Celebrate Day of the Dead in Mexico

Day of the Dead originated in Mexico and is a celebration of life and death. The Aztec, Toltec, and other Nahua people believed mourning the dead to be disrespectful as death is a natural phase of life. Several thousand years ago, they began the Day of the Dead celebration at which time members of their community, who were kept alive in memory and spirit, temporarily returned to Earth. 

In 2008, UNESCO officially recognized Day of the Dead as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. 

While visiting Mexico during this Day of the Dead celebration, we will see the altars, or the ofrendas, that families prepare for their loved ones. These altars are not meant for worshipping, but rather to welcome their spirits back to the world of the living. On these altars, families will prepare marigolds, copal incense, pan de muerto (bread of the dead), and charanda or atole (both traditional drinks) along with other mementos. 

Join us in October to experience the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico firsthand along with exploring three of the most beautiful, colonial cities of central Mexico: San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, & Morelia.

 

Trip dates & pricing

Saturday, October 27 - Saturday, November 3, 2018

This trip has been designed for a maximum of 10 travelers. To secure your spot to travel with us, a $250 per person, non-refundable deposit can be paid by clicking here

$3,150USD per person, double occupancy

$865USD single supplement if you are traveling alone and prefer to have your own room 

Have questions before signing up? Would you like to extend your trip to include days before and/or after this itinerary?

Email me! whitney@undiscoveredsunsets.com

 

Trip Highlights

Saturday, October 27: Arrive in Guanajuato (BJX) | Welcome dinner in San Miguel de Allende

Sunday, October 28: Walking tour of San Miguel de Allende & Atotonilco | Private Callejoneada | Dinner in a local restaurant

Monday, October 29: Walking tour of Guanajuato focusing on local art and artisans | Evening at leisure

Tuesday, October 30: Drive San Miguel de Allende - Morelia | Afternoon at leisure | Evening walk and dinner in a local restaurant

Wednesday, October 31: Visit Isla Janitzio and the village of Lake Pátzcuaro | Visit Santa Clara del Cobre | Evening at leisure

Thursday, November 1: Morning at leisure | Artisan markets in Pátzcuaro | Day of the Dead celebrations in Tzintzuntzan & Tzurumútaro

Friday, November 2: Morning at leisure | Visit Morelia | Farewell dinner | "La Danza de los Viejitos" by a local folkloric dance company

Saturday, November 3: Breakfast at leisure | Departure from Morelia (MLM)

Accommodation Summary

Saturday, October 27 - Tuesday, October 30: Hotel Matilda, San Miguel de Allende

Tuesday, October 30 - Saturday, November 3:  Villa Montaña Hotel & Spa, Morelia

Download a PDF version of this itinerary

(Easier to reference and a beautiful option to share with friends and family who might be interested to join!)

 

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 | October 27th | Arrival in San Miguel de Allende & Welcome dinner

Welcome to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico! A group transfer will be arranged from Guanajuato airport (BJX) to Hotel Matilda in San Miguel de Allende according to everyone's flight itinerary. Tonight we will have a welcome dinner at a local restaurant in the historic city center.

Day 2 | October 28th | Explore Atotonilco & San Miguel de Allende

Enjoy breakfast on your own at the hotel.

 

Together with our group, we will meet our guide in the hotel lobby for a walking tour of San Miguel de Allende and Atotonilco.

 

We will start our day by visiting Atotonilco village just 20 minutes north of San Miguel; the main church of the village is well known because of the al fresco painting that covers the entire building.

 

We will return to San Miguel where our guide will point out to symbols of San Miguel such as San Miguel Arcangel Parish and other churches around the main square and historic houses such as Casa de las Conspiraciones and Casa de los Condes de la Canal.

 

See colorful buildings and enjoy the parks of San Miguel; visit the Parroquia, the Oratorio, or any one of the numerous other churches in town; visit the Museo Casa de Allende, the house of San Miguel's most famous son and namesake, the independence leader Ignacio Allende, which is now a museum. Turquoise and silver jewelry can be found in one of the many myriad shops.

At the end of our city tour, the afternoon is at your leisure; we recommend visiting the markets and the various art gallery shops that surround the city.

 

Lunch today will take place at one of the local restaurants in town.

 

In the afternoon, we will meet again at the lobby and will walk to the main plaza of San Miguel for a Private Callejoneada through the cobblestone streets of the town. A Callejoneada is a walking serenade and folkloric event unique to Guanajuato state. In a group led by costumed performers the callejoneada strolls around the streets singing popular songs about local legends.

 

Dinner will be held tonight in a local restaurant.

 

The rest of the night is at your leisure.

Day 3 | October 29th | Explore Guanajuato

Enjoy breakfast on your own at the hotel.

