Live an authentic Day of the Dead experience on this unique 4-night trip in central Chiapas. Experience Mexico´s sought-after celebration differently, visiting the sacred burial grounds around San Cristóbal de las Casas, taking part in regional Tzotzil Maya and Chamula traditions, and exchanging stories with the locals that have practiced these customs for generations.
Discover the art of alter making and see how different pueblos honor their deceased, from the fiesta-filled celebrations of el Romerillo with music and rides, to the more solemn atmosphere of Amatenango del Valle. Admire eye-catching, flower-embroidered outfits in Zinacantán, and enjoy lunch hosted at a family home in the village. You´ll also discover how San Sebastián´s cemetary offers a contrasting visual to the indigenous burial sites, with its concrete tombs and mausoleums.
Sumidero Canyon – Experience a Sumidero Canyon boat ride upon arrival.
San Cristobal de las Casa – Enjoy a wonderful alter-making experience in San Cristóbal and visit the cemetery.
Zinacantan – Mukenallakolteclum Cemetary and lunch at a family home in Zinacantán
San Juan Chamula – Visit the San Juan Chamula graveyard and church.
Amantengo – Visit Amatenango del Valle graveyard
Day 1: Tuxtla Airport Transfer to San Cristobal with Boat Ride through the Sumidero Canyon en Route – Oct 30
Your private, bilingual guide will greet you at the airport in Tuxtla Gutierrez and you will be driven to the docking pier on Rio Grijalva, just outside of Chiapa de Corzo (32km, 35 minutes) for your Sumidero Canyon boat tour.
The Sumidero Canyon is a national park located just outside of the capital of Chiapas state, Tuxtla Gutierrez. This large canyon’s cliffs rise some 900 meters above sea level. Make your way by boat through the canyon along the Grijalva River, which extends across the states of Chiapas and Tabasco and flows into the Gulf of Mexico. The canyon that developed as a result of a geographical fault during the Pleistocene Era, is home to a plethora of wildlife, including crocodiles, monkeys and marine birds and your guide will be one hand to help you spot them. There are also a number of unusual rock formations to observe as you jet along this blue green river and take in the view of this natural phenomenon. The boat tour lasts approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Upon completion of your boat ride you will be driven on to your hotel in San Cristóbal de las Casas. If you wish, you may stop for lunch in Chiapa de Corzo before heading to San Cristóbal de las Casas.
Overnight: Hotel Bo
Day 2: San Cristóbal and Day of the Dead Cultural Heritage – Historic Center, Market Visit & Altar-Making – Oct 31
On this meaningful full day experience, you´ll get to create your own Day of the Dead altar, a cultural tradition in Mexico that dates back to Pre-Columbian times.
You´ll begin the day with a guided walk around the historical center of San Cristóbal de las Casas, a century´s old highland pueblo in central Chiapas. Soak up the town´s lively atmosphere as you explore its cobblestone streets, pastel buildings, and ornate churches. Your guide will take you to a local market to pick up typical supplies for your altar, such as flowers and candles. Time for lunch and a brief break will be made ahead of the afternoon´s alter making.
Each year, just before the close of October, many families show their devotion to remembering the deceased by preparing beautiful altars. Adorned with photos, personal objects of the dead, sugar skulls, fruits, flowers, and ´papel picado´ (a traditional colored paper with cut-out shapes), the dedications are colorful and personal, reminding us to celebrate the lives of those who are no longer with us. Once the altar is completed, incense and candles are lit to summon the souls of deceased loved ones.
After taking part in this poignant ritual, you´ll have the rest of the evening to yourself to wander around the town and admire the evening´s many exhibits, pageants and performances put on especially for Day of the Dead.
Overnight: Hotel Bo
Day 3: El Romerillo Sacred Burial Hill Celebrations & Graveyard Remembrance at Amatenango del Valle – Nov 01
As part of the Day of the Dead commemorations in Mexico, small festivals are held in local cemeteries as a way of celebrating the lives of loved ones who have passed on. Today, you´ll get to observe two different festivities at El Romerillo and Amatenango del Valle.
To begin the experience, your private guide will pick you up from your hotel to drive 45-minutes to the sacred burial hill of El Romerillo. At this cemetery, thousands of Tzotsil Chamula people gather to pay homage to their dead. A hill with simple graves is lined by tall blue crosses, adorned with pine boughs and marigolds. As it´s a celebration of life, the festival´s ambience is uplifting, with traditional music, food stalls and rides for the children. Families gather around the graves and lay offerings consisting of flowers, fruit, candles, incense, soft drinks and pox, a locally brewed corn liquor.
Around 1.5 hours from El Romerillo, you´ll make a stop for lunch at a typical restaurant in the small colonial town of Teopisca, before continuing the 30 minutes to Amatenango del Valle.
You´ll feel how the atmosphere at this second graveyard is quite different from that of El Romerillo. The offerings are similar however, the feeling is much more solemn. The serene burial ground is surrounded by corn on a hill that overlooks the village of Amatenango. A handful of musicians play the favorite songs of the deceased, as requested by living relatives in remembrance. After exchanging a few stories and experiences with the locals, your guide will drive the 1.5-hours back to San Cristobal where you´ll spend the evening at leisure.
Overnight: Hotel Bo
Day 4: Tzotzil Maya Communities & San Cristóbal Cemetery – Flower Festivity, Colorful Burial Sites & Lunch with a Local Family – Nov 02
On this full day experience, you´ll get to see the colorful Day of the Dead celebrations of Zinacantán, enjoy lunch at a local family home, and visit the distinct churches and cemeteries of both San Juan Chamula and San Cristóbal de las Casas.
To start the day, your private guide will pick you up from your hotel in San Cristóbal and drive to Mukenallakolteclum Cemetary in Zinacantán. Arriving at the burial site you can spend some time admiring the amazing flower arrangements, and people dressed in colorful flower-embroidered outfits. Take in the stunning views from this ridge of the mountain as you connect with the Tzotzil Maya in their main graveyard festivity. Continuing into the town, you´ll visit a local Zinacantecan family with your guide and enjoy a tasty meal of fresh corn tortillas, salsa, and a traditional local dish.
Head to the nearby town of San Juan Chamula, where you´ll stop at a graveyard laid around the ruins of the colonial San Sebastian Church. Here, you can witness another different context and approach to Día de los Muertos. While in the pueblo, you´ll also make a stop at San Juan Church, although most of the energy is directed around the burial grounds, you can´t come to Chamula without paying the patron Saint a visit!
Return to San Cristóbal for one more, contrasting, cemetery visit at the town´s main site. You´ll notice a huge difference between the Maya graveyards and that of San Cristóbal, with its concrete tombs and mausoleums. Take a brief walk around the cemetery before returning to the town center to enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure.
Overnight: Hotel Bo
Day 5: San Cristobal Private Transfer to Tuxtla Airport for Departure Flight – Nov 03
Today, it’s time to return home, you will be privately transferred from San Cristóbal de las Casas to the Tuxtla Gutierrez International Airport for your departure flight.
This trip can be customized for a private journey surrounding the dates of November 1st and 2nd. Programs and events subject to change according to festival calendar.
Our custom-tailored journeys start from $1,000 USD per day for two travelers. Contact us today to discuss your travel desires and design a personalized proposal with exact pricing.
Please note, our pricing guideline is a starting from price and is not necessarily applicable to the suggested hotels contained within the suggested itineraries on this website. Itineraries are customized prior to final pricing.