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Mexico Dia de Los Muertos

Where to celebrate day of the dead in Mexico

Festival of Life and Death Traditions

Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos) is a time when people remember and honor their deceased loved ones, with the idea that the spirits return on this one day of the year to be together with their families. Festivities take place in cities and villages throughout Mexico, though each location may have different customs and ways of honoring their dead. You can witness Day of the Dead celebrations anywhere in Mexico, but here are a few of the places where festivities are particularly colorful. So, where to celebrate day of the dead in Mexico?

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Where to celebrate day of the dead in mexico

Day of the Dead Celebrations in Mexico 2020


The Historic Center of Oaxaca is considered Human World Heritage by UNESCO. Rich in indigenous traditions and folklore, Oaxaca city is known for its artistic rituals when it comes to celebrating the Day of the Dead. Contests are held for the best altar displays, known as ofrenda in Spanish, and for the most elaborate sand tapestries with displays of these artworks found in public spaces across the city. During the night, visitors should plan to take a tour of the main pantheon of Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán. It’s the perfect opportunity to live and experience this beautiful tradition first-hand among the tombs, altars, music and colors.

✨✨✨ 2020 Update: The state governor, Alejandro Murat, reported on Sunday, October 18, 2020 that due to the outbreak of Covid-19 that occurred in the entity in recent days, he has made the decision to suspend all activities for the Day of the Dead festivities.Source:

Janitzio Island and Patzcuaro - Michoacán

Day of the Dead in Mexico Traditions -Janitzio Island - MExplor Blog

Patzcuaro, located in the Mexican state of Michoacán has long been touted as one of the best places in Mexico to experience Dia de los Muertos. Set on the eerie Lake Pátzcuaro, locals celebrate the Night of the Dead on the evening of 1 November in cemeteries with their loved ones, lighting up the graveyards with candles and tributes. There are even contests for the most elaborately decorated altar.

It´s neighbourgh Janitzio is a small island in Patzcuaro Lake and is easily reached by boat from Patzcuaro. The island is home to the Purepecha indigenous group (sometimes called Tarascans) who have elaborate Day of the Dead rituals. There are processions and music, folk dances are performed and families gather in the cemetery to spend the night chanting and singing. Perhaps the most impressive sight is the fishermen in their rowboats with torches lighting up the lake.

✨✨✨ 2020 Update: Unfortunately due to the current situation due to COVID-19, this celebration is not going to take place. The island of Janitzio will suspend the passage of tourism to one of the largest celebrations in the country, the evening of the Night of the Dead on October 31, November 1 and 2.

Mexico City

Mexico City is THE place where to celebrate day of the dead in Mexico. Mexico City’s hottest Dia de Muertos celebration is not only inspired by tradition — it’s also inspired by 007: Spectre, the 2015 “James Bond” film that opens with a crowded, skull-laden procession through the city’s streets. The parade came to life in 2016 for the first time and has grown each year since, with millions attending as elegant Catrinas and colorful alebrijes (mythical creatures) march nearly three miles down the grand Paseo de la Reforma. In 2016, Mexico City held its first ever Day of the Dead parade—and it’s grown to be a celebration visitors should not miss. Giant floats, colorfully costumed entertainers, and beautifully painted skeletons, also known as catrinas, dance through the streets.

✨✨✨ 2020 Update: In-person parade canceled for 2020. ✅ It is being reported that Mexico City will put on a virtual Day of the Dead parade for 2020 that can be watched from anywhere


The once-small-town of Mixquic in the southwest of the capital retains much of its rural ambience and folk traditions. Thanks to the strong indigenous roots found here, celebrations are imbued with a tangible sense of reverence. Cemeteries are the focus of the event with beautiful marigold and candle arrangements decorating the graves. A highlight is the street procession that follows a cardboard coffin and marks the beginning of the first all-night vigil. In the weeks leading up to Dia de Muertos, a variety of events are held including poetry readings, plays and dance performances.

✨✨✨ 2020 Update: For the first time there will be no road to Mictlán from San Andrés Mixquic, in Tláhuac Mexico City (CDMX), informed the mayor of the demarcation Raymundo Martínez Vite.

San Luis Potosi

Day of the Dead in Mexico Traditions -San Luis Potosi - MExplor Blog

The indigenous people of La Huasteca Potosina celebrate all aspects of the Day of the Dead tradition, which they know as XantoloXantolo includes all the classic celebrations: marigolds, sugar skulls, elaborate altars and skeleton decorations. But Xantolo in this region also includes festive, day-long parties in the town square starting in late October and running to early November. In this area it is also common for locals to organize and create “welcome arches” that include various offerings for visitors traveling through. Another beautiful place where to celebrate day of the dead in Mexico.

Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas

Day of the Dead in Mexico Traditions -Chiapas - MExplor Blog

This pleasant colonial town on the Río Grijalva is 7 miles (12 km) from Tuxtla de Gutierrez, capital of the Mexican state of Chiapas. For Day of the Dead the cemetery is decorated in a lively manner with colorful ribbons, flowers and candles. There is live music in the cemetery as families serenade the deceased on their short-lived return. 

✨✨✨ 2020 Update: Regarding the health contingency due to Covid-19, Chiapas authorities are already preparing actions to commemorate the Day of the Dead in several municipalities of the entity in order to avoid crowds in pantheons and the risk of infection by the virus.
Controls will be implemented in the areas surrounding the cemeteries, the installation of mechanical games will not be allowed and the implementation of dry law in the perimeter of these places is contemplated.

Riviera Maya

Xcaret theme park in the Riviera Maya hosts an annual Festival de la Vida y la Muerte, “Festival of Life and Death,” in honor of the Day of the Dead. The festival runs from October 30th to November 2nd, and includes theater and dance performances, concerts, conferences, parades and special tours, as well as special Day of the Dead rituals.

✨✨✨Update 2020

Xcaret suspends Festival of Life and Death Traditions 2020

Festival Website: Festival of Life and Death

San Miguel de Allende

Considered one of the best places to visit in Mexico, every year this small town holds a four-day festival, known as “La Calaca,” as part of the ceremonies of Day of the Dead throughout the month of November. The festival works to promote and preserve the ancient traditions of the celebrations.


The birthplace of engraver Jose Guadalupe Posada celebrates Day of the Dead every year with the Festival de las Calaveras (Festival of Skulls) from October 28 to November 2. The festival takes place on the city fairgrounds with exhibitions of handicrafts, stands with traditional food and seasonal fruit, and varied theater productions, and concerts. The grand parade of calaveras along Aguascalientes’ Avenida Madero is a highlight of the festival. At night in early November, the “Legends of Mexico” traditional skeleton parade is held. Spectators can watch as costumed revelers make their way through the downtown streets alongside floats vividly decorated for the occasion. The crowds will stop to gawk, but then quickly join the celebration to rejoice in life right beside one another.

Festival Website: Festival de las Calaveras 

✨✨✨ 2020 Update: El Festival de Calaveras 2020, el evento más importante para el estado de Aguascalientes durante la temporada de Día de Muertos, fue cancelado, anunció por la mañana el gobernador Martín Orozco Sandoval

Xcaret - Riviera Maya

In 2020, Xcaret will show its Festival of Life and Death on its You tube Channel on November 1st.

Find out more.

San Juan Bautista Tuxtepec, Oaxaca

Day of the Dead in Mexico Traditions -Oaxaca - MExplor Blog

Tuxtepec is a small village in the state of Oaxaca. Here, you can expect the same bold, floral and traditional tributes to the deceased as you can in any of these Mexican destinations.

It does have a unique form of celebration, though; a rug-making contest. Rather than judge the handmade altars, locals spend the lead-up to Day of the Dead creating detailed sawdust rugs. They’re judged in the village square, until a winner is chosen. A very cute vtown where to celebrate day of the dead in Mexico.

Book your trip

Are you ready to book your trip?  .Here are the websites you can use to book your trip, get inspired with the best things to do in your destinations and travel smarter.

  •– A great website to book your flights. It has good airfares but you need to search regulaly as the prices are constantly changing
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  • Airbnb – You can get some really nice places to stay here. If you don’t have an account and you click on this link then you will get $36 off your first booking.
  • – Huge choice of hotels with  free cancellation up until a certain point. It’s easy to use and has one of the widest selections. 
  • Agoda – Agoda is very good if you are searching hotels, resorts, houses. They always have attractive promotions.  
  • Get your Guide – It is a platform where you will find tours and excurtions in Cozumel and every part of the world.
  • Xcaret Group – Xcaret Group is the most famous theme park in the Riviera Maya. If you visit Cancun, check their prices here to get good discounts.
  • Viator – If you need to find inspiration about things to do in Cozumel, check on Viator to see the tours they offer for diving and other activities
  • Rental Cars – Looking to rent a. car while you are away? I always book through Rental Cars as they do a search of all of the big sites and find the best deals. 
  • Yacht Rental – If you are thinking of spending time in a paradise beach destination with friends or family, this is a good option to enjoy the beach life.
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  • Dive the World – If you are a diver, book a diving trip with them. They have dive packages everywhere in the world with very attractive prices.

What is the day of the dead?

Day of the Dead Celebrations in Mexico 2020