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Day of the Dead

ACCESS

Exclusive VIP access behind the scenes, in private family homes and with local artists and chefs

CELEBRATE

The timeless color and culture of local art, meeting traditional weavers and sculptors in mountain villages

FEEL

Oaxaca’s connection to tradition and the earth, evident in art, food and shaman rituals experienced first-hand

Why Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead is a holiday juggernaut in cities, towns and villages across Mexico. But Oaxaca has them beat. Its multi-day festivities offer a side of culture and tradition you won’t see anywhere else—or at any other time. Explore one of the epicenters of celebration and ring in Oaxaca’s biggest and boldest holiday of the year, with access to people and places you simply won't find anywhere else.

Moments That Matter

Be a part of it all, with a unique insider's perspective. Learn the traditions from local artists who invite you into their studios, and from local families who'll welcome you into their celebrations as they build and decorate ofrendas (altars) in homes and at family cemeteries. Feast on delicious foods, taste the finest mezcals, commune with a holiday that is truly about life, in all its vibrant and mesmerizing joy.

Your Private Experience

Who It’s For

Lively, uproarious and a joyful celebration of life. Day of the Dead in Oaxaca is for anybody who appreciate cultural connections and really, really good food.

When to Travel

Day of the Dead is a multi-day celebration starting October 30 and running through November 2 (All Soul's Day). Parades and processions fill the days prior to the festival.

Make It Yours

There is so much to see and experience in Oaxaca, let us craft your unforgettable celebration... and maybe add a few days in Mexico City or beachside to unwind.

Itinerary Highlights

Oaxaca packs in so much of the complex, fascinating culture of Mexico. Experience it all with rare access to private homes, mezcalerias, artist studios, and with the families who make it truly special.

Days 1 - 2

You’ll want some time to explore Oaxaca before the Day of the Dead festivities kick into high gear. Explore the cobblestone streets and snack through its central markets, journey to mountain villages devoted to arts and crafts, and learn how passed-down, timeless techniques turn agave hearts into mezcal, the smoky cousin-spirit of tequila. You’ll also visit the Teotitlan del Valle weaving village and have lunch with a Zapotec family.

  • Street-food tour
  • Dinner at one Oaxaca's top kitchens
  • Visit mezcal distiller in San Baltazar
  • Visit Zapotec weaving village

Days 3 - 4

As the festivities draw nearer, it’s only appropriate to get in an artistic spirit. In the valley south of Oaxaca, you’ll meet up with artists who’ll show us the essentials for any Day of the Dead celebration: pottery, carved wooden figurines and calaveras (skulls) filled with creativity and meaning. On All Hallows Eve, you’ll spend the morning visiting ofrendas (altars) created by families for their ancestors. After paying your respects, it’s off to the village of Atzompa to help local master potter, Angélica Vásquez Cruz, and her family create their ofrenda. Then join the Cruzes at the cemetery where you’ll help them decorate the graves of their loved ones, have some home-cooked tamales for dinner and stay up late admiring everyone’s work.

  • Visit artists to learn about Day of the Dead artwork
  • Lunch at artist’s home
  • Day of the Dead market tour
  • Visit Atzompa to help a family with their altar
  • Day of the Dead art presentations
  • Admire graves and artwork at family cemetery

Days 5 - 6

You’re off to the village of Soledad Etla. November 1 is referred to as Día de los Inocentes (Day of the Innocents), or All Saints Day. Soledad Etla features the best of one of the most fun traditions: their comparsa features a carnival-like procession of costumed locals, mariachis, dancing, food vendors and revelry. 

It’s finally arrived! Día de los Muertos, or All Souls Day. Begin with a journey to the past on a trip to the hilltop ruin of Monte Alban. Dating from 500 BC, it’s vast complex of pyramids, a palace, shrines—easily one of Mesoamerica’s grandest archaeological sites. Then you’ll meet back up with a Zapotec family to spend the rest of the day at their local cemetery. Ring in the celebration with music, dancing, food, color and fun unlike anywhere else in the world.

  • Go to Soledad Etla for lunch
  • Take part in traditional comparsa parade
  • Visit Monte Albán
  • Celebrate the day with Zapotec family at their cemetery

Where We Sleep

Our small boutique hotels are a peaceful oasis in Oaxaca City, and the ideal ways to get acquainted with local life.

Oaxaca City

Our home base for the festivities is an easy walk to Oaxaca City’s bustling and beautiful zocalo and city center. It’s the perfect place to feel like we’re in the midst of the Day of the Dead action.

People Love MO/AD's Oaxaca

I loved eating goat just after it was lifted from the pit, sipping on a mezcal.
Diana C.
This is more than just a trip. It’s authentic and joyful, and a powerful reminder of why we travel.
Scott M.
The meals made for us in local homes were just heavenly.
Andrew B.

FAQs

  1. How many people is this itinerary suitable for?

    Our private itineraries to Oaxaca are ideal for groups of four or more—you and friends, families, and multi-generational groups. For groups of six or more, an optional Modern Adventure local guide can be arranged.

  2. Can you curate an itinerary for a larger group?

    Yes, we can help you craft an unforgettable milestone celebration, for groups as large as 40 or more.

  3. What makes a MO/AD experience different?

    Our level of curation and care. We handle everything, overseeing your experience from beginning to end, with the highest levels of ownership and responsibility. We also support you each step of the way, with comprehensive trip materials and itineraries, detailed day-by-day options, insider destination info, gear recommendations, and 24/7 dedicated support.

  4. How far in advance should I plan my trip?

    Day of the Dead is one of the busiest times of the year in Oaxaca. We recommend you book six months in advance, as we stay in unique, in-demand boutique and luxury hotels where advance reservations are important to secure the best accommodations possible.

  5. What is typically included?

    We curate your Modern Adventure to ensure the experiences are authentic and immersive, and included in your trip price. This includes all accommodations, local transport and airport transfers, private travel for all day trips and excursions, private tours with local guides and cultural experts, exclusive VIP access and activities, all breakfasts and some lunches and dinners.

  6. How much will it cost?

    Private Modern Adventures typically cost $750 to $1,500 per person, per day, and vary by time of year, number of people in your group, types of activities you prefer including private local guides and private transfers.

  7. What's not included?

    MO/AD Private Departures do not include roundtrip airfare to/from your destination, travel insurance, transportation to your trip’s starting point, hotel incidentals (including room service, laundry service and hotel bar tabs), and any activities or meals not included in your confirmed MO/AD itinerary.

  8. What deposits are required?

    After learning more about you, your interests and preferred style of travel, as well as your preferred travel dates, we will present you with a detailed itinerary including activities, internal flights, transport and accommodations. In order to check and confirm availability for your group, there is a $750 non-refundable deposit due. This will be applied to your final trip cost.

    Your trip is guaranteed—and your dates secured—with a 25% non-refundable deposit. Many of our local partners, including our hotel and resort partners, require advance deposits to secure the best accommodations. The balance of your trip is due 30 days prior to travel.

  9. What travel documents are needed?

    US citizens are not required to have a visa for tourist visits to Mexico, but are required to show a valid US passport. It is recommended that your passport is valid for six months after your travels are over. On arrival in the airport, you will be issued a visitor’s permit, known as a FMM (Forma Migratoria Multiple). For citizens of other countries, please check with the Mexico Embassy or Consulate for information and requirements.