Day of the Dead is one of the most important and impressive festivals in Mexico. Yet many of the most authentic ceremonies remain inaccessible to outsiders.

Travel beyond the guidebooks with small-group, cultural tour company, Traditions Mexico, and experience unparalleled access to Day of the Dead ceremonies deep in the Oaxaca Outback and among the Maya of Chiapas with the following two 3-day tours.

1. The Return of the Souls. Day of the Dead in Outback OaxacaOctober 31 - November 2, 2011. 

Oaxaca © Eric Mindling 

Beautiful, moving and fascinating and in the midst of the most lovely time of year, Day of the Dead in Oaxaca is not to be missed. This unique trip takes the celebration even one step further, transporting travelers far beyond the crowds and carnival atmosphere that have become the festival norm around Oaxaca city and into a remote village seemingly lost in time in outback Oaxaca.

Slow down, walk the earthen streets, smell the river scented air, and meet bakers, wood cutters and tamale makers, and truly immerse yourself in a small town’s preparations for the return of the souls of their loved ones. Join them in the candle-lit pre-dawn quiet of the cemetery for this one of a kind ceremony. And enjoy a natural wonderland of cactus and red-rock cliffs, with a nearby blue river and the almost unknown mountaintop ruins of a lost civilization waiting to be explored.

This small-group trip is not for everyone. But if getting beyond the crowds and into authentic culture and natural beauty appeal to you, this unique expedition into the heart of Oaxaca is for you. COST: $495 US Includes all specified meals, private transportation and lodging (double occupancy, single rooms are not available). 

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2. The Domain of the Earthlord. Day of the Dead Among the Maya. October 21-23, 2011.


Chiapas © Eric Mindling.This journey takes guests into four cemeteries in four towns where, from exuberant to hushed, each community has its own way of observing these sacred days. There will also be an unusual, in-depth visit to Chamula and a lively and informed adventure through the largest market in the highlands.         

Language, cultural knowledge and connections are the keys to opening the doors of Mayan culture. The quality of this trip is enhanced by the fortunate presence of guide, Chip Morris, a renowned Mayan scholar and author who speaks the highland languages of Tzotzil and Tzeltal. COST: US$360. Price includes guides, transport in private van, lunches daily, small group (4-12 guests).  

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About Traditions Mexico

Traditions Mexico offers culturally sensitive, small group tours throughout indigenous southern Mexico. Their pioneering expeditions are built on appreciation and respect for traditional people, their knowledge and the world they live in. Through traditional arts, cuisine and festivals Traditions Mexico opens the doors to the richly diverse cultures of Mexico. For information and bookings, visit


Source: Traditions Mexico.



Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".