Oaxaca Day Of The Dead Event – Traditions, Foods, Altars, History & More

Fully immerse yourself in the Day of the Dead, Oaxaca

3 separate days – 3 separate events (same event, different cemeteries)
Each event is 1 Day ex Oaxaca, Mexico 

Each event Size: Min 10 – Max 40

Event on October 31st, 2024 (Xoxocatlan Panteon) SOLD OUT!
Event on November 1st, 2024 (Panteon General) – still has space

Event on November 2, 2024 (San Felipe Panteon) – still has space

We feel that festivals are one of the most interesting ways of seeing a glimpse into a culture. We also feel that the best way to understand what is happening around you as your senses are being stimulated is to be joined by a local expert on the subject to which the festival is oriented!

Your WSE Travel Guru (tour leader) is an expert in the history and mysticism surrounding the practice of the Day of the Dead in Oaxaca. During the Day Of the Dead, people gather in cemeteries (pantheons) as part of the beautiful and sacred traditions honoring our deceased.

Join the Experience. Participate in the magic of this sacred tradition.

*Space is limited! – This is an exclusive event in Oaxaca and only happens once a year. Thousands of other people will be in Oaxaca for the festivities – hotels in the area sell out quickly! Try to reserve as early as possible (6+ months in advance is suggested).

Will you be staying for the whole week of the Day of the Dead and want to experience more of the culture and celebrations? Explore our Day of the Dead tours to find more Dia de los Muertos-themed tours and events.

Are you a solo female traveler or traveling with a group of women and want to join an event geared especially to you? Check out our women-only Day of the Dead Experience

Want to learn more about Dia de los Muertos? Check out our extensive Oaxaca Day of the Dead preparation guide for tips, history, and more!

First Tier Early-bird tickets are $95 USD per person  (only until April 30, 2024)  (sold out)
Second Tier Early Birdy tickets are $120 USD per person (only until August 31, 2024)
Regular tickets are $150 USD per person
Inclusions are listed below.



Oaxaca Day Of The Dead Event

Learn about the history of the Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, eat traditional food, build an altar to honor our deceased, and visit a cemetery.


Item Details
Meeting Point Shared after confirmation, in Oaxaca
End Point The endpoint varies depending on which day you join:
October 31st = Pantheon Xoxocatlan, Oaxaca
November 1st = Pantheon General, Oaxaca
November 2nd = Pantheon San Felipe del Agua, Oaxaca
Duration Up to 5 hours
Physical Level Low – This event involves minimal walking, approximately 30 minutes
Cultural Rating Deep – a good balance of cultural interactions, and engaging with locals. Deep history lessons, and participating in sacred practices
Ages 18+ (minors to be accompanied by adults/guardians)
Group Size Public – Min 10, Max 40


Itinerary for the Oaxaca Day of the Dead Event

This is a 1-day event. We will meet at the location provided after you confirm your reservation by selecting the number of people in your group, the preferred date (October 31, November 1, OR November 2), and continuing to complete your reservation in the checkout.

Transport to and from the event is not included (as this is an event, guests will be coming from all over the city/state to attend), so please plan accordingly for traffic and delays in finding a taxi.

As everyone arrives, you will be treated to a special Muertos-themed cocktail (alcoholic & non-alcoholic available) while waiting for the rest to arrive. Some appetizers and finger foods will also be provided. For those who wish to have additional food/drinks, the venue will have a full kitchen and bar (at your own expense).

Once everyone has arrived, we will join together for a deep discussion and presentation about how diverse and profound the traditions surrounding death have been celebrated and honored, dating back to pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. We will explore many of the widely different practices that have existed, explore many of the different practices that still exist in modern-day Mexico, and how colonialism has altered these practices into what you experience today.

During the talk, we will consume traditional food served during the Day of the Dead, drink some mezcal (locally produced agave spirit), and learn about the significance of the altars built around the country honoring the dead, and how these are all interconnected.

