Mexico City: Day of the Dead Trip Notes

Mexico City: Day of the Dead

Last Modified: 01 Jun 2016
Mexico City: Day of the Dead
Trip code: QVAD-O
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Join in the celebrations of one of the world's most bizarre cultural institutions – Mexico's Day of the Dead – on this special festival-themed trip running over the Halloween period. Visit the museums of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera and learn all about their fascination with death. Wander about the sacred indigenous site of Tepoztlan, attend a traditional Day of the Dead ceremony in Mixquic and see elaborate altars dedicated to the decreased. This fun-filled festival trip will leave you with a much enhanced appreciation for the Mexican way of life – and for the dead!
Table of Contents
StyleYour fellow travellersEmergency contact
ThemesAccommodationVisas
Why we love itAccommodation NotesWhat to take
MapMeals introductionClimate and seasonal information
ItineraryMealsHealth
Itinerary disclaimerMoney mattersTravel insurance
Physical ratingGroup leaderA couple of rules
Included activitiesSafetyResponsible Travel
Important notesJoining pointThe Intrepid Foundation
Group sizeFinish pointFeedback
Style
Original
Themes
Festivals and Events
Why we love it
- Visit the Frida Kahlo Museum in delightful Coyoacan
- Fiesta the night away at a vibrant street party
- Witness Day of the Dead ceremonies in Mixquic
- Help to create a traditional Day of the Dead altar
- Explore the historic town of Tepoztlan
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Mexico City
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Mexico.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 11am on Day 1 (30 Oct).
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
After the meeting your leader will take you out for a walking tour of Mexico City’s historic centre including the famous Zocalo, Metropolitan Cathedral, Templo Mayor and Palacio de Bellas Artes. The tour will also include a stop at Mercado San Juan where you can enjoy some delicious local food for lunch (lunch not included).
Modern meets ancient in Mexico City - one of the world's largest urban centres. Although crowded and smoggy, D.F. (Distrito Federal) offers a great variety of impressive museums, galleries and architecture, along with exciting night life and delicious street food. Head to the Zocalo, the city's huge central square, to see Aztec ruins and colonial architecture or relax in one of the many parks, plazas and gardens.
This itinerary is designed to provide the best possible experience of the annual Day of the Dead festivities around Mexico City. As such, there is very limited free time to explore many of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, including the Museum of Anthropology, Teotihuacan and Chapultepec Park. We recommend you stay a few extra days before or after the tour to make the most of this vibrant metropolis. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be happy to assist.

We will also be operating multiple departure of this tour in 2016 so it possible that more than one group will be at some locations or activities at the same time. However, each group will have a maximum of 12 passengers with its own dedicated tour leader.
Included Activities
  • Mexico City - City Tour
    Accommodation
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Day 2 Mexico City
    This morning we visit both Museum Anahuacalli and the Frida Kahlo Museum in the leafy neighbourhood of Coyoacan.
    Built of black volcanic stone, Museum Anahuacalli was established by Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo's husband. During his life he collected nearly 60,000 pre-Hispanic pieces which represent almost all of the indigenous civilisations in Mexico’s history. Both Diego and Frida were obsessed with death which can be seen throughout their art. As such, the museum organises different activities and workshops during the Day of the Dead celebrations.
    The Frida Kahlo Museum is located in the house where the iconic artist lived throughout her life. It contains a collection of her artwork, as well as artefacts, photographs, and personal items.
    There will also be free time to explore the Coyoacan market. The actual order of these activities will be decided by your leader on the day.
    Later, head out with the group for an optional evening of dinner and drinks in one of Mexico City's hippiest neighbourhoods.
    Included Activities
    • Mexico City - Museo Anahuacalli
    • Mexico City - Frida Kahlo Museum
      Accommodation
      Hotel (1 nt)
      Day 3 Mexico City
      First thing this morning we’ll head to UNAM (University of Mexico) to see its spectacular display of traditional Day of the Dead altars. This is a very popular activity for locals so hopefully we’ll avoid the long queues by arriving early.
      This afternoon you may like to take an optional trip to Xochimilco (approx 28 km away) to visit the Doll's Island. Doll's Island (or Isla de las Munecas) is an island dedicated to the lost soul of a poor girl who drowned in mysterious circumstances. This small island is home to hundreds of dolls - many of them with severed limbs, decapitated heads and black eyes - who are said to be possessed by the girl's spirit. Local legends says that the dolls move their heads and arms and have even been known to open their eyes!
      We will head back to Mexico City and in the evening we will join one of the many street parties that traditionally take place around the city.
      Optional Activities
      • Mexico City - Xochimilco Doll's Island visit - USD45
        Accommodation
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Day 4 Mexico City
        This morning we leave early and travel by private transport to Tepoztlan (approximately 80km away) to explore this fascinating town and the nearby Aztec ruins with a local guide.
        Tepoztlan is considered the birthplace of the Mesoamerican god, Quetzalcoatl, and is therefore an important indigenous site. The town itself has a well-preserved historic centre and is surrounded by soaring cliffs, on the top of which is the Tepozteco pyramid. Many people still feel a kind of magic or energy about the town and it is a mecca for artists and mystics.
        The one hour walk up hill to the pyramid can be quite challenging. If you don't feel up to it, you can stay and spend more time exploring Tepoztlan.
        This afternoon we will go to see traditional altar building and/or lamp creating that forms part of the Day of the Dead ceremony. With luck, we'll be able to get our hands dirty helping to create these objects, and then participate in the ceremony that follows. As part of the Day of the Dead people organise ceremonies at the cemetery for those not physically with them any longer. This tradition is particularly colourful and festive in the town of Mixquic – where we will visit. The ceremony starts in the afternoon with families decorating the tombs and continues on well into the night with parties, music and tequila (of course).
        Included Activities
        • Mexico City - El Tepozteco Ruins guided tour
        • Mexico City - Tepoztlan altar making
        • Mexico City - San Andres Mixquic Cemetery visit
          Accommodation
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Day 5 Mexico City
          As we will arrive back from the activities in Mixquic late on Day 4, your leader will arrange a final brunch on the morning of Day 5 so you can meet and say farewell to your new friends.