 

With our guide, we will enjoy a walking tour of the historic landmarks of the city center and use the morning to orient yourself to the winding streets and subterranean passages that make this city a Mexican medina. The thriving downtown is full of interesting shops, and the smells of delicious Mexican fare wafts through the streets inviting you in to the many delicious eateries.

Deeper into the soul of this creative center of Mexico, literature, painting, art, and hand crafts have all flourished here along with the spirit of independence and expression that made this the cradle of Mexican independence.

 

We will first arrive to the Casa de los Espirituos, an 18th Century Colonial Mansion and current day textiles museum. The view from the balcony is unbeatable.

 

We will then continue on to Gorky Taller (Workshop) to view the works of the famous Gorky Gonzales. Gorky Gonzalez began his studies under his father, the Sculptor Rodolfo Gonzalez. In 1963, he founded Alfareria Tradicional, a pottery work shop in Guanajuato, in order to reproduce and revive the Traditional Majolica of the region. In 1965, Gorky Gonzalez was granted a scholarship to study pottery in Japan, under the artists Tsuji Seimei and Kei Fijiwara who were considered two of Japan’s national living treasures. Since his return from Japan, Gorky Gonzales has devoted himself to the preservation of the Traditional Majolica technique in Mexico, utilizing the original designs used during the colonial period.  

 

After lunch, we will visit the home of the late Chavez Morado and Olga Costa-Jose and have a chance to view the fine collection of paintings, hand crafts, and other fine artwork housed in this exceptional structure. Time permitting, you may visit the Museo y Casa de Diego Rivera.

 

Upon returning to our hotel in San Miguel de Allende, the rest of the evening and dinner will be at your leisure.

Day 4 | October 30th | Travel & Explore Morelia

Enjoy breakfast on your own and check out of your room. This morning after check out and with bags ready we will depart to Morelia. Approximate driving time: 2:20 hours

 

Upon arrival in Morelia, marvel at the 18th-century aqueduct designed to bring water from hillside springs to the growing city. Then pay a visit to another colonial jewel. The architectural history of the city can be read in its more than two hundred historic buildings. Built with the pink stone characteristic of the region, its monuments show the masterful and eclectic fusion of medieval spirit with Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical elements that today stand as echoes of the era of the Viceroyalty.

 

We will have lunch in a local restaurant in the historic city center.

Following lunch, we will check-in at Hotel Villa Montaña. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at your leisure.

 

In the evening, we will return to the city and stroll down the cobblestone streets of Morelia on an evening walk to enjoy the monuments and buildings lit up showing the majestic of its architecture.

Dinner tonight will be hosted in one of the restaurants in Morelia's center.

Day 5 | October 31st | Santa Clara del Cobre, Lake Zirahuen in preparation for Day of the Dead

Enjoy breakfast on your own at the hotel. 

After breakfast, we will be picked up for a full day, privately guided tour of Isla Janitzio and the fascinating crafts villages that surround Lake Patzcuaro.

 

This picturesque lake is accented with the now famous Island of Janitzio, one of the most important and visited villages for Dia de los Muertos ritual celebration. Today we will have the chance to visit the island that during the day of the dead is not possible to visit due to the massive amount of visitors that it receives.

The moderate walk to the top of the gently sloped island is great to stretch your legs and acclimatize further to the crisp mountain air. Climb the several hundred steps to the top of the 140 ft. statue of Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon and up onto his wrist to view the lovely panorama or simply relax in the small park at his feet enjoying the view.

 

We return mid-day and will continue on to Santa Clara del Cobre for a delicious locally prepared lunch of Tarascan fare.

 

The island and surrounding villages offer a window into pre-Columbian times and the friendly Purépecha indigenous people who are glad to share a smile or invite you into their workshops to browse the rich crafts traditions. We will have ample time to visit the silver shops for which Santa Clara is famous for before continuing on to the Purepecha ruins of Tzintzuntzan for a brief, but interesting visit. Late afternoon, we will return to our hotel.

  

The rest of the evening and dinner today will be at your leisure.

Day 6 | November 1st | Day of the Dead in Patzcuaro and the Lake Villages

Enjoy breakfast on your own at the hotel. 

This morning will be at leisure to gain strength for the later activities in the day. Enjoy an early lunch on your own at the hotel.

Following our lunch, around 12:30PM, we will travel to explore Patzcuaro town.

 

Patzcuaro is one of the most beautiful towns. It's magnificent constructions of adobe and tile, monumental temples, and the spectacular Vasco de Quiroga Square converts it into one of the main tourist centers of the Mexican Republic. Complement the day visiting the traditional Artisan Market in Patzcuaro.

 

We will visit two of the of the local pantheons in the day, Cuanajo and Ziuatzio, where the celebrations of the Day of the Dead are starting. 

