Altars, Catrinas, Parade, Dinner, Cemetery & More 2023
Mexico's vibrant culture is a tapestry woven with threads of history, tradition, and spirituality. One of the most iconic and enchanting celebrations that capture the essence of Mexican culture is the "Dia de los Muertos" or the "Day of the Dead." This unique festival, celebrated throughout Mexico, has gained international recognition for its colorful and heartfelt tributes to the deceased. For those seeking an immersive cultural experience, Day of the Dead tours in Mexico offer a captivating journey into this mystical and joyous celebration.
Origin and Significance
The Day of the Dead, which takes place annually on November 1st and 2nd, traces its roots to pre-Columbian civilizations, particularly the Aztec, Maya, and Nahua cultures. This tradition melded with Catholicism when Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico, leading to a fusion of indigenous beliefs and Catholic practices. Today, the celebration reflects a profound belief in the continuity of life and the connection between the living and the departed.
Altars and Ofrendas
Central to the Day of the Dead celebration are the altars, known as "ofrendas." These meticulously crafted displays are erected in homes, cemeteries, and public spaces to honor departed loved ones. Day of the Dead tours provide an opportunity to witness the creation of ofrendas, adorned with marigold flowers, sugar skulls, candles, incense, and the deceased's favorite foods and possessions. These offerings are believed to guide the spirits back to the world of the living for a brief reunion.
One of the highlights of Day of the Dead tours in Mexico is a visit to local cemeteries. Here, families gather to clean and decorate the graves of their ancestors, creating a visually stunning mosaic of color and emotion. The atmosphere is lively, with mariachi bands, traditional music, and joyful reminiscing about the departed. Tour participants have the privilege of witnessing these heartfelt moments and may even be invited to participate in the festivities.
Calaveras and Catrinas
Calaveras, or sugar skulls, and Catrinas, elegantly dressed skeletal figures, are iconic symbols of the Day of the Dead. These intricate and artistic creations can be found everywhere during the festival. Artisans create sugar skulls in various sizes and designs, and visitors on Day of the Dead tours can purchase their own from traditional vendors.
Parades and Festivities
In recent years, Day of the Dead parades have gained popularity, particularly in Mexico City and Oaxaca. If you aren't thinking Pixar and James Bond right now then defiantly take our tour to learn why we have these images pop into our minds. These processions feature elaborately costumed participants, giant puppets, and lively music. Travelers on Day of the Dead tours can join in the festivities, dancing alongside the locals, and marvel at the creativity and artistic expression on display.
The Day of the Dead is a celebration of life, love, and remembrance that has captivated the hearts of people worldwide. Mexico's rich cultural heritage and spiritual traditions shine brightly during this festival. Day of the Dead tours in Puerto Vallarta offer a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in this enchanting celebration, providing a deeper understanding of Mexican culture and a chance to participate in the vibrant rituals that honor the departed. Whether you're drawn to the captivating ofrendas, the lively cemetery gatherings, or the colorful parades, a Day of the Dead tour promises an unforgettable journey into the heart and soul of Mexico.
Our Day of the Dead Tours in Puerto Vallarta
We present a selection of three distinguished tours, meticulously curated to facilitate a comprehensive exploration of the revered Mexican Celebration of the Day of the Dead.
As of October 26, 2023 all DOD and Halloween Tours are fully reserved.
Very sorry, please consider us next year.
October 31st 2023 - Halloween Tour
The main focus of this tour is to celebrate "All Saints Day" with the Mexican children who will be parading seeking candy and gifts. We encourage our tour participants to pre-purchase large bags of candy to distribute. How much - too much to carry at the beginning of the night. Your load will lighten quickly, and the extent of candy procurement and subsequent dissemination directly contributes to the jubilance of local children, who, in turn, impart a profound sense of delight to your own soul.
Rest assured that in addition to partaking in this heartwarming aspect of the celebration, our itinerary encompasses a comprehensive exploration of Day of the Dead traditions. As we traverse the route leading to the cemetery, we shall encounter many iconic catrinas and meticulously crafted altars, offering participants an insightful glimpse into the intricate customs and symbolism surrounding this sacred observance.