Once the talk is over, you will be able to contribute to an altar we will build together, and you are encouraged to bring a small passport-sized photo of a lost loved one you wish to honor during the ceremony (a photo you are willing to part with, as it is traditional to leave the photo on the altar until after Day of the Dead is over).

Following the altar building, we will have some time to mingle in the space, to talk and share stories, perhaps of your lost loved ones (as this is part of the tradition in Mexico, to keep their memories alive), to dance to the sounds of local music, and celebrate life, and how every moment is sacred.

After everyone’s had a chance to mingle, and we have been able to share any memories or moments together, we will march up to the nearby Pantheon (graveyard) – each celebrates on a different night, which is why we change venues depending on the night you reserve. The cemetary will be ornately decorated for Muertos with members of families gathered around each tombstone. There is a vibrance and high energy in the cemetery, as it is a time of celebrating the lives of loved ones. However, it is of course a sacred place too, and we will talk about how to be respectful and honor the families there. As we are guests, we do request, and expect, respectful behavior while visiting the pantheon.

For many, the parades and the visits to the Pantheon are some of the most memorable, beautiful, and impactful moments they experience from visiting Oaxaca for the Day Of The Dead.

This is a half-day event (mid-afternoon til just after dusk) where you will learn and appreciate the deep cultural connection the people of Mexico share with their deceased. It will be a window into a beautiful tradition in these people’s lives and allow you to connect on a deep level by participating in their activities and connecting to their sacred cultural practices in a respectful and honorable way. The objective is that you can get a bond with the sacred practices honoring the dead – in the ways the locals have bonded with their own lost loved ones for generations.

Please note: There is no Dress Code! You will be visiting a traditional cemetery, so dressing respectfully is appreciated. You don’t need to dress to impress – and costumes can be acceptable, as long as done respectfully (no sexy nurse or soldier outfits please, only traditional Day of the Dead make-up, if you choose to). It is recommended to just bring comfortable clothes, which are modest or tied to the theme of what we will be doing. A more detailed list of suggested clothing attire will be sent in an email following your reservation.

What to bring to the Oaxaca Day Of The Dead event?

Oaxaca at this time of the year generally has hot days and fairly cool nights. It is not uncommon to get some rain as well, as this is the end of the rainy season.
– Jeans or long pants (this is most customary in Mexico, though shorts/dress are fine if you are most comfortable in that, just be mindful that it will cool down as night falls).
– Sneakers/comfortable shoes.
– Long sleeves
– Dresses are ok too – many choose to dress in local textiles during this event
– Cash. The bar/restaurant our event will be at usually accepts debit or credit cards, should you choose to buy any more food or drinks while there, though there is always the chance of technical difficulties. Also, ensuring you have enough for a taxi back to your hotel, or on to the next party/event after is always a good idea. There is an international ATM close by (2 blocks away) should you wish to take out cash closer to the venue. Only bring enough cash for what you think you will need, and leave the rest in your hotel room’s safe.

What is included with the Oaxaca Day Of The Dead Event?

Your Day of the Dead Event includes:
– information provided before the event to educate you and properly prepare you
– a specially trained Oaxacan English-speaking host who will facilitate your experience
– a welcome drink (alcoholic/or non-alcoholic) and finger foods (please drink responsibly, you will be at a local cemetery)
– a sample of mezcal and cacao beans
– supplies for contributing to the Altar we will be building together
– an in-depth talk about the Day of the Dead, its history, and evolution
– special guest speakers for personal perspectives on local traditions and significance

What is not included when on your Day Of The Dead Event?

Travel Insurance (Compulsory)
– International flights
– Transportation (to the meeting point, and back from the endpoint – all within Oaxaca’s city limits)
– Accommodations in Oaxaca
– Alcoholic beverages (outside of the included mezcal and welcome drink)
– a photo of your deceased loved one (passport size encouraged)
– Day of the Dead face-painting (can be arranged separately)
– Gratuities and tips
– Spending money if you wish to purchase additional drinks or food

Supporting Local Projects with our TRiP Foundation

For every TRiP that you go on with WSE Travel, we will donate 2% to an environmental or community-based project in the country you’re visiting. We want to ensure that every guest we help, in turn, supports and preserves the destination we’re experiencing together as a direct result. We live by an ethos of Travel Responsibly & Impact Positively (TRIP).

