Inside – Passages

Summer , 2017

Cost: $2,495 (Double Occupancy)

Cross Cultural Journeys is partnering with Kurt Hoelting and Inside Passages for a physical and mental experience in the incredible Alaska wilderness.

Your trip with Inside Passages will take you to the heart of an increasingly rare wild coastal ecosystem in Alaska's Panhandle region, otherwise known as the Alexander Archipelago, or more commonly, Southeast Alaska. Unlike any other region in the world this region contains the 17-million acre Tongass National Forest, the largest in the US National Forest System, with much of the last intact old growth temperate rainforest left on the planet. Stretching from Dixon Entrance to Icy Bay, this tapestry of islands, fjords and glaciated mountains contains over 15,000 miles of coastline, more than the entire contiguous United States combined. Because of the remote and rugged nature of the region, much of it remains essentially wild in character right down to tidewater. The Tongass region is also home to the world's largest concentrations of bald eagles, and many other free roaming wild species that are endangered or extinct in the lower 48 states.

Your trip will begin and end in Petersburg, a thriving fishing community on Mitkof Island, at the junction of Frederick Sound and the Wrangell Narrows. Petersburg offers a spectacular view of the Coast Range and close proximity to the impressive LeConte Glacier, the southernmost glacier in North America to terminate at tidewater (hence generating icebergs).

Inside Passages operate on the Tongass National Forest under special use permit from the USDA Forest Service.

Daily Itinerary


Day 1| Thursday, January 19| Oaxaca The Oaxaca journey begins with arrival in Oaxaca city. After a transfer from the airport to the hotel, we will participate in a Welcoming Circle.  We will stay at Hotel Maela, a centrally located lovely hotel, in the old city of Oaxaca. Hotel Maela


Day 2| Friday, January 20| Oaxaca After enjoying a breakfast at the hotel we head out on a morning excursion to the market in Ocotlan, one of the region’s biggest and best markets. After a lunch we have an introduction to Traditional Medicine and Welcome Ceremony, with a personal demonstration of a ritual cleansing (Limpia). Dinner is on your own to experience the variety and selection of  restaurants Oaxaca has to offer. Hotel Maela (B/L)


Day 3| Saturday, January 21| Oaxaca After breakfast at the hotel we will make a morning excursion to Monte Alban, a pre-Columbian Zapotec site with its famous pyramids and carved figures. In the afternoon we will return for an exploration of Oaxaca City. Dinner on your own. Hotel Maela (B/L)


Day 4| Sunday, January 22| Sierra Norte We journey into the Sierra Norte  where we will stay in a small village, visit with a curandera, and experience the amazing diversity of botanical medicine with a guided walk, we then hike for a day following a pre-Columbian trading path (the van carries our luggage, and anyone else who wants to ride) through the mountains to another pre-Columbian village where we will be hosted and given a tour of nearby sacred ruins. These villages are part of the Pueblos Mancomunados, a cooperative group with communal land and ecotourism project. Santa Catarina Lachatao (B/L/D) Morning drive to Sierra Norte, Optional 10 mile hike along the river with a daypack, or take a shorter walk and drive through the villages with the van and the luggage. We hike on an old pre-Hispanic trading path (hiking time around 5 hours).



Fees for these activities go directly to the inhabitants of the village.


Mexico 1WS

The Camino Real used to reach from Veracruz at the Gulf Coast to the central valley of Oaxaca. Parts of this path still exist like our hike from Latuvi to Amatlan. Most of the vegetation is a very old oak forest but on the way, you will see spectacular phenomenon. On this hike, for example, you will find the Spanish moss that changes the woods into kind of a fairy tale forest. We finish the hike in Santa Catarina Lachatao one of the two prehispanic villages of the Pueblos Mancommunados at 6900 feet high where we spend the night.


Located less than 60 km northeast of Oaxaca city, they comprise eight small towns perched in a common land territory of 29000 hectares of mountains and woods, which offer the opportunity to enjoy nature and get a first hand experience of rural life in this region of Mexico. The local communities are involved in every aspect of their ecotourism project. 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). Bedding is provided, although you are welcome to bring an extra blanket. Bring warm clothing, good walking shoes, long trousers, a hat and sunglasses. Overnight stays are in the guesthouses of the villages, they are simple but very comfortable with private bathrooms fireplaces and hot water. Santa Catarina Lachatao (B/L/D)


Day 5| Monday, January 23 | Morning session at pre-Columbian site in Santa Caterina Lachatao called “El Cerro del Jaguar” We hike to the site with stops along the way for teachings and activities and engage in a ritual at the top. In the afternoon, we will indulge in a traditional Mexican steam bath ceremony in Temezcal. There will be  opportunities for individual sessions with curandero, the local healers for anyone who is interested. Sierra Norte Santa Catarina Lachatao (B/L/D)


Day 6| Tuesday January 24 | Sierra Sur We head up into the Sierra Sur where we stay at a gorgeous yoga retreat permaculture center, high in the mountains, and experience what the area has to offer. Depart after breakfast for ride to Sierra Sur, Lunch stop in Tilcajete where we take a guided tour of the artisan workshop of Jacobo, to witness the construction of the alibrijes (the wooden painted animals) Night six: Sierra Sur: Refugio Terraza de la Tierra in adobe shared cabins. Refugio Terraza de la Tierra (B/L/D)


Day 7| Wednesday, January 25 | Sierra Sur Take the day to explore your amazing surroundings, participate in a yoga class, join in a sharing circle. There will be optional hiking and an open space sharing. Refugio Terraza de la Tierra (B/L/D)


Day 8| Thursday, January 26 |Coastal Jungle Depart after breakfast for transfer to Pacific coast winding mountain road (take precaution for motion sickness) 2.5 hours, visit botanical gardens of Hagia Sofia, organic lunch at garden. Stop at waterfall for luxurious river swimming, transfer to coffee plantation “el Mamey”- driving 2.5 hours, (1.5 on dirt road). We will spend the night at the coffee plantation, “el Mamey” We are guests at a private family home (this is not a hotel). Cozy basic accommodation with shared rooms and bathrooms with cold water at the coffee plantation. El Mamey (B/L/D)

Oaxaca SellerWS

Day 9| Friday January 27| Coastal Jungle Introduction to the curandera Elizabeth, our hostess and a gifted healer and have a discussion of healing techniques. Experience the power of her healing with our group rituals or an optional personal session, and let the magic of Oaxacan traditional medicine inform your life. Tour of plantation, river, swimming pools, local agriculture, optional hikes El Mamey (B/L/D)


Day 10| Saturday, January 28| Coastal Jungle Participation in rituals using the natural environment, opportunities for personal sessions, optional hikes, yoga class, cooking class, sharing circle, open space sharing. El Mamey (B/L/D)


Day 11| Sunday, January 29| Coastal Jungle After breakfast, we receive a transfer to the Huatulco airport or to the coastal beaches in San Agustinillo for an optional post trip addition.

Optional Addition: Three nights on the Pacific beach of Agustinillo, a small fishing village, culminating in the third night with waxing a crescent moon. The trip will include excursion to watch the sunset at Punta Cometa- the most southerly point in North America, early morning ocean trip in motorboat to hopefully see whales, turtles, birds, dolphins, etc, and explore the rock formations of the coast. Will include opportunity to explore the lagoon at La Ventinilla. Other outings might include the Turtle Museum in Mazunte, and the natural cosmetic factory.


On the coast of Oaxaca it is possible to visit a "small window", a rock formation created through centuries of erosion by waves. This natural formation has inspired the name of a small village: "La Ventanilla" which overlooks a mangrove swamp. There are currently 25 families living in this village, all engaged in the task of managing the mangrove swamp and preserving its biodiversity. The mangrove swamp is home to various species of birds such as woodpeckers, kingfishers, diving ducks, herons and a wide variety of reptiles such as crocodiles and iguanas, many of which are endangered species. In these lagoons, fringed by mangrove trees, there is a profusion of crustaceans and microorganisms upon which turtles, dolphins and fish feed. This phenomenon occurs during the rainy season when seawater enters the lagoons. In 1997 hurricane Pauline nearly destroyed this sensitive ecosystem. For this reason the inhabitants started a project (called "Servicios Ecoturisticos La Ventanilla") to reforest the mangrove and protect the area. With the help of the Body Shop they built an information center and offer boat trips to the fresh water lagoon as well as horseback riding on the beach.

Mexico 2WS

Journey Details


INCLUDED: All meals on the schedule (B/L/D on itinerary); all accommodations and transportation; preparation materials

NOT INCLUDED: International and internal flights; Meals not on the schedule; additional snacks for the van ride, Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks; tips to local guides


January 19 - 29, 2017


Cost: $2,495 (Double Occupancy)

Add: $110 (Single Room)

Extension Program: $450, including two boat tours

Add: $90 (single room)

Journey Leader

Maria Cook EAMP, Lac, LMT is a licensed acupuncturist and body worker.  She has worked with alternative medicine and personal transformation for over 25 years, has studied extensively in Mexico, China, Taiwan and elsewhere, and appreciates many modalities.  As a USCG licensed captain, she has led adventure travel expeditions aboard her charter sailboat in the Caribbean, taught seamanship for Outward Bound, and served as a watch leader on the schooner Adventures teaching environmental education. She has led Women’s Transformational Journeys, both kayak camping and in open boats, rowing and sailing.  Her passion is to combine empowering experiences in nature, the power of alternative healing and traditional medicine, and the capacity of group work to heal and transform.  She is in private practice on Bainbridge Island and leads trips world-wide. Sign up for her newsletter:


321 High School Rd NE, Suite D3, Box 353, Bainbridge Island WA 98110

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Call: (800) 353-2276



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