Before arriving at the hallowed grounds of the cemetery, we shall make a meal stop at an authentic local eatery, one that remains virtually untouched by tourist influence. Here, our discerning guests will savor a sumptuous and diverse traditional Day of the Dead multi course dinner, providing a profound sensory experience that deepens their connection to the cultural tapestry of Mexico.
Upon arriving to the cemetery, our approach shall be marked by the utmost respect and reverence. Our seasoned Mexican guides, well-versed in the nuances of this poignant occasion, will sensitively liaise with bereaved families on occasion. They shall inquire whether it would be permissible for our tour group to pay homage to their departed loved ones by placing traditional offerings upon their familial altars, and, with gracious consent, relish the melodies of their music. Just as their departed family members once delighted in the company of strangers during their lifetimes, the hosting families are generally eager to embrace this opportunity to welcome visitors in honor of their deceased kin. (No flash photography in the cemetery and please be sensitive to personal space and refrain from photographing people in the cemetery.)
Although this is a day before the "traditional" start of the Day of the Day celebration there will be many families in the cemetery. Some will be cleaning, repairing, and painting a gravesite. Some families will be setting up their altars to be ready for the official holiday the following day. And there will be other families who will simply start a day early to avoid the massive traffic headache that surrounds most cemeteries on November 1st and 2nd.
As we bid adios to the cemetery, our journey culminates with the indulgence in a delectable and quintessentially traditional dessert, Atole, accompanied by Pan de Muerto. This exquisite culinary finale serves as a fitting closure to an enriching cultural expedition, allowing our guests to savor the intricate flavors and sensory delights intrinsic to the Day of the Dead celebration.
In summary, our Halloween tour offers a profoundly immersive experience in which participants not only partake in the vibrant festivities of "All Saints Day" but also gain deep insights into the multifaceted traditions and rituals surrounding the Day of the Dead, all while savoring authentic cuisine and fostering meaningful connections with the local community.
November 1st 2023 - Day of the Dead - Childrens Day
November 2nd 2023 - Day of the Dead - All Souls Day
Our Traditional Day of the Dead tours will be very similar to the Halloween tour described above except less emphases is placed on candy distribution and "trick or treating." However, we will distribute candy following the lesser know Day of the Dead tradition of Calaverita. There will still be an organized parade on the Malecon both nights but will focus strictly on the Day of the Dead. Hence, we shall have the opportunity to delve deeper into the intricate details of altars, catrinas, and the profound symbolism woven into this significant day, allowing for a more comprehensive and emotionally resonant exploration.
Apéritif: Welcome shot of Tequila de Tamarindo
All you can drink traditional Aqua Frescas - Jamaica and Horchata
Soup: Chicken Pozole
Appetizer: Chicken Tamale with Mole
Seafood item: Coconut Shrimp
Main Course: Mexican spiced rice, black beans, diced nopal, chicken, with mole sauce
Dessert: Rice pudding
Digestif: Pulque with fruits
After the cemetery, we will enjoy a final stop with traditional Atole, Chocolate, and Pan de Muerto
Walking Difficulty: Easy (although be careful of cracked or broken sidewalks, steps)
Meet at 6:00 PM in the Romantic Zone. (Exact location and directions will be sent in your confirmation email.) Finish at 10:00 PM.
Bring Pesos as many establishments are cash only.
Tour includes guided trip, multi course dinner, 2 shots, Jamaica and Horchata agua frescas, closing atole and pan de muerto, chocolate.
Price is $89 usd per person with prepaid reservation or $100 usd payable to the trip leader if space is still available.
Price does not include customary tip for the adventure leader. (we recommend 20% minimum.)
For same day reservations you may also email us at email@example.com to check if space is available for that day's tour.
EXCLUDED: Remember that each individual attendee is responsible for purchasing their own candy and treats to distribute during the Halloween festivities. We recommend filling at least a backpack full for each person. Those who can afford more please do. We truly believe that the amount of joy and light shown upon your heart will be reflected proportionally by the amount of joy that you can bring to the local children.