 

We will enjoy dinner tonight before continuing in the night to experience the local Day of the Dead traditions in the villages of Tzinzunzan and Surumutaro.

At the end of our visit, we will return to our hotel. Estimated arrival time: 2:00AM.

**Note: activities in both cemeteries require extensive walking; the evening activity may last from 8:00 pm to 1:00 am.

Day 7 | November 2nd | Leisure in Morelia & Farewell Dinner

Enjoy breakfast on your own at the hotel along with the morning at leisure. 

This morning is free for you to enjoy the city center and soak in the local flavor of the Plaza.

 

It is here where the daily life of Morelianos is transacted and despite the international recognition and acclaim Morelia has received, this still remains very much a typical Mexican City. After lunch on your own, we will be picked up 2:00PM for a privately guided tour to visit local artisans in the workshops.

 

Depending on everyone's interests, we will visit craftspeople working with clay, wood carving, weaving, furniture, and more. Alternately, we may opt to focus on colonial history, architecture, or the archaeological past of this rich city and surrounding country side.

 

Later in the afternoon we will return to the hotel and get ready for our farewell dinner, starting with the visit of a folkloric dance company to perform the traditional “La Danza de Los Viejitos”, a typical performance where the dancers wear masks and dance with the moves imitating elder gentlemen. 

Following dinner, enjoy the remainder of the evening at your leisure. 

Day 8 | November 3rd | Departure from Morelia International Airport

Enjoy breakfast on your own at the hotel. 

Together with our guide, we will be transferred as a group to the Morelia International Airport for our departing flights. 

Download a PDF version of this itinerary

(Easier to reference and a beautiful option to share with friends and family who might be interested to join!)

 

More details...

Included in pricing:  

- Group arrival transfer from Guanajuato airport (BJX) to Hotel Matilda 

- Group departure transfer from Hotel Villa Montaña to Morelia airport (MLM)

- Hotel Matilda, San Miguel de Allende, 3 night stay (Breakfast, taxes, and service fees included)

- Hotel Villa Montaña, Morelia, 4 night stay (Breakfast, taxes, and service fees included)

- Welcome dinner including 2 glasses of wine/beer

- Farewell dinner including 2 glasses of wine/beer 

- 6 full days private group transportation in a Mercedes Benz Sprinter; bottled water on board

- 6 full day, local guide provided by our partners, Journey Mexico

- All admission fees to locations mentioned in itinerary

- Private Callejoneada (a private street performance arranged just for us in San Miguel de Allende)

- Private performance from a local folkloric dance company, performing "La Danza de Los Viejitos"

- Five (5) lunches, each including one (1) non-alcoholic beverage per person

- Five (5) dinners, each including one (1) non-alcoholic beverage per person

Excluded from pricing: 

- International airfare (we can assist with flight bookings)

- Arrival and departure transfers if you arrive in airports different than those we've recommended

- Tips/gratuities for guide, driver, porter, restaurant staff, etc

- Items of personal nature (international phone calls, laundry, souvenirs, etc)

- Meals not mentioned above

- Alcoholic beverages not mentioned above

- Travel protection REQUIRED. Information sent upon trip confirmation. 

International flight estimations: $500 - $700 per person, roundtrip, depending on departure city

When looking into flights, be sure to arrive in Guanajuato (BJX) and depart from Morelia (MLM). Any other arrival or departure airports will incur an additional transportation fee that has not yet been included in the above pricing. Pricing will fluctuate, and will certainly increase, as the travel dates get closer.

When booking flights, please plan to arrive at Guanajuato (BJX) on Saturday, October 27 before 3:00PM CST and depart on Saturday, November 3 from Morelia (MLM) no earlier than 12:00PM CST. 

Payment Details

In order to save your space on this departure, we require a $250 non-refundable deposit. Final payments, whether in full or on a payment plan are due 90 days prior to our departure (Monday, July 30th). Upon receiving your trip deposit, we will reach out to assist in booking flights, setting up a payment plan, securing trip protection, and answering any other questions you might have related to this trip. 

Trip Cancellation

91 days or more prior to arrival: $250 non-refundable deposit

90-61 days prior to trip departure: A cancellation fee of 50% of the entire trip cost will be charged

60 days or less: 100% of trip cost will be charged

Undiscovered Sunsets and Journey Mexico reserve the right to alter this itinerary if necessary. Pricing will remain as stated above provided we have ten (10) paying travelers confirmed before Monday, July 30, 2018. If we have less than 10 travelers and if we are forced to increase pricing per person, we will notify all confirmed travelers of updated pricing. If confirmed travelers are not satisfied with the updated pricing, we will refund their deposit in full and they no longer have any obligation to join this trip. 

Download a PDF version of this itinerary

(Easier to reference and a beautiful option to share with friends and family who might be interested to join!)