Felipe is located in a residential area outside the historic center of the
The Elderhostel program begins on the first day of the program with the evening meal. An
Orientation session is held following breakfast the next day. Classes normally begin on the
morning of the second day. Your Site Coordinators arrive several days prior to the beginning of
the Program and stay at the hotel one additional full day after the Program concludes. They will
advise you on the details of your Program.
Climate and Clothing
Average Climate Chart for Oaxaca
The below figures are monthly averages and may vary significantly. Temperatures
in Oaxaca can range from the mid forties to 95◦F. Oaxaca de Juaráez is not a humid
city. The elevation is approximately 5,000 feet above sea level and the air is normally
dry. Be prepared for cooler weather from November through February. A light jacket
and sweater is advisable. During May through September, a small umbrella may be
useful. It would be prudent to pack sunglasses, sunscreen lotion, a hat, and an alarm
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Temperature (F◦) Rainfall
High Low (inches)
January 77 47 0.1
February 81 50 0.2
March 85 54 0.6
April 88 57 1.5
May 87 59 3.2
June 83 60 6.7
July 82 59 3.5
August 81 59 4.1
September 80 58 4.9
October 79 56 2.0
November 79 52 0.4
December 77 48 0.2
Administration and Instruction
The Site Coordinators provide instruction in Spanish at the elementary,
intermediate, and advanced level and provide educational talks and city walks. Local
experienced speakers and academics give lectures on Hispanic/Indian culture, history,
and customs. You will be pleasantly surprised at the breadth of the program in
archaeology, history, and culture, as well as arts, crafts, and culinary arts. We
recommend that you bring a Spanish-English, English-Spanish dictionary, writing
instruments, and a pad of paper.
There is a special final dinner at a Oaxacan restaurant. Meals are informal events.
Spanish conversations are encouraged during the meals as well as on the field trips and
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To ensure distributive fairness during coach rides for field trips, Elderhostel
requests that participants rotate seating from one trip to another. Transportation
providers do not allow smoking on the vehicles.
If you plan to arrive before the first day of the program, or if you now wish to have
a single room, please contact our office in writing, by phone, or by e-mail. The cost for
a single room supplement is $425.00 USD. Extra nights at the hotel cost
approximately $60.00-$80.00 (US dollars) per night for a single room or double room
paid directly to the hotel upon check out. The hotel takes credit cards and cash, pesos
or dollars, but not personal checks. The address of our office is:
School of Social Work
875 S. Normal Ave
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Carbondale, IL 62901-4329
Telephone: (618) 453-2243 or (618) 453-1204
Fax: (618) 453-1219
e-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Fortunately, the majority of participants seldom become ill while in Oaxaca. If you
do become ill, the Site Coordinators are equipped with a list of English-speaking
doctors with excellent reputations. The doctors include both general practitioners as
well as specialists. If a doctor is unable to make a visit to the Hotel, the Site
Coordinator will escort you to a reputable clinic with English-speaking doctors or an
interpreter. Normally, you must pay for any required medical service or related
expense at the time service is provided. AIG may directly pay some medical provider
fees while in Oaxaca. Claims for reimbursement may be submitted after returning
home, and will be administered according to the policies and procedures explained in
the AIG/ELDERHOSTEL insurance pamphlet. Southern Illinois University does not
reimburse for insurance claims, nor do we file claims on behalf of
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The following list has the contact names and numbers at Southern Illinois
University that your family or friends can call in case they need to reach you in an
CONTACT WORK PHONE # HOME PHONE # PERSONAL PH#
Dr. Mizan R. Miah (618) 453-2243 (618) 549-5025 (618) 521-5950
Paul D’Angelo, M.S. (618) 453-1204 (618) 559-6665 (618) 521-6757
The person contacted will immediately notify the Site Coordinator who will inform
you of the situation as soon as possible.
