Mexico's Day of the Dead in Oaxaca
One of the most unique festivals in the entire world, Day of the Dead is both a celebration of ancestors and a huge party, and here is your backstage pass. Join us in Oaxaca – Mexico’s artistic heartland – for a truly different perspective of the country at its most exciting. And with street dances, painted faces, incredible ruins, and picturesque landscapes all around, it’ll be easy to get into the macabre spirit of “Dia de los Muertos.”
Arrival transfer. Visits to observe cemetery vigils in the towns of Xoxocotlán and Atzompa. Oaxaca and Etla Valley Day of the Dead parades. Orientation walk and market visit in Oaxaca. Oaxaca culinary experience and dinner. Tour nearby artisan villages. Interesting articles, helpful tips, and photography advice from National Geographic before you depart. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Take part in the Day of the Dead festival, Explore Mexico’s artistic heartland, Experience the culinary delights and traditional cooking methods of this region, Visit the ruins of Monte Albán or Mitla
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Group Leader Description
All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our Chief Experience Officers (CEOs), a G Adventures representative, or an expedition team. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 15, Avg 8.
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. On truck trips in Africa, aboard the expedition ship Explorer or our Galapagos yachts, while trekking in remote regions etc. food is included, plentiful and made of fresh local ingredients. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. For Independent trips please check the itinerary for details of meals included. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Private van, walking.
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Hotels (6 nts).
My Own Room
Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned on this day. Upon arrival to the city on day 1 (or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us), an arrival transfer to the joining hotel is included. When you arrive at the airport, look for the driver holding a National Geographic Journeys sign. Please approach them, and ask them who they are supposed to be picking up (do not tell them your name, they should have this information already). Once they give you the correct name, have your passport ready to show them and you will be on your way!
Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note or bulletin board in the reception with a note from your CEO. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on day 1 (usually between 5pm and 7pm), where you will get a chance to meet your CEO and other travellers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!
If you are arriving later and will miss the Welcome Meeting, your CEO will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need, and with morning instructions for the next day.
**Please note, the arrival transfer included occurs on day 1 of the tour. If you plan to arrive prior to day 1, you will be required to arrange pre-tour accommodation through National Geographic Journeys to be eligible for the transport from the airport. Due to customer experience and quality considerations, all services related to the tour must be continuous.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO. If this is unsuccessful, please refer to our Emergency Contact. If you have not made contact with our representative at the airport within 30 minutes of exiting the baggage claim, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please contact your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Operator (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival transfer or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office San Jose, Costa Rica
During Office hours (Weekdays 9am-5pm Local Time): +506 2224 5560
After hours emergency number: +506 8322 9140
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
We recommend the use of a duffel bag or backpack (whichever you find easiest to carry). You must be able to carry your luggage to our accommodations and should be prepared to load it on and off of transportation, as porters are usually not on hand. A good size daypack is also essential.
- USD cash
- Credit and/or debit card (see spending money)
- G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and trip details
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Camera and film
- Reading/writing material
- Concealable money belt
- Fleece top
- Windproof/waterproof jacket
- Small towel and swim wear
- 4 shirts/t-shirts
- Sun hat
- 1 pair of shorts
- 2 pairs of long trousers
- 1 pair hiking pants/track pants
- Sturdy walking shoes
- Sport sandals
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Watch or alarm clock
- Water bottle
- First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, DEET bug repellant, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. If laundry is not available at your hotel, your CEO will be able to direct you to a nearby laundromat.
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Latin America. Check with your bank. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollar cash, travellers cheques and cards is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100USD (or equivalent).
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
Depending on the exchange rate departure tax is approximately $48 USD per person. This tax is sometimes included in the price of your ticket, contact your airline to confirm.
There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Also at the end of each trip, if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated.
All prices are per person, in USD amounts and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators.
Monte Alban Ruins tour
USD13 public (includes transport)
USD25 private (includes transport, entrance and guide) 9am to 1pm
Folkloric parades, shows, orchestra FREE (Check schedule upon arrival)
The following activities in Oaxaca can be done as an all day tour for USD40 including transport, guide, entrance fees, or they can be done individually as follows:
Tule: USD 0.50 entrance + Transportation (30 mins from Oaxaca)
Mitla: USD 5 entrance + Transportation(1.5 hours from Oaxaca)
Mezcal factory: free entrance (about 1 hour from Oaxaca)
Hierve el Agua: USD2 entrance + Transportation (about 3 hours from Oaxaca)
Teotitlan de Valle: visit a local family that weaves and naturally dyes incredible carpets and tapestries. Free entrance (about 2 hours from Oaxaca)
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at:
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through support of international charities, local organizations and community projects in the places that we visit on our tours. G Adventures matches all individual donations and pays all administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation is doubled and goes directly to support our projects. For more information about Planeterra and the projects we support, or to make a donation, please visit www.planeterra.org
Planeterra Dollar-A-Day Program
Our Dollar-A-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to help us give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar per day for the duration of their tour. 100% of these proceeds will go directly to support our G Adventures for Good projects.
