Mexico's Day of the Dead in Oaxaca

National Geographic Journeys, Oaxaca to Oaxaca
Image by G Adventures

Information from G Adventures

Tour description

Celebrate one of Mexico’s most intriguing—and unusual—festivals in the eclectic city of Oaxaca, where indigenous culture holds strong. During Day of the Dead, which takes place at the end of October and early November each year, pre-Hispanic traditions honouring the departed merge with Catholic feasts to create a truly unique holiday. Delve into the bizarre and beautiful spirit of Día de los Muertos, witnessing spectacular street dances, costumes, and altars while discovering the picturesque landscapes and mouthwatering flavours of Oaxaca.

What's included

  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Oaxaca Culinary Experience, Oaxaca
  • Arrival transfer
  • Visits to observe cemetery vigils in the towns of Xoxocotlán and Atzompa
  • Oaxaca and Etla Valley Day of the Dead parades
  • Orientation walk and market visit in Oaxaca
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Take part in the day of the dead festival
  • Explore mexico's artistic heartland
  • Experience the culinary delights and traditional cooking methods of this region
  • Visit the ruins of monte albán or mitla

Itinerary

Day 1: Oaxaca Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included.

Day 2: Oaxaca Take an orientation walk through Oaxaca, known for its colourful crafts, unique cuisine, and vibrant Day of the Dead celebrations. During our walk, we’ll visit two bustling markets selling local foods, ornaments, and many Day of the Dead essentials. Over the course of the week, immerse yourself in the festival’s theatrical parades, watching people dressed in elaborate costumes march to the tune of brass bands; and observe local families gathering at candle-lit altars and graves on visits to the city’s cemeteries.

Day 3: Oaxaca Set out to explore the culinary delights of Oaxaca with a local host. Learn how chocolate is produced at a grinding mill, and flip your own tortillas at a tortilla-making workshop. Continue to a local family's kitchen to taste an array of delicious Oaxacan dishes and chat with your hosts about traditional cooking methods and Oaxacan food culture. You’ll also have free time to explore the city and its surroundings.

Day 4: Oaxaca Spend the day experiencing Oaxaca’s Day of the Dead festivities. Attend atmospheric vigils, photograph the boisterous parades, and learn about the spiritual significance of the holiday’s rituals. You’ll also get to sip your share of mezcal, Oaxaca’s signature spirit—made from a variety of species of agave—and enjoy an optional tour of a mezcal factory.

Day 5: Oaxaca Continue exploring the captivating culture of the Day of the Dead. In your free time, choose to head to the nearby ruins of Mitla for a guided tour. One of Mexico’s best known archaeological sites, it is believed that Mitla was founded as a Zapotec burial ground. Or, wander among the plazas and pyramids of the Monte Albán ruins, a Zapotec site dating to the eighth century BC.

Day 6: Oaxaca Enjoy the last of the Day of the Dead festivities. You may also opt to visit a nearby artisan community for a look at Oaxaca’s renowned traditional crafts, including pottery and handwoven textiles. Alternatively, learn how to prepare mole, the flavoursome Mexican sauce that comprises a famously inexhaustible list of ingredients.

Day 7: Oaxaca Depart at any time.