For more information on the projects supported by this experience, please visit our Mexico TRIP projects.

Cancellations & Rebooking

All tours, services, and experiences booked through WSE Travel are bound to our Terms and Conditions, which were modeled after most other travel services such as flights, hotels, and other tour operators.

Should you need to cancel or change your reservation for any reason (including but not limited to missed flights, illness, or change of mind), you will still be bound to the terms and conditions agreed to at the time of making your reservation.

Should you give us more than 14 days’ notice of a change in your reservation, we can store your payment in a “safety deposit box” (a lifetime deposit), to be used for a future travel date, either by you or to be transferred to a friend or family member. Refunds are not available unless your reservation is canceled by WSE Travel for circumstances outside of our control.

Should you give us less than 14 days’ notice of a change in your reservation, your booking will be subject to a full loss of deposit. We do try to be flexible for our guests, but not at the sacrifice of the livelihoods of all locals hired for your experience. To be fair and responsible to them and their reliance on your reservation’s promised work, your guide will still be paid for your reservation. As such, last-minute cancellations will be subject to a loss of the ticket. If you are able to find someone to buy your ticket for you, transfers are available, at the face value of the ticket (no increase in price will be permitted).

This flexibility is a bend in our Terms and Conditions to try to be fair both to our guests, as well as the locals hired to facilitate your reservation. If you feel there is a high chance of cancellations or changes, please make sure you buy appropriate travel insurance which will be able to reimburse you for cancellations of things such as flights, hotels, and tours.

4 reviews for Oaxaca Day Of The Dead Event – Traditions, Foods, Altars, History & More

  1. Zoë Hancock Australia (verified owner)

    JUST DO THIS TOUR! & Oaxaca is the place for DOTD celebrations. This is the most comprehensive ‘day’ tour I’ve ever done & such good value – it went for most of the day, right up to midnight in the cemetery (you can leave whenever you like too)
    5 stars all the way! this was such a delightful, well organised, diverse & fun experience that its hard to put into words how to exactly describe it. the face painting, pro photos (thankyou Juan Pablo), you’ll meet local artists in Oaxaca (thankyou Itzel! I am planning to frame your beautiful art work soon) & other local guides, providing their expert & community knowledge about the origins & current day, Day of the Dead. You all really enlightened me. Thankyou! But then the cemetery visit – AMAZING! Locals welcomed us to participate with them in this intimate yet party & happy atmosphere. It’s a truly remarkable way we ought all celebrate the lives of loved ones passed. Iain, you have created something really special here. Thank you so much! If you’re Australian don’t question that this is not intrepid etc. WSE is a true tour company (we havent heard a lot about it down under) that has encaptulated local knowledge & is genuine. Dont book with the big fat companies. Support Iain & his wonderful crew & you’ll be delighted you did so. Again JUST DO IT! It was the highlight of my 5 week trip!

  2. Veronica Coss (verified owner)

    I was left speechless! This is an amazing experience overall from start to finish . The guides were professional, knowledgeable and extremely helpful. This is an experience of no other !

  3. Iain Murphy (verified owner)

    What a great experience! From the face painting, information talks from local experts, and traditional food. Culminating at the local cemetery we were able to engage with locals celebrating the memories of their loved ones – this was incredible and the families were very welcoming. Don’t forget to bring some little candies to give out to the kids!

  4. Stacie Freeman (verified owner)

    Thoroughly enjoyed our time with Where Sidewalks End. Our Day of the Dead experience was educational, respectful, and well planned. The guides were well-informed and professional. Highly recommend!

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