Day of the Dead celebrations bring hundreds of thousands of tourists to Mexico each year, both domestic and international.
And while there are numerous reasons to visit Mexico at all times of year — its numerous attractions, natural beauty and awe-inspiring landscapes, rich cultural heritage, stunning beaches, and delicious cuisine, affordable travel, and unparalleled hospitality — I’ve chosen Oaxaca, and the annual occasion of Day of the Dead, for my FIRST EVER 7-day group trip.
And I, Julie, your resident nomad, world traveler, and Mexican tourism expert — am asking you, my adventurous reader… to JOIN ME!
Reason #1: The yearly tradition is one of the most important and biggest celebrations in Mexico.
Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos in Spanish, is a multi-day holiday that combines indigenous traditions with Catholicism to honor and remember deceased loved ones.
The Day of the Dead celebration typically occurs from October 31st to November 2nd, aligning with the Catholic All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. During this time, families come together to create ofrendas (altars) in their homes and visit cemeteries to decorate the graves of their ancestors. The purpose is to welcome the spirits of the departed back to the earthly realm and provide them with offerings to ensure a pleasant visit.
Altars are adorned with vibrant marigold flowers, candles, photographs of the deceased, their favorite foods, and other items they enjoyed in life, and the spirit of the holiday is much more in celebration than in grief. It is believed that the scent of marigolds and the essence of the offerings guide the spirits back home. Families may also place sugar skulls, known as calacas or calaveras, and traditional foods like pan de muerto (bread of the dead) on the altars.
Reason #2: Oaxaca is the #1 place in Mexico to experience Día de los Muertos, followed by Mexico City and the island of Janitzio in Michoácan.
Universally considered THE place to experience the Day of the Dead, Oaxaca is renowned for its elaborate and colorful celebrations.
Its Day of the Dead festivities include parades, processions, traditional dances, music, and art displays. The cemeteries, particularly the cemetery in the village of Xoxocotlán, are beautifully decorated with candles, flowers, and offerings. Oaxaca also hosts an annual Day of the Dead sand sculpture contest, attracting artists from around the world.
While each region in Mexico has its own unique customs and traditions for Día de los Muertos, adding to the richness and diversity of the holiday… Oaxaca is far and wide considered the premier destination to do so!
Reason #3: Disney’s “Coco” takes place during Día de los Muertos and is modeled after Oaxaca.
And ain’t it adorable?! The film “Coco” tells the story of a young boy who dreams of becoming a musician despite his family’s longstanding ban on music. Through a magical journey, Miguel finds himself in the vibrant Land of the Dead, where he encounters his ancestors and learns about the importance of family, remembrance, and following one’s passion.
While “Coco” is a fictional story, it showcases the significance of Día de los Muertos and highlights the cultural traditions, music, and art associated with this celebration. The film also received critical acclaim for its portrayal of Mexican culture and was embraced by audiences worldwide for its heartfelt storytelling and beautiful animation.
And while the movie takes place in a fictional Mexican town, scenes from Oaxaca served as inspiration.
Ok, hopefully by now you want to come visit Oaxaca for Día de los Muertos. But why should you join my group trip instead of doing it yourself?
Reason #4: It’s better to come to Oaxaca with me than to make your own arrangements.
Like I said, hundreds of thousands of tourists travel to Mexico for Day of the Dead, and many of them descend on Oaxaca specifically: so Airbnbs and hotels are either booked up well in advance or cost a pretty premium because of demand. With my group trip, accommodations are included in the cost, so you don’t need to worry about securing them on your own — as well as transportation and professional guides.
While you certainly can DIY, and that decision may be right for you after all: it may be more costly — with a group trip, we have the benefit of shared accommodations and bulk arrangements, so there’s a little bit of cost savings bundled in!
But what if you’re not used to solo traveling in a group?
Reason #5: There are a lot of great reasons to give group travel a try.
Group travel gives you safety in numbers, combined experience and insider knowledge, a built-in opportunity for meeting new people and socialization, and a lower-stress travel experience. Plus, one of the things I hear from my readers the most often is this: “I want to travel, but I don’t have anyone to go with.” A group tour or group trip is the perfect solution!
Don’t wait for somebody to join you. Don’t wait for their calendar to open up, for them to be able to afford it, for them to change their mind, for your relationship to improve, or for that love interest to finally show up in your life… GO on your dream trip! YOU CAN, and YOU CAN NOW.
While solo travel is invigorating and fulfilling, joining a group trip provides solo travelers with unique and rewarding adventure AND social opportunities when traveling — a phenomenon of which I can attest!
Reason #6. OK, but why Julie’s group specifically?
Well, I can’t answer that for you — all I know is that I get a lot of messages from people who follow my blog, social media, and my overall journey over the past 6-ish years, and they say they want to meet me. Well, since I’m going on this trip too — here’s their chance (and yours!)!
I’ve been to Oaxaca before, and as an American expat in Mexico, I’m very experienced in traveling Mexico period… but we’ll be side by side experiencing Day of the Dead in Oaxaca together. We’ll have plenty of opportunities to talk and get to know each other, and that’s added value coming at no extra cost to you. It’s going to be a blast! But hurry… as of this writing, there are only 7 spots available, and this tour WILL SELL OUT! ❤️
Ready to sign up for this trip to Oaxaca during Day of the Dead?!
What: This group trip includes professional guides, 6 nights of shared accommodation in hotel/s, 6 breakfasts and one lunch, and private transportation in Oaxaca City, Mexico. Activities include:
- Day of the Dead parades and celebrations
- A mole cooking class
- Day trip to Hierve el Agua
- Tour of the archaeological site of Monte Alban (optional for +500MXN)
- Day trip to the ruins of Mitla (optional for +500MXN)
- Lots of free time to explore on your own or with others in the group!
- What’s not included: airfare to OAX and trip insurance
- Read the full itinerary!
When: October 28, 2023 to November 3, 2023
How: Made possible through my affiliation with Boutique Travel Advisors and G Adventures
How to reserve: As a licensed travel advisor, and to ensure all my guests are put together in the same group, I broker the sale of this tour directly, between you and G Adventures. To save your spot in my group, they need a $350 deposit. Email me with 1) your full name as it is on your passport 2) your country of citizenship 3) and your DOB — and I’ll send you G Adventures’ payment link for the deposit payment of $350. The rest of the tour will be paid closer to departure, but the $350 holds your spot. This tour WILL sell out, so I recommend anyone who is interested to act fast.
How much: $1,899 USD
I hope you’ll join me on this epic itinerary, but if not? Learn more about upcoming group trips and be the first to know about other destinations.