Día de Muertos is one of Mexico’s most revered and meaningful traditions. Deeply rooted in the traditions of pre-Hispanic Indigenous cultures, particularly the Aztecs and the Maya, this time-honored celebration pays tribute to loved ones who have died. Mexicans believe that during this time, the veil between the world of the living and the dead lifts, and the dead return to partake in the celebrations.
You don’t necessarily need to be in Day of the Dead hubs like Oaxaca, Michoacán or Mexico City to join the fiesta. Many events happen throughout the country during the holiday, which takes place on Nov. 1 and 2.
This is what hotels and resorts around Mexico have planned for this year’s Day of the Dead.
Guests staying at the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal can wander through the resort to admire the Day of the Dead altars lovingly crafted by dedicated hotel employees. These colorful displays pay homage to the staff’s ancestors and showcase the heart and soul of Mexican and Pedregal tradition.
The Los Cabos hotel also will hold an art exhibit and auction featuring vibrant work from Ariosto Rivera, two Mexican artists who use natural straw to depict Mexico’s rich heritage and folklore.
A location on Reforma Avenue makes The St. Regis Mexico City an ideal spot for watching the Day of the Dead parades that traverse this iconic thoroughfare. Enjoy panoramic views of the Desfile de Catrinas (Oct. 22) and the Gran Desfile de Día de Muertos (Nov. 4) from the hotel’s floor-to-ceiling windows.
Diana Restaurant will hold a Day of the Dead brunch on Oct. 22, with specialty cocktails available from Oct. 20 to Nov. 5. On Nov. 2, King Cole Bar will host a Day of the Dead jazz night and Catrina enthusiasts can have their faces painted like the famously elegant skull lady. In addition, the Glass House Café will serve pan de muerto, a soft sugar-coated, orange-flavored pastry through Nov. 5.
The Four-Star hotel will host its first Mexology Fest on Nov. 2 and 3 to mark Día de los Muertos traditions and Mexican mixology innovations. The mixology workshops and tastings are included in the nightly rate at the all-inclusive Nuevo Vallarta hotel. Mexico City’s renowned Licorería Limantour will take over the hotel’s bar.
For the Day of the Dead, attend a poolside Catrina parade with musicians and dancers and opt to get Catrina skull makeup for a festive dinner of Mexican cuisine.
In honor of the beloved Mexican holiday, One&Only Palmilla will host a runway show of curated Catrina costumes from various Mexican regions using recycled materials. Guests are encouraged to participate in the festivities by dressing up and painting their faces following the style of the iconic skulls before voting for their favorite Catrina.
The runway will take place Nov. 2 at the resort’s chapel, adorned with a traditional ofrenda, the altar with offerings for the departed.
The Four-Star hotel in the Riviera Nayarit celebrates Día de Muertos with a Nov. 2 parade led by Catrinas and mariachi music. Guests are encouraged to join on the way to dinner. Those who appreciate traditional food will be happy to hear that the menu will feature centuries-old recipes.
Be sure to stop by the lobby — the resort boasts an elaborate altar there from late October to early November.
While the Day of the Dead is celebrated throughout the country, Cancun honors its dearly departed with a typical Mayan variation known as Hanal Pixan (“Food for the Souls”). Every Friday throughout October, the Four-Star Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun will host a series of events and serve a traditional Hanal Pixan dish called mukbil pollo. Made of nixtamalized corn, lard, chicken and a variety of condiments, this enormous tamale is wrapped in banana leaves and buried, then slowly cooked using the heat of incandescent stones. Yucatecan people wait for this season to cook mukbil pollo, as it’s believed that it creates a connection between the worlds of the living and the dead.
For the Day of the Dead, the Five-Star Los Cabos hotel will offer a blend of culture, cuisine and community. On Nov. 2, El Limonero, the hotel’s open-air event space, will come alive with a family-style feast featