Overview & Highlights
Head for Oaxaca and observe Mexico’s biggest annual cultural event, the Day of the Dead celebrations
This eventful short holiday invites you to observe the colourful traditions and rituals leading up to the Day of the Dead, a festivity which is enthusiastically embraced in Mexico. You spend some time in Mexico City before moving on to Oaxaca which, with its airy patios and graceful arcades, is famed for its colourful market, serapes, crafts and dances. The celebrations are particularly animated in this region.
The Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) involves a traditional ritual, both vivacious and contemplative, during which Mexicans pray for and remember friends or family members who have passed away and assist them on their spiritual journey.
Death is not to be feared: this is a celebration of the lives of those who have died. The so-called Day of the Dead – actually three days – gets under way on Halloween, 31 October and extends into 1-2 November, coinciding with All Saints Day and All Souls Day in the Catholic calendar. Exuberant parades with rumbustious music, where participants wear ghoulish costumes and skull-masks in vibrant colours take place alongside calmer, quieter celebrations featuring anecdotes, many amusing, about the lives of the departed. Observe local families and learn about the fascinating Zapotec culture, an indigenous pre-Columbian civilisation which thrived in the valley of Oaxaca.
- City tour and Anthropology Museum in Mexico City
- Oaxaca: Explore the city, local markets and artisan towns
- Visit the Zapotec ruins of Mitla and Monte Alban
- Observe traditional Day of the Dead activities in Oaxaca city
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26 Oct: Arrive Mexico City.
27 Oct: Explore Mexico City with a guide.
28 Oct: At leisure in Mexico City with optional excursions.
29 Oct: Fly to Oaxaca: rest of day at leisure
30 Oct: Valley of Ocotlan, Coyotepec and Tilcajete.
31 Oct: Zaachila, Day of the Dead altar, Xoxo Cemetery
01 Nov: Day of the Innocents. Visit Teotitlan del Valle, Mitla
02 Nov: Day of the Dead. At leisure in Oaxaca. Excursion to Monte Alban.
03 Nov: Return to Mexico City
Things to do
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Inspired by this trip
Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.
Your edit for Latin American inspiration
Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.View Extraordinary Inspiration
Sophie Barber - Travel Expert
Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.
Ben Line - Travel Expert
Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.
Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert
Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.
Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert
Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.
Juliet Ellwood - Travel Expert
After graduating with a degree in Anthropology and History and having been fascinated by Latin America since childhood by the book featuring photos of Nazca, Juliet first visited the region in 2003. Since then, Juliet has visited the majority of countries in Latin America but has particularly extensive experience with Peru, a country she loves for many reasons but not least, its incredible archaeological richness and delicious food!
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.