Oaxaca Sacred Day Of The Dead Experience
Learn about the history of the Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, build an altar to honour our deceased, and get a pro-photoshoot with DOTD makeup
|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 8 hours|
|Physical Level||Low – This experience 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|
|Group Size||Public – Min 10, Max 35|
Itinerary for the Oaxaca Day of the Dead Experience
This is a 1-day event. We will meet at 6 p.m. at the location provided in the welcome email we will send you 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.
We will have an included face-painting session located in the centre of the city, at scheduled times several hours before the event, so you don’t need to wait for everyone at the venue as faces are being painted – you will have a mini professional photoshoot with your makeup once done. You will have the next few hours to yourself to wander around the city and take photos, with your makeup on. You can then make your own way to the event, for the 6 pm start time. 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 about how diverse and profound the traditions surrounding death have been celebrated and honoured, 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 some mezcal (locally produced agave spirit) and cacao beans, and learn about the significance of the altars built around the country honouring 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 honour 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 with each other, 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 give a talk on how to be respectful and honour the families who are there. As we are guests, we do request, and expect, respectful behaviour 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 most of a full-day experience (including the earlier face painting) 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 honourable way. The objective is that you can get a bond with the sacred practices honouring 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 in a respectful way (no sexy nurse or soldier outfits please). 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 Experience?
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 Experience?
Your sacred experience includes:
– information provided before your experience to educate you and properly prepare you
– a specially trained and licensed English-speaking guide who will facilitate your experience
– Traditional Facepaint and a Professional Photo Shoot
– 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
What is not included when on your Sacred Day Of The Dead Experience?
– 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)
– 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 modelled 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 booking.
Should you give us more than 5 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 cancelled by WSE Travel for circumstances outside of our control.
Should you give us less than 5 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. As your guide and any other local service provider block their days off from other work to accommodate your reservation, they may not be able to fill that allotted space again in the event of cancellation.
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.