"In the night of death, hope sees a star, and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing."
CELEBRATE DIA DE MUERTOS
In the Heart of the P'urepecha Plateau of Michoacan's Highlands
Starting & ending in Mexico City, this tour includes return transportation to the airport, unless you are heading elsewhere.
This tour runs October 24-November 4, 2021. If you would like to customize your experience, it is possible to request a custom tour price quote.
Unless organized as a custom experience, this tour is for adults only.
Set tours are for 10-12 guests. If we are customizing your tour, please let us know how many are in your group. Custom tours can be as large as 16 per van or 26 in a bus.
This tour is easy, with the exception of being out late on Noche de Muertos. This tour is a night tour.
ADD ON TOUR
Add on additional days to explore Mexico City's highlights
A UNESCO PROTECTED HUMAN HISTORY
Dia de Muertos is an auspicious and magical time of year, when indigenous peoples engage in ancestor worship. This sacred observation is one that involves an intensity of preparation and planning, which we will witness in the week leading up to November 1. We ask our guests to read through the cultural protocols for this tour, out of respect for the locals and the fact that they welcome us to observe their annual ritual.
Day 01: Saturday October 24, 2020 - Mexico City
Land in Mexico City; Orientation Dinner
Day 02: Sunday October 25, 2020 - Patzcuaro
Commute to Capula Catrina Festival; Arrive in Patzcuaro
Day 03: Monday October 26, 2020 - Patzcuaro
Perspectives on P'urepecha Culture Part 1
Day 04: Tuesday October 27, 2020 - Patzcuaro
Perspectives on P'urepecha Culture Part 2
Day 05: Wednesday October 28, 2020 - Patzcuaro
Santa Clara del Cobre & Isla de Janitzio
Day 06: Thursday October 29, 2020 - Patzcuaro
Cultural Cooking class with Indigenous Chef Victoria Chavez
Day 07: Friday October 30, 2020 - Patzcuaro
Circumnavigate Lake Patzcuaro
Day 08: Saturday October 31, 2020 - Morelia
La Ruta del Mezcal & La Fiesta de Catrina & Altar Party
Day 09: Saturday October 24, 2020 - Morelia
Noche de Muertos Cemetery Tour
Day 10: Saturday October 24, 2020 - Morelia
Dia de Muertos Cemetery Tour
Day 11: Saturday October 24, 2020 - Morelia
Champagne Brunch & A Day of Rest
Day 12: Saturday October 24, 2020 - Mexico City / Next Destination
Return to Mexico City or depart for your next destination
The cost for this tour is $40,000 MXN per person, based on shared accommodations.
If you are traveling with a friend and would like 2 beds, please contact us for a price quote, as we are sometimes charged extra.
Single Supplement is $8000 MXN. If you are willing to share accommodations with someone of the same sex, please contact us for possible arrangements.
This tour is designed for those who love a diverse cultural experience while traveling. Our extended tour includes everything from our 7 Night Tour, but will also introduce you to award winning indigenous chef Victoria Chavez, for a cooking class at her Patzcuaro restaurant. We will explore much more of the Lake Patzcuaro region, including a day spent circumnavigating the picturesque lake. As we have included a day of rest at the end of this tour, which you could use for exploring the UNESCO centro of Morelia, we can also include La Ruta Mezcal in this tour, so you can sample the best mezcal's Michoacan has on offer! Several day tours engage areas of Michoacan few tourists visit, making them authentic villages to visit and an experience to truly write home about!
DIA DE MUERTOS - A BRIEF EXPLANATION
Autumn has long been considered an auspicious time in many cultures around the world who acknowledge the changing colours as trees shed their leaves and the last of the crops become ripe for harvest. This is a transformative time of year when many living things enjoy their final moments before winter sets in. This fragile line is a promising window between the world of the living and the dead – a time when the veil between the two is so thin, it becomes near invisible.
As this is a holiday of national importance, there are many preparations that take place behind the scenes, such as growing enough flowers to supply countless cemeteries throughout the land. Traditional altar frames must be constructed, to be later decorated with an abundance of flowers. Grand arch-frames are also adorned with flowers and raised in key places, as doorways between the living and the dead. The cemeteries must be cleansed and cleared, to make way for a fresh and elaborate display of flowers, candles, food offerings, photographs and other elements significant to this observation. As Dia de Muertos draws near, the locals are in full action, creating beautiful flower-petal pathways from their homes to the cemeteries, erecting their altars on the graves of their loved ones, and preparing to light the candles. To imagine – all of this is happening as the annual cycle of the most important indigenous crop is coming to a close, with the corn harvest. To call this an important and busy time is an understatement.
There are a number of different flowers associated with Dia de Muertos. Most of them have a very strong scent, as it is believed this is pleasing to the souls of the ancestors. The most prominent flower is called cempasuchi – which is known in English as marigold. The Nahuatl root of this word is cempohualxochitl. Cempohual is in reference to the number 20, and when combined with xochitl, the word for flower, cempohualxochitl translates as “flower with 20 petals.” Due to the bright yellow hue, reminiscent of the sun, marigolds were of significant importance to the sun worshipping Mexica. These flowers have been used for funerary rites and to adorn tombs since pre-Hispanic times. It is interesting to note – in 2016, the marigold harvest of Mexico was worth an estimated 80.4 million pesos (SIAP).
Terciopelo Rojo is also known as the cockscomb flower. Red in colour, this flower grows in various conditions and can last up to 8 weeks. It is unclear as to whether or not this flower was used in pre-Hispanic times, as it is most conflated today as representing the blood of Christ. There is much evidence of Christianity in modern Dia de Muertos celebrations, including crosses on graves, and this red flower is used to adorn the cemeteries, creating a beautiful contrast of colour with the bright yellow and orange marigolds.
Other flowers made their way from the Mediterranean and Asia to the cemeteries of Dia de Muertos. Hoary Stock, or Alheli Blanco, is a white flower often placed on the graves of young children. Baby’s breath is sometimes arranged together with hoary stock. Chrysanthemums from Asia are also used by some during Dia de Muertos, and this is directly connected to All Souls Day celebrations from Spain.
Other important elements Dia de Muertos include water, salt and fire. Some say glasses of water are left to quench the thirst of the spirits, while others say it merely represents the underworld. Salt is connected to purification, and the flames of lit candles are important for lighting the way through the darkness. Some leave seeds for the dead – as an offering for prosperous crops in the afterlife. Baskets of food are also left for the ancestors, and are often comprised of fruits, pan de muertos, and other favourite foods of the deceased, such as different sweets, tamales, or even a can of beer with a package of cigarettes.
In 2008, Dia de Muertos was officially inscribed in UNESCO’s protection as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
CIUDAD DE MEXICO
ARRIVAL IN MEXICO CITY
DAY 1: Saturday October 24, 2020
Welcome to the bustling and cosmopolitan capital of Mexico! Touted as the “New York” of Latin America, Mexico City is an exciting experience, with gorgeous parks, historical architectural, colourful markets, diverse cuisine and more museums per capita, than any other city in the world.
Once we have your arrival time confirmed, we can arrange plans for an orientation and welcome party. If you are landing very early, and would like to explore, we can make some suggestions for a self-guided adventure, or arrange for a guided tour for an additional cost.
HOTEL LOCATION: Mexico City
JOURNEY TO THE P'UREPECHA PLATEAU
& CAPULA'S CATRINA FESTIVAL
DAY 2: Sunday October 25, 2020
This morning we will check out of our hotel by 7:30 AM, for breakfast at one of late Anthony Bourdain's restaurants, Fonda Margarita. Departing by 8:30 AM, we will take the Toll Highway to Morelia, then head for lunch at the Catrina Festival in Capula. The commute time will be just over five hours. We will enjoy time to browse through the art market, leaving no later than 4 PM to visit the romantic estate and art studio of Maestro Juan Torres before departing for check-in at our hotel in Patzcuaro.
HOTEL LOCATION: Patzcuaro
HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES ON
THE P'UREPECHA CULTURE PART ONE
DAY 3: Monday October 26, 2020
We are honoured to be working with local guide and expert Jaime Balderas for a few days this Dia de Muertos. Due to being high-in-demand, Jaime is often fully booked, so we are really pleased about this opportunity. He is going to organize a two day schedule for you, which will include parts of this region rarely visited by locals or foreigners. Jaime's passion for the P'urepecha people and their culture means he has not only nurtured close relationships with their communities, but has also taken the time to learn the P'urepecha language, which is a show of immense respect. There are approximately 30,000 speakers of P'urepecha in this region, most of whom speak Spanish as a second language. Some of the elderly don't speak Spanish at all.
We will post the details of his tours for you once he has mapped it out - but we promise this will be an enriching cultural experience that will find you in the most authentic villages of the P'urepecha Plateau, such as the political town of Cheran and the luthier village of Paracho.
HOTEL LOCATION: Patzcuaro
HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES ON THE
P'UREPECHA CULTURE PART TWO
DAY 4: Tuesday October 27, 2020
HOTEL LOCATION: Patzcuaro
SANTA CLARA DEL COBRE,
& THE ISLAND OF JANITZIO
DAY 5: Wednesday October 28, 2020
Driving into a village of open doors that shimmer with the warmth of copper makes Santa Clara del Cobre worthy of its title as a Pueblo Magico. We will arrive here around 10 AM, stopping first for a copper demonstration with the Perez family. Tips here are customary – with patrons tipping anywhere from 25-50 MXP each. If you have come clad in sandals and bare legs, you may decide to sit out participating in this fun demonstration – though you are certainly welcome to pound the copper regardless.
After browsing through the galleries near the Plaza, we will depart for Rancho la Mesa Restaurant for lunch. With open-air views of the lake, you will enjoy a zoom lens to photograph the distant Isla de Janitzio, with the statue of Jose Maria Morelos crowning the small island. We recommend bringing a light jacket or wrap, as the open-air restaurant can be chilly on breezy afternoons.
From Rancho la Mesa, we will go to the docks of Patzcuaro for an afternoon boat-ride to the Island of Janitzio. This touristy island is a mesmerizing feast for photographers, due to the several staircases lined with countless little shops, galleries and restaurants, winding up a steep ascent to the statue of Morelos. Once at the base of the statue, you can keep climbing up inside of the monument to the life of Morelos, complete with an extensive collection of paintings about his life. Those who are feeling especially energetic can also climb around the other side to where the cemetery is, while those who want to rest can enjoy some drinks and a snack on the waterfront.
We will return to Patzcuaro around 5:30 PM.
HOTEL LOCATION: Patzcuaro
A CULTURAL COOKING CLASS
WITH CHEF VICTORIA GONZALEZ CHAVEZ
DAY 6: Thursday October 29, 2020
Spend the majority of your day in a traditional kitchen, learning about the cultural and regional cuisine of Apatzingan, which is located in the Tierra Caliente region of Michoacan. Award winning chef, Victoria Gonzalez Chavez, will start our day in the morning, teaching you how to prepare a traditional drink, regional salsa, a local dinner specialty and dessert. Of course - we also get to feast!
This morning, before we begin, our guide will offer a walking tour of Patzcuaro.
HOTEL LOCATION: Patzcuaro
CIRCUMNAVIGATE LAKE PATZCUARO
TO PUEBLO HOSPITAL IN SANTA FE DE LAGUNA
DAY 7: Friday October 30 2020
Friday's are special in the tiny pueblo of Santa Fe de Laguna, as every week ends with a communal meal. Set-up by Don Vasco de Quiroga in the mid 1500's, Santa Fe de Laguna's tradition of Pueblo Hospital was the first of its kind in the state of Michoacan. Today we will enjoy a glimpse of what Pueblo Hospital means for this authentic village, coinciding preparations for Dia de Muertos.
Departing Patzcuaro by 9 AM, we will first visit a mask maker in the tiny village of Tocuaro, before moving on the artist enclave of Erongaricuaro, where Frida and Diego once frequented. We will have a chance to explore the plaza and witness local preparations before continuing on to the small town of Oponguio for the local mezcal distillery. Enjoy scenic views of the lake as we finally make our way to Santa Fe de Laguna. Quiroga is only a few mins away from Santa Fe de Laguna, where Chef Diego will have his grill piping hot and ready to serve us his famous Molcajetes. From here, we will visit Manuel Morelos of Tzintzuntzan for those who would like some high quality pottery platters or dishes. We will spend the afternoon in Tzintzuntzan exploring the Convent and market there. Our last stop will be at the art studio of Mario Lopez, who was the originator of steel-framed animals, baskets and furniture made from woven reeds from the lake. This is a lovely drive that will conclude our circumnavigation of Lake Patzcuaro with our return to the hotel.
Please Note: We will visit the Archaeoloigcal ruins of Tzintzuntzan on Dia de Muertos, and will have a chance to explore the cemetery here that day.
HOTEL LOCATION: Patzcuaro
THE ICONIC CATRINA
The Catrina has become an iconic symbol of Dia de los Muertos, though her history is rather complex. Originating with print-maker, cartoonist and lithographer Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913) of Aguascalientes, La Catrina was Posada’s satirical critique of native Mexicans who impoverished themselves at the expense of aspiring to European aristocracy. Politically, Jose Guadalupe Posada’s satires were critiques of Mexican dictator Porfirio Diaz, whose reign created polar extremes between the wealthy and impoverished. While Diaz is praised for contributing to the financial stability of Mexico through modernization, he was also materialistic, corrupt and quite obsessed with European excesses. This era is important in the history of Mexico, as it sparked the 1910 rebellion that ended Diaz’s rule in 1911, while igniting the Mexican Revolution.
The most famous calavera sketch, La Calavera Garbancera, shows a woman dressed in her chapeau en attende, or European style hat. Presented as “Skull of the female stripper who is married to a Dandy," the illustration was meant to mock the extravagance of fanciful things, while not having substantial funds for monthly expenses.
Posada died in poverty in 1913, and wasn’t recognized until the 1920’s. Since that time, a number have artists have interpreted La Catrina, offering her enough fame that she is now synonymous with Dia de Muertos, and a famous Mexican Icon.
Soul of Mexico Tours
- PRESENTS -
Our 3rd Annual
Fiesta de Catrina!
CIELO COCINA FUSION
Terraza, Blvd. García de León 700, Nueva Chapultepec, 58280 Morelia, Michoacan Mexico
Doors Open 6:30 - Entertainment 6:30-10 PM
Tickets $1600 MXN
Included with Dia de Muertos Tour through
of Mexico Tours.com
Doors open at 6:30 with live entertainment by Gypsy Jazz Band Dusty Fingers. Costume is mandatory.
Please pack something dressy to wear tonight
Make-up Artist Topacio Tapia & team will arrive at your hotel early to paint your faces
Please bring a photo of a loved one, no larger than a 4x6 image in a small frame
Bring a small momento that reminds you of your loved one. Could be a miniature or non-perishable food offering. (Must be small)
Pack your laughter and let the good times roll!
Ticket Price includes 6 Course Meal, Entertainment and Altar Construction & Explanation. Tick Price does not include drinks or tips. Chance to win one of three Prizes!
FROM LA RUTA DEL MEZCAL
TO LA FIESTA DE CATRINA
DAY 8: Saturday October 31, 2020
Vegetal with a touch of citrus, a hint of anise, or spicy floral notes is a colourful way to describe the flavours of your day, today. Step into the van for your next Mexican undertaking – along La Ruta del Mezcal. Enjoy the lovely pine forests of Michoacan’s back-country from Patzcuaro along the maze of winding, rural roads dotted with occasional farms, and distant churches with tiny villages. Watch out for countless Avocodo plantations, and other forms of agriculture – until you reach the centre of Michoacan’s Mezcal region – and the open fields will reveal small crops of agave. Walk the fields, sip the mezcal, and purchase artesanal gifts for home!
When we reach Morelia, it’s time to get fancy! We hope you have brought something dressy or elegant for this evening, for tonight is La Fiesta de la Catrina! Professional make-up artist Topacio Tapia will be waiting for you with her team, ready to transform you into a skeletal, but gorgeous, Catrina! Our dinner party starts with cocktails and an appy at 6:30PM – with our main courses commencing by 7:30. We will enjoy entertainment by local Gypsy Jazz group Dusty Fingers.
HOTEL LOCATION: Morelia
NOCHE DE MUERTOS CELEBRATIONS
AROUND LAKE PATZCUARO
DAY 9: Sunday November 1, 2020
We will enjoy a leisurely morning, with breakfast scheduled for 8:30-11:00 AM. By 11:30, board the van and engage in one of the most memorable and magical days of your life! Noche de Muertos is incredibly crowded and exciting – albeit, crowds can cause frustration at times.
Guests are welcome to pack beer, wine or spirits in the cooler for this evening. It is common for locals and visitors alike, to have drinks on the night of Muertos. If you would like to make the small children happy, please bring pockets full of 1 peso coins, or small candies.
HOTEL LOCATION: Morelia
DIA DE MUERTOS CELEBRATIONS
AROUND LAKE PATZCUARO
DAY 10: Monday November 2, 2020
Tired and still buzzing, we will meet for breakfast at 10 AM. We will depart the hotel by 11 AM for our exploration of Dia de Muertos day two! Once you are confirmed, we will send you details for this day. Due to high traffic, we prefer to keep our plans concealed. We will return to Morelia at around 4 PM.
HOTEL LOCATION: Morelia
A DAY OF REST
DAY 11: Tuesday November 3, 2020
Dia de Muertos can be an exciting, yet overwhelming observation for many, as it is a time for remembering our loved ones who have passed on. This can bring up feelings of sadness and joy, and with the excitement of everything going on, it is truly important to have a day of rest following this rich time, to contemplate recent experiences and enjoy some quiet and thoughtful introspection.
We will enjoy a completely free day – so you can sleep in, eat breakfast late, rise early, explore the majestic and opulent city of Morelia, read a book – or do whatever makes you feel at peace.
Tonight, we will enjoy our last supper together before our departure the following day. Dinner reservation TBA.
Champagne Brunch: 11 AM Dinner: 7:00 PM
Please Note: Day 12 - November 5th: Morelia is located 5+ hours away from the CDMX Airport. For international flights, you are required to check-in 3 hours ahead of schedule. If you are returning to Mexico City for your departing flight, we highly recommend staying in Mexico City this night, as your commute plus wait time is 8+ hours. Alternately, you can fly home from Morelia International Airport. You will only need to check in 2 hours ahead of time, and your commute from the city of Morelia is only about 1/2 hour. If you have any questions about these options, feel free to contact us for more information.