In case of an extreme emergency such as death, the Site Coordinator, who will call
a local doctor and contact the U.S. Consular Agent and emergency services for
assistance, will handle arrangements. This emergency will be pursuant to U.S. State
Department and Elderhostel Policy and Procedures. Our office, Elderhostel
Headquarters, and the American Consular Agent will assist you and your contacts in
the United States as a matter of course. Please review the AIG Insurance brochure and
any purchased optional insurance documents sent to you by ELDERHOSTEL at the
time of your registration.
During times of political turmoil, participants may be required to fill out a form
with personal information. These forms, along with a group itinerary, will be taken to
the American Consular Agent by the Site Coordinators in Oaxaca. In the case of
emergencies requiring evacuation of hostelers from Oaxaca, the Site Coordinator will
take necessary action in consultation with the American Consular Agent. Hostelers
should comply with the evacuation arrangements in an emergency situation arising
from political turmoil, natural disasters, or otherwise. It should be noted that this policy
has never been invoked during the history of the Oaxaca program.
The U.S. Consular Agent in Oaxaca is Mr. Mark Leyes. His phone number when
calling from the U.S. is: 011-52-951- 514-3054 or 011-52-951-516-2853; Mobile: 011-
52-044-951-547-1185; Fax 011-52-951-516-2701. Our office informs the U.S.
Consular Agent of our presence in Oaxaca. You may also visit the US State
Department’s web site: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35749.htm.
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The U.S. Embassy is located in Mexico City. The phone number when calling from
the U.S. is: (011) (52) 555-080-2000. Our office informs the U.S. Embassy in Mexico
and the local U.S. Consular Agent’s office that your Elderhostel Program is in session.
We suggest you leave a copy of your air itinerary and a copy of your identification
page of your passport at home with family or friends in case they need to contact you.
Passports are mandatory for international travel. The hotel supports laptops, and
Oaxaca has cyber-cafes with computers to send and receive e-mail. For your laptop’s
power supply, you will need a two prong adapter for the outlet in some places. The
electrical current is USA 110 v.
Prevention of Traveler’s Diarrhea In Mexico
Some tourists in Mexico may experience traveler’s diarrhea. Most tap water in this
part of Mexico is not potable (drinkable). Following are some useful tips:
Wash your hands with soap, or use moist, disposable towelettes frequently.
Drink only bottled water in Mexico. Bottled water provided daily by the
Hotel Misión San Felipe is safe to drink. The hotel’s restaurant provides
purified water at meal times.
In some eating establishments, the ice not is safe. When in doubt, order your
beverage without ice (sin hielo, por favor).
Do not brush your teeth with tap water. Use the water in the bottles provided
by the hotel, purchased bottled water, or mouthwash as a rinse.
Many people have reported that taking acidophilus is helpful. The good
bacteria help improve the flow of the intestinal tract.
In addition, you may consider packing Pepto-Bismol (or similar OTC medication),
sinus medication, pain reliever, and antiseptic cream. Do bring an adequate supply of
your own prescription drugs in the original containers. Pharmacies sell OTC
medications similar to those available in the USA.
Following the above measures will significantly reduce the chance of getting
traveler’s diarrhea or other ailments. When in doubt, err on the side of caution. This
and other safety related information will be reviewed in your first orientation session in
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Program Evaluation is an integral element of our work. Our organization has direct
responsibility for quality control. To assist us at the end of the program, the Site
Coordinators will distribute an SIUC Elderhostel evaluation form to each participant or
you will receive an evaluation form in the mail with a return envelope. At your
convenience, please complete and return the evaluation. We receive and review
evaluation forms and use them to supplement our program monitoring. In order to
maintain both Elderhostel’s and our own quality standards, your comments and
suggestions are critical. After the program, you will receive an evaluation form from
Elderhostel. Please return the post-program evaluation forms directly to Elderhostel
International for review.
All Elderhostel participants traveling to Oaxaca should note the following:
1. Please do not walk about with money, valuables, or documents that you cannot
afford to lose. The Hotel Misión San Felipe has digital lock boxes in each room
at no cost, and we suggest you use them for valuables, passport, tickets, and
extra cash. The Hotel will distribute two keys for double rooms. Please ask at
the front desk if they forget to do so. The Hotel will charge a fee of 150 pesos
for each lost room key.
