Day of the Dead is one of Mexico’s most revered and unique observances, combining Pre-Hispanic rituals with Catholic traditions. During this time, families gather to remember their departed loved ones. It is believed that through this reflection and memory, they are kept alive! Altars are prepared and grave sites are decorated with candles, flowers, and the food/drink that the departed enjoyed during their lifetimes. Likely, this includes mole, tamales and mezcal! Join us on this unique exploration of the cycle of life and death in Mexico.
Join us on an extraordinary journey to learn about how Mexicans observe Day of the Dead. We’ll visit the grave sites and altars that have been decorated to commemorate the return of deceased family members and loved ones. And, we’ll learn about the “synchretism” or fusion of the Prehispanic world and the Catholic world that produced a unique form of internalized meaning and outward expressions and symbols. By traveling to small villages, we gently observe this most meaningful tradition that honors the memory of loved ones.
Day 1: October 28, Arrive in Morelia (MLM), transfer to our centrally located hotel. We enjoy a light snack at the Portales, across from the Cathedral, which is illuminated at night! (D)
Day 2: October 29, Capula and Morelia. In the morning, we’ll attend the famed Catrina Festival that takes place in the nearby town of Capula. Here we can pick our favorite Catrina figurines, made of clay, or some lovely dishes. Returning to Morelia, we’ll visit the highlights here. Morelia is a conservative city with deep traditions in higher education, music and the arts. Highlights include: The Government Palace and Alfredo Zalce Murals, Palace of Justice, Cathedral, Temple of the Roses, the former Aqueduct, and the outstanding Casa de las Artesanias (B, L)
Day 3: October 30, Flower Fields and Patzcuaro. After breakfast, we depart for the lakeside town of Patzcuaro. En route, we’ll pay a visit to the local farmers who have been cultivating their marigold fields since May, for the Day of the Dead celebrations. In this lakeside community, you can smell the lake air and the rich earth that combine to produce a bountiful harvest of marigolds. This bucolic paradise is followed by a guided walking tour of Patzcuaro that includes visits to: the Basilica, Large and Small Town Squares, House of Eleven Patios. Dinner at leisure in Patzcuaro. (B, L)
Day 4: October 31, Tzintzuntzan and Santa Fe de La Laguna, After breakfast, travel to the lakeside ruins of the Prehispanic Purepecha empire in Tzintzuntzan. Little is known about the early Purepecha people, but it is believed that they are descendants of peoples from northwestern Mexico, known as the Chichimecas. You’ll spend time visiting the present-day village and artisans of Tzintzuntzan. From here, you’ll travel back in time, to the first community founded in the region, in 1533, Santa Fe de la Laguna, to explore this small town that looks like it froze in time. Enjoy a lunch of regional cuisine. Returning to Patzcuaro, your evening is at leisure. (B, L)
Day 5: Dawn Vigil of the Little Angels and Evening at Cemetaries. November 1, Today you’ll rise before dawn, quaff down coffee and breakfast and head out on our early morning boat journey across Lake Patzcuaro to the island community of Janitzio. Travel is early in order to witness the Vigil of the Little Angels, where the souls of children who have died, are visited. Following your return boat journey, the afternoon is free to attend the Artisan Concurso and to stroll and shop in Patzcuaro. In the evening, you’ll depart to witness the visits to home altars and the night grave site vigils that take place in the communities surrounding Lake Patzcuaro. It is here that we begin to understand how Mexican people view the concept of life and death.(B)
Day 6: November 2, Santa Clara del Cobre, Morelia. On our final day in the Patzcuaro region, you’ll pay a visit to the famed copper town of Santa Clara del Cobre. Here, you’ll learn experience the hammered copper workshops to learn of this ancient tradition and craft. In town, enjoy a “corunda” tamale making workshop / demo and enjoy our lunch of these regional delicacies. Finally, you’ll visit the local gravesite to see how the people of this community celebrate by day, by visiting their loved ones, hiring local bands and sharing food, to honor and celebrate the return of their loved ones. At the end of the day, we’ll return to Morela. (B, L)
Day 7: November 3, Morelia at Leisure. Today, you can enjoy Morelia at leisure, a city we have surely grown to love. In the evening, we’ll join together for our fabulous farewell dinner at one of Morelia’s top restaurants.(B, D)
Day 8: November 4, Depart for Home