To participate in this program please indicate at the time of booking that you would like to participate in G Adventures’ Dollar-A-Day program, either by clicking the check box online, or by advising your G Adventures specialist or travel agent. (Note: Donation will be charged in the currency of your booking)
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Travel Forum - The Watering Hole
Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you’re interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
Allow USD265-345 for meals not included.
6 breakfasts, 1 lunch
PRODUCT_LINE: CMDNG, ID: 23738
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.
Day 1 Oaxaca
El Día de los Muertos is a holiday in Mexico to honour and pray for loved ones who’ve departed. During this period in Oaxaca – centre-stage for Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico – cemetery vigils and street parades are not to be missed.
Please try to arrive before 6pm for an important group meeting. You will meet your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members.
This is a very popular tour which runs over 1 specific week every year, as a result, we have multiple groups at the same time enjoying the Journeys itinerary but each with their own CEO leading them. There may be other Journeys groups in the same hotel and you will be sure to see them at the various festivities over the week.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Oaxaca (1B)
Take an orientation walk around Oaxaca with your CEO. Visit two massive markets located just off the “zócalo” (main square), here you’ll find many local foods, ornaments, and Day of the Dead essentials for local families.
This tour includes visits to cemeteries in both Xoxocotlan and Atzompa to view the altars and families gathering as dusk turns to dark. The many candles placed around the altars and graves add to the ambiance. In addition, you’ll view Day of the Dead parades in both Oaxaca and the Etla Valley. Participants in these parades dress in elaborate costumes and are serenaded by brass bands. Mezcal, served in small plastic cups, is frequently passed out to those watching the parades.
Day of the Dead takes place between October 31 and November 2 and is a celebration and remembrance of the deceased. Families will build private altars and bring large feasts to cemeteries, to be with the souls of the departed. It is believed that the souls will come back to visit and take part in the celebrations. Some of the “ofrendas” (altars) are very elaborate and include sugar skulls and marigold flowers. In most regions, the souls of infants and children are honoured on November 1. Adults are remembered on November 2. It is generally a festive rather than somber gathering.
The Oaxaca area is well known for its many artisans who make everything from pottery, to elaborate weavings, and mezcal (tequila’s cousin). The group will also have the opportunity to visit a couple of the the nearby communities to see the artisans at work.
The schedule for this tour is very flexible. It allows the CEO to make the best use of your time and is based on the events and activities of the day. The CEO will go over the schedule with you.
Oaxaca Day of the Dead Celebrations
Day 3 Oaxaca (1B, 1L)
Explore the culinary delights of Oaxaca with a local host, who will take us to the local market, the chocolate grinding mills, and a tortilla making workshop. Continue on to a local family’s kitchen and taste an array of local cuisine, learn traditional cooking methods, and discuss the food culture in Oaxaca. There’s also free time to explore the city and its surroundings.
The schedule of this tour is very flexible allowing for the CEO to make the most of your time. The CEO will go over the schedule with you.
Oaxaca Day of the Dead Celebrations
Oaxaca Culinary Experience
Day 4 Oaxaca (1B)
Continue exploring the culture, spirituality, and festivities of the famed Day of the Dead festival.
The schedule for this tour is very flexible. It allows your CEO to make the most of your time in Mexico. The schedule is based around the events of the day. The CEO will go over the schedule with you locally.
Oaxaca Day of the Dead Celebrations
Day 5 Oaxaca (1B)
Continue exploring the culture, spirituality, and festivities of the famed Day of the Dead festival.
The schedule for this tour is very flexible. It allows for the CEO to make the most of your time in Mexico. The schedule is based around the events and activities of the day. The CEO will go over the schedule with you locally.
Oaxaca Day of the Dead Celebrations
Day 6 Oaxaca (1B)
Enjoy your last full day of the Day of the Dead festival.
The schedule of this tour is very flexible allowing for the CEO to make the best of our time based on events and activities on a day-by-day basis. The CEO will go over the schedule with you locally.
Oaxaca Day of the Dead Celebrations
Day 7 Oaxaca (1B)
Depart at any time.