Mexico City: Day of the Dead (Comfort)
5 days with Intrepid Travel Rating:
Day 1 Mexico City
Bienvenidos a Mexico! Welcome to Mexico.
Arrive at Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport and be transferred to your hotel. A complimentary transfer is included with your trip if you arrive on Day 1 or book pre-tour accomodation through us. Please ensure you provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel so the transfer can be organised.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1 (30 Oct). Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
If you arrive early, head to the Zocalo, the city's huge central square, to see Aztec ruins and colonial architecture or relax in one of the many parks, plazas and gardens. Modern meets ancient in Mexico City - one of the world's largest urban centres. Although crowded and smoggy, D.F. (Distrito Federal) offers a great variety of impressive museums, galleries and architecture, along with exciting night life and delicious street food.
This itinerary is designed to provide the best possible experience of the annual Day of the Dead festivities around Mexico City. As such, there is very limited free time to explore many of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, including the Museum of Anthropology, Teotihuacan and Chapultepec Park. We recommend you stay a few extra days before or after the tour to make the most of this vibrant metropolis. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be happy to assist.
Day 2 Mexico City
First thing this morning we’ll head to UNAM (University of Mexico) to see its spectacular display of traditional Day of the Dead altars. This is a very popular activity for locals so hopefully we’ll avoid the long queues by arriving early. Afterwards, your leader will take you out for a walking tour of Mexico City’s historic centre including the famous Zocalo, Metropolitan Cathedral, Templo Mayor and Palacio de Bellas Artes. The tour will also include a stop at Mercado San Juan where you can enjoy some delicious local food for lunch (lunch not included).
This afternoon you may like to take an optional trip to Xochimilco (approx 28 km away) to visit the Doll's Island. Doll's Island (or Isla de las Munecas) is an island dedicated to the lost soul of a poor girl who drowned in mysterious circumstances. This small island is home to hundreds of dolls - many of them with severed limbs, decapitated heads and black eyes - who are said to be possessed by the girl's spirit. Local legends says that the dolls move their heads and arms and have even been known to open their eyes!
We will head back to Mexico City and in the evening we will join one of the many street parties that traditionally take place around the city.
Day 3 Mexico City
This morning we visit both Museum Anahuacalli and the Frida Kahlo Museum in the leafy neighbourhood of Coyoacan.
Built of black volcanic stone, Museum Anahuacalli was established by Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo's husband. During his life he collected nearly 60,000 pre-Hispanic pieces which represent almost all of the indigenous civilisations in Mexico’s history. Both Diego and Frida were obsessed with death which can be seen throughout their art. As such, the museum organises different activities and workshops during the Day of the Dead celebrations.
The Frida Kahlo Museum is located in the house where the iconic artist lived throughout her life. It contains a collection of her artwork, as well as artefacts, photographs, and personal items.
There will also be free time to explore the Coyoacan market. The actual order of these activities will be decided by your leader on the day.
Later, head out with the group for an optional evening of dinner and drinks in one of Mexico City's hippiest neighbourhoods.
Day 4 Mexico City
This morning we leave early and travel by private transport to Tepoztlan (approximately 80km away) to explore this fascinating town and the nearby Aztec ruins with a local guide.
Tepoztlan is considered the birthplace of the Mesoamerican god, Quetzalcoatl, and is therefore an important indigenous site. The town itself has a well-preserved historic centre and is surrounded by soaring cliffs, on the top of which is the Tepozteco pyramid. Many people still feel a kind of magic or energy about the town and it is a mecca for artists and mystics.
The one hour walk up hill to the pyramid can be quite challenging. If you don't feel up to it, you can stay and spend more time exploring Tepoztlan.
This afternoon we will go to see traditional altar building and/or lamp creating that forms part of the Day of the Dead ceremony. With luck, we'll be able to get our hands dirty helping to create these objects, and then participate in the ceremony that follows. As part of the Day of the Dead people organise ceremonies at the cemetery for those not physically with them any longer. This tradition is particularly colourful and festive in the town of Mixquic – where we will visit. The ceremony starts in the afternoon with families decorating the tombs and continues on well into the night with parties, music and tequila (of course).
Day 5 Mexico City
As we will arrive back from the activities in Mixquic late on Day 4, your leader will arrange a final brunch on the morning of Day 5 so you can meet and say farewell to your new friends.
Check out from the hotel is at 10am. You may like to extend your time here and allow yourself a day or two more to take in some of the many palaces, churches and temples, or to sit and watch life go by in the Alameda Central. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be able to assist.
All This Included
Join in the celebrations of one of the world's most bizarre cultural institutions – Mexico's Day of the Dead – on this special festival-themed trip running over the Halloween period. Visit the museums of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera and learn all about their fascination with death. Wander about the sacred indigenous site of Tepoztlan, attend a traditional Day of the Dead ceremony in Mixquic and see elaborate altars dedicated to the deceased. This fun-filled festival trip will leave you with a much enhanced appreciation for the Mexican way of life – and for the dead!
Hotel (4 nights)
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