          Check out from the hotel is at 10am. You may like to extend your time here and allow yourself a day or two more to take in some of the many palaces, churches and temples, or to sit and watch life go by in the Alameda Central. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be able to assist.
          Itinerary disclaimer
          ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

          OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
          Physical rating

          We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the weeks before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trip to its fullest.
          Included activities
          Mexico City - City Tour
          Mexico City - Museo Anahuacalli
          Mexico City - Frida Kahlo Museum
          Mexico City - El Tepozteco Ruins guided tour
          Mexico City - Tepoztlan altar making
          Mexico City - San Andres Mixquic Cemetery visit
          Important notes
          The single supplement for this trip is now sold out.

          Group size
          Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
          Your fellow travellers
          GROUP TRAVEL
          As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

          SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
          Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
          Accommodation
          Hotel (4nt)
          The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

          Throughout the trip we request that our lodgings prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

          If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
          Meals introduction
          While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
          Meals
          No meals included
          Money matters
          There are many opportunities to purchase souvenirs and handicrafts while on this trip. While we do not make arrangements for specific shopping excursions due to our passengers feedback, there may be opportunities where your local guides can offer services if you are particularly interested. Please note it is customary for local guides (not Intrepid group leaders) to accept commission from the factory or shop in exchange for their service. You are under no obligation to purchase anything from local guides and we do encourage you to enjoy shopping in the markets to compare prices and quality.

          The official currency of Mexico is the Mexican Peso (MXN).

          With ATMs being widely available in major towns and cities, credit and debit cards are the best way to access money in Latin America (note though that charges are made for each transaction). Please check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions.

          Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to USD100 per day.

          It's also advisable to carry some cash in small denominations bills, for those times when ATMs may not be available. US dollars is the most readily changeable currency.

          VERY IMPORTANT:
          USD100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other USD bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks.

          SPENDING MONEY
          When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

          If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.

          The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:

          Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.

          Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest USD2-USD4 per passenger per day.

          Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We suggest USD1-USD2 per day for drivers.

          Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline USD2-USD4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

          In total, we recommend you budget approx USD5-USD10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.

          Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members.

          Please allow USD25 for international departure tax from Mexico. This is sometimes included in your international airfare.

          Bitte planen Sie weitere USD180.00 für Mahlzeiten ein.

          EMERGENCY FUNDS
          Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
          Group leader
          All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

          Your leader 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 places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
          Safety
          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 and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

          We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

          Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

          For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety
          Joining point
          Hotel Metropol
          Luis Moya No. 39,
          Centro Histórico
          Mexico City
          MEXICO
          Finish point
          Hotel Metropol
          Luis Moya No. 39,
          Centro Histórico
          Mexico City
          MEXICO
          Emergency contact
          In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's local ground representative for Central America and Mexico, Viaventure, can be reached on +502 5778 4100 or +502 5778 4052

          For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist. For further contact details please use the following page:

          For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

          While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

          We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

          You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
          Visas
          Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

          MEXICO:
          Australia: Not required
          Belgium: Not required
          Canada: Not required
          Germany: Not required
          Ireland: Not required
          Netherlands: Not required
          New Zealand: Not required
          South Africa: Yes - in advance
          Switzerland: Not required
          United Kingdom: Not required
          USA: Not required
          What to take
          What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).

          Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

          Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/trips/packinglist.pdf
          Climate and seasonal information
          HURRICANE SEASON:
          Please note hurricane season is June to November when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors situations as they arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.
          Health
          All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

          You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

          Zika Virus:

          “According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there has been an outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in parts of Central and South America. This virus is mostly concerning to pregnant women as recently in Brazil local authorities have linked the virus to an increase in babies born with microcephaly (smaller than normal skull).
          In addition to the risk mentioned above WHO have reported that Zika symptoms may include mild fever, skin rash and conjunctivitis. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.
          In line with the above, Intrepid recommends all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip to Central and South America.
          At this stage, WHO is not recommending any travel or trade restrictions related to the Zika virus.
          More information on the Zika virus can be found at the following links:
          World Health Organisation: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/”
          Travel insurance
          Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

          When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

          If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
          A couple of rules
          Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our 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 Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

          Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
          Responsible Travel
          We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.

          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

          The Intrepid Foundation
          Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

          The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

          http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

          Feedback
          After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback