Day of the Dead Tour
October - November 2023
This small group tour during Day of the Dead is a wonderful combination of exploring the culture, history and textiles/crafts with local celebrations and archaeological sites. Highlights of the tour include: a boat ride through the Sumidero Canyon, time in San Cristóbal to explore Chamula and local cemetery during Day of the Dead, textile museum and weaver’s co-op, craft shops and galleries. Then on to the archaeological sites of Tonina, Palenque, Bonampak, Yaxchilan each in a unique setting. Time spent in Villahermosa.
Most meals (see itinerary)
Group ground transportation to/from airport
Daily tours with local guide and private van (see itinerary)
Admissions to museums, churches and archaeological sites
DAY 1: (D)
Upon arrival at the Tuxtla Gutierrez Airport there will be one group transfer to our hotel in Tuxtla Gutierrez. This evening we will get together for a group dinner. Overnight in Tuxtla Gutierrez.
DAY 2: (B,L)
After breakfast, we head to Chiapa de Corzo, as the point for exploring the magnificent Cañon del Sumidero (Sumidero Canyon). We depart from Chiapa de Corzo via motorboat “lancha” for a two-hour (40 kilometer) ride through this winding river gorge for up close views of the canyon walls that tower an impressive 800m (2,625) overhead. Brief stops along the way with explanations of the various coves and rock formations, plus a beautiful mist-blown waterfall known as Arbol de Navidad (Christmas Tree). Lunch in Chiapa de Corzo and time to visit La Pila Fountain in the town’s main plaza. In the afternoon we drive to San Cristóbal and check into our hotel. Dinner on your own. Overnight in San Cristobal.
DAY 3: (B,L)
Today we head out to San Juan Chamula, a small town located 10km (6 miles) northwest of San Cristóbal de las Casas and home to the fiercely independent Tzotzil community. In Chamula, Day of the Dead is a lively fiesta with live bands, booths selling all sorts of food, ice cream carts and hundreds and hundreds of highland Chamulan is dressed up in their best festival garb and is a full feast for the senses. El Dia del los Muertos and Día de Todos los Santos on the first and second of November is a time when families gather at Zincantan’s two cemeteries that sit high in the mountains. The graves yards are covered with flowers in unbelievable layers of color. You’ll want to step inside San Juan Chamula’s church, the Cathedral San Juan Bautista. Though it appears like any other church on the outside, when you enter you realize it’s no ordinary Catholic space. The aroma of pine, flowers, incense and candles greet you as you enter the church. The floor is covered with pine needles, cut fresh from the forest and carried here every Saturday and statues of saints line the walls. There are no pews and no altar inside their church. Instead, worshippers kneel on the floor, lighting candles and chanting. Next a visit to a Weaver’s Co-op or Weaving workshop to see some incredible regional textiles. Lunch at a roadside restaurant. Today we also visit a local cemetery in Zincantan with its flower bathed tombs and walk around the celebrations taking place. No photos allowed, but the colors and sights will remain etched in your memory forever. Dinner on your own. Overnight in San Cristóbal.
DAY 4: (B,L)
Breakfast at the hotel. This morning we will have a guided walking tour of San Cristóbal to include El Zocalo, La Catedral de San Cristóbal, Templo y Ex-Convento de Santo Domingo de Guzman, Sña Jolobil Weaver's Co-op, and el Museo de los Altos de Chiapas. Lunch in San Cristóbal. Free time in the afternoon to explore at your leisure. Dinner on your own. Overnight in San Cristóbal.
DAY 5: (B,L)
Breakfast at the hotel. Today’s schedule includes a visit to Orquideas Moxviquil and the Textile Museum. Orquideas Moxviquil is a botanical orchid garden and plant rescue center located in the highlands of Chiapas. Orquideas Moxviquil works to rescue and preserve orchids and epiphytes (non-parasitic plants living on the bark of trees and shrubs) from areas suffering from deforestation as well as to educate the public about the region’s biodiversity. In addition to a rainbow of plants and orquideas flowers, there are greenhouses, a visitors center, amphitheater, sculpture garden and a large man-made lagoon that collects rainwater used to irrigate the grounds of the reserve. Lunch at a restaurant in San Cristóbal. Then we visit El Centro de Textiles Del Mundo Maya, a new world class textile museum which underwent extensive renovation to accommodate Guatemalan textiles from Fomento Cultural Banamex Collection and the Pellizzi Collection of Chiapan textiles. They have excellent examples of ceremonial garments from Chiapas and Guatemala. Dinner on your own. Overnight in San Cristóbal.
DAY 6: (B,L,D)
Breakfast at hotel. Check out of hotel and early departure. We'll travel to Ocosingo (located halfway between San Cristóbal and Palenque), home of the Mayan ruins of Tonina. The town features beautiful temples, amazing stucco murals, a hillside perch, intriguing history, a museum, and few tourists. Lunch at the ruins. Next we visit El Parque Nacional de Agua Azul, where luminescent blue water tumbles over a series of powerful waterfalls and gathers in calm clear pools, perfect for swimming. There is a trail that leads up to the top of the waterfalls and takes about 1 hour to hike up and back. We'll take time to relax here before we head on to Palenque. Dinner at Don Muchos. Overnight in Palenque.
DAY 7: (B,L)
Early departure as this will be a long day. We will stop for breakfast in Valle Escondido at a roadside restaurant for a buffet breakfast which includes eggs, beans, coffee, juice, fresh fruit homemade tortillas and more, served in an open air dining area beneath a thick forest canopy. Our first stop will be Bonampak. Secluded in jungle about 113 miles (183 km) southeast of Palenque along the Rio Lacanja, is the remarkably well-preserved ruins of a Mayan temple. Called Bonampak, it means "painted walls" and the frescoes are incredibly well preserved and the highlight of a visit to Bonampak. Lunch at a roadside restaurant. Then on to Yaxchilan (Yax-chee-LAN), which means “Place of Green Stones” in Mayan, is a place of wondrous temples, plazas and story-telling carvings and sculptures. During its hey-day (the Late Classical Period of 800 to 1000 AD), Yaxchilan developed into a very powerful and influential urban and trade center on the banks of the Usumacinta River. Yaxchilan can only be reached by boat along the river with Mexico on one side and Guatemala on the other side. Dinner on your own. Overnight in Palenque.
DAY 8: (B,L)
Breakfast at the hotel. Today’s agenda includes a visit to the archaeological site of Palenque and Aluxes Animal Ecoparque. Palenque – an UNESCO World Heritage site is surrounded by lush tropical forest and jungle, this site has a serene, mystical atmosphere. There is an important thing to keep in mind when you're wandering around these ruins: everything you see was built without the benefit of metal tools, the horse or the wheel. This place was created with nothing but the tenacity of human labor. The surrounding forest is home to a huge variety of wildlife, such as the colorful toucan and monkeys, including howling monkeys. Lunch at a roadside restaurant. Aluzes Animal Ecoparque is a center for conservation and wildlife rescue, offering a new and attractive concept of ecological park inspired by the culture and designed for family recreation and environmental education in total harmony with nature. In Aluxes has integrated a live regional flora and fauna collection, which is an essential part of conservation programs, environmental education, restoration, propagation, rehabilitation and reproduction of native species. Dinner on your own. Overnight in Palenque.
DAY 9: (B,L,D)
Breakfast at the hotel, then leave Palenque for a 2.5 hour drive to Villahermosa. We will visit the Parque Museo De La Venta an open air museum with over 30 colossal basalt heads and other sculptures moved from the Olmec archeological site of LaVenta in the late 1950’s when oil exploration was growing. The park included an interesting zoo and lake. Lunch in Villahermosa. Group farewell dinner. Overnight in Villahermosa.
Breakfast not included due to early departure. Group transportation to the airport is provided by the hotel.
B - Breakfast
L - Lunch
D - Dinner
Meals not included in itinerary
Tips to driver, guide, etc.
Non-group transportation to/from airport