2. The Elderhostel Program in Oaxaca cannot arrange accommodations for guests
or relatives who are not enrolled in the program. Participation in the Spanish
classes, lectures, and field trips and excursions on bus trips is reserved for those
who register through the Boston Elderhostel Office and make payment prior to
3. Applicants who are on the waiting list must contact Elderhostel International
concerning available spaces. Those arriving with only a waiting list number
cannot be accepted unless approved by Boston and the Program Director at
4. U.S. customs permit $800 in purchases per person without duty. However, art
and craft items are duty free. You will be required to fill out a US Customs
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Card to reenter the USA. Normally this is completed on your return flight. The
airline will provide the customs and immigration forms.
Preparing for Success
Our philosophy is that learning has no age barriers; that new ideas and experiences
are exciting and enriching at every stage of life, especially for active older adults with
time to savor them. We view these years as a time to meet new challenges, deepen
prior knowledge, and develop new friendships. Our goal is to understand other
countries and people as they are, not as we might expect or wish them to be. Traveling
and learning with newfound friends, guided by competent professionals, can be the key
to finding a high level of comfort and comprehension in new and different
environments. If you are eager to continue learning, Elderhostel International will be a
wonderful experience. On behalf of our staff and associates, best wishes for an
outstanding Elderhostel International learning adventure!
While you will not need "extra" cash to pay for standard program elements, you
should have sufficient funds to pay for shopping and for any unforeseen events. As
explained elsewhere, the Elderhostel Travel Insurance Plan operates on a
reimbursement basis of recovered expenses. Neither the Group Leader nor other
program staff are authorized to make cash outlays to hostelers for such expenses. In
the event of a mishap such as losing luggage or important personal effects, or your
needing to pay for a doctor's visit, you will need access to local currency.
We advise you to bring some local currency for immediate expenses upon arrival.
It is usually possible to exchange dollars for pesos at your local bank at home or at the
Exchanges in the Mexico City airport. Some hostelers bring traveler's checks for
security purposes, or hide cash on their person, or lock currency in the Hotel lock box.
Please note that most banks in Oaxaca require a valid passport in order to cash
Traveler’s Checks. Credit cards are taken at some establishments such as the Hotel
Misión San Felipe and cash advances are also available at ATMs and banks in Oaxaca.
During orientation, your program staff will tell you how, when, and where you can
obtain local currency.
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The third meal of each day is the responsibility of the hosteler. Afternoon and
evening meals in local restaurants are normally six to ten U.S. dollars plus a 15%
VAT, and if you so choose, a 15% tip. Your Site Coordinator will have a provide a list
of reliable Oaxacan restaurants for you at the Orientation meeting.
To summarize, while all of your Elderhostel program components are included, it is
your responsibility to pay for all other expenses you may incur during your time
abroad. For the most comfortable and enjoyable experience, please plan ahead
A Safe Trip Abroad
[excerpted from U.S. State Department background notes] -- Millions of U.S.
citizens travel abroad each year. The odds are in your favor that you will have a safe
and incident-free trip. But crime and violence, as well as unexpected difficulties, do
befall U.S. citizens in all parts of the world.
Safety begins when you pack. To avoid being a target, dress conservatively. A
flashy wardrobe or one that is too casual can mark you as a tourist. Avoid the
appearance of affluence. Carry the minimum amount of valuables necessary and plan a
place or places to conceal them. Your passport, cash and credit cards are safest when
locked in a hotel safe. When you carry them on your person, you may wish to conceal
them in several places rather than putting them in one wallet or pouch. Avoid
handbags, fanny packs, and outside pockets that are easy targets for thieves. Inside
pockets and a sturdy shoulder bag with the strap worn across your chest are somewhat
safer. The safest place to carry valuables is probably a pouch or money belt that you
wear under your clothing.
When you leave the U.S., you are subject to the laws of the country where you are.
Learn as much as you can about the local laws and customs of the places you plan to
visit. Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would in an unknown
city at home. Be especially cautious in crowded subways, train stations, elevators,
tourist sites, market places, festivals, and marginal areas of cities. Don't use short-cuts,
narrow alleys, or poorly-lit streets. Try not to travel alone at night. Avoid public
demonstrations and other civil disturbances.
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To avoid scam artists, beware of strangers who approach you offering bargains or
to be your guide. Beware of pickpockets. They often have an accomplice who will
jostle you, ask you for directions or the time, or distract you by creating a disturbance.
Beware of groups of vagrant children. Wear the shoulder strap of your bag across your
chest and walk with the bag away from the curb to avoid drive-by purse-snatchers. Try
to seem purposeful when you move about. Even if you are lost, act as if you know
where you are going. When possible, ask directions only from individuals in authority.
Do not be afraid to alert authorities if you feel threatened in any way. If your
possessions are lost or stolen, report the loss immediately to the local police. Keep a
copy of the report for insurance claims. At all times take responsibility for your own
No Smoking Policy
The great majority of Elderhostelers are non-smokers. Some never smoked at all
and many have stopped smoking because of the health hazards involved. Others have
respiratory problems made worse by second-hand smoke. While it is impossible for us
to regulate the habits of residents of other countries, we try to minimize the effects of
smoking during Elderhostel programs. We try to insure that smokers and non-smokers
are not assigned as roommates, and that there are separate areas set aside in restaurants,
lounges, etc., when possible. In the event that there is no other option than to assign a
non-smoker and smoker as roommates, the smoker is asked to refrain from smoking in
the room. For the benefit of everyone, smoking is prohibited in classrooms and on
buses or other conveyances. Group leaders, drivers, and other staff are expected to
observe non-smoking areas established during the program.
A Tip On Tipping
Faculty and Staff working with Elderhostel are compensated for their services. In
addition, modest gratuities for program-related staff are included in the program cost,
and it is the responsibility of the Program Director to make disbursements as
appropriate. Therefore, we discourage organized tipping in any form. Not all hostelers
share the desire to pay additional gratuities, and many feel pressured and
uncomfortable if approached by other hostelers to contribute to a group gift.
Moreover, Site Coordinators, lecturers, guides, and bus drivers are not permitted to
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request tips or take up collections for tips even if asked to do so by members of the
group. Host institutions may not, under any circumstances, solicit monetary gifts or
donations from their Elderhostel students.
We understand that some hostelers wish to give monetary rewards for outstanding
service and we encourage your generosity, but if you wish to tip, we ask that you do so
privately. While on your own at any time outside of the program schedule, you should
be guided by local custom. For example, 15% is an acceptable tip at a restaurant. Your
Site Coordinator will be happy to advise you if asked.
The Elderhostel Spirit (reprinted from Boston Elderhostel, INC.)
We believe learning is a lifelong process, which sharing new ideas, challenges, and
experiences is rewarding in every season of life. Elderhostelers come together as an
assortment of diverse individuals who share a passion for learning. This common bond
creates a rich environment for intellectual and personal growth, a supportive group
spirit, and opportunities for making new friends. Some important things to remember:
Elderhostel is an educational program; hostelers are considered students, not tourists.
Programs are not for credit, but for the enjoyment of learning.
There are no exams or grades.
We are open to all persons and no special educational background is needed or
At the core of our programs are liberal arts courses designed to stimulate your
thinking and increase your knowledge. In addition to background lectures and
discussions, we also provide fascinating field trips, and extracurricular activities for a
balanced schedule of active learning and doing.
Our budgetary guidelines are to seek the best value at the best cost. Just as you will
be sensitive towards other cultures and customs, we trust you will be adaptable with
respect to meals and accommodations that may be quite different from what you are
used to at home. Accepting and dealing positively with such differences will greatly
enhance your appreciation of the experience.
As elders who have attained wisdom and a wealth of life experiences as well as a
bounty of years, we look forward to your full participation and the enrichment it will
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provide. There will be some free time to pursue individual interests, take care of
personal business, sightseeing on your own, shopping, laundry, etc. Because you are a
vitally important part of Elderhostel, we request that you plan to undertake any
independent touring or visiting friends/relatives either before or after the program.
Successful Elderhostelers are friendly, active, adaptable, and able to function
independently and as members of the group, know how to deal flexibly with unex-
pected circumstances and changing conditions, how to pace themselves, and have a
sense of humor. Having an attitude of openness towards new people, places, and
customs may be the most significant factor in enjoying the program. On behalf of our
staff and esteemed associates, best wishes for an outstanding adventure in lifelong
Spanish Language and Hispanic Culture Itinerary
In the Spanish Language and Hispanic Culture Elderhostel, hostelers will increase
their knowledge of conversational Spanish Language, and gain an appreciation for the
culture and history of Oaxaca through lectures, walks, and field trips. The following
itinerary (subject to change due to holidays and speaker’s schedules) outlines the times
and duration of Spanish classes, lectures, field trips, excursions, free time, and other
program related events. Please note that individual Site Coordinators may rearrange
this sample schedule due to local conditions and schedules. Some programs begin and
end on other days, but all programs are two weeks in duration.
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ITINERARY - WEEK #1
DAY TIME ACTIVITY
Sunday 7:30 pm Supper
Monday 7:30 am Breakfast daily
8:50 am Orientation in Hotel salón
10 am – 12 pm Clases de español
4:00 pm Paseo (walk) to points near the city center
Tuesday 8:45-11:15 am Clases de español
11:45 am -1:30 pm Paseo to Benito Juárez market; San Juan Church; chocolate
factory, and Mercado de Artesanías
6:00 pm Lecture by invited speaker
Wednesday 8:45-11:15 am Clases de español
11:45 am -1:30 pm Paseo to Santo Domingo Church and Museums of Graphic and
Contemporary Arts, et al.
6:00 pm Lecture by invited speaker
Thursday 8:45-11:15 am Clases de españo
2:00 pm -6:30 pm Field trip to Teotitlán (weaving village); El Tule
Friday 8:45-11:15 am Clases de español
11:45 am – 1:15 pm Paseo to remains of the colonial aqueduct; ARIPO, a
government sponsored art/craft shop
6:15 pm Leave for dinner and folkloric dances at the Camino Real Hotel
Saturday 8:50 am Field trip to Mitla and Lambityeco Return around 1:15 pm.
6:30 pm Lecture on Monte Albán, Mitla, and Zapotecan/Mixtecan cultures.
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ITINERARY - WEEK #2
DAY TIME ACTIVITY
Sunday 8:50 am Field trip to Monte Albán and Museo Regional to see the treasures
of Tomb 7. The sun is fierce -- take hats! Return around
12:30 pm. Free afternoon and evening.
Monday 8:45-11:15 am Clases de español
1:30 pm Field trip
8:30 pm Performance by a local musical group “La Tuna” in salón
Tuesday 8:45-11:15 am Clases de español
11:45 am -12:30 pm Paseo to Tamayo Museum
2:00-6:00 pm Field trip to Ocotlán
Wednesday 8:45-11:15 am Paseo to La Soledad Church, its museum, and the new City Hall
11:45 am -1:30 pm Clases de español
4:00 pm Paseo to the Palacio de Gobierno to see the murals of Diego
Rivera’s disciple, Arturo Garcia Bustos
Thursday 8:50 am Field trip to Coyotopec (black pottery) and San Martin (wood
Carvings) Return around 2 pm
6:00 pm Cultural activity
Friday 8:45-11:45 am Clases de español
Departure orientation and final meeting in salón
Saturday 7:30 am Breakfast for those not leaving on an early flight (sack lunch for
those on early flights). Transportation to Airport.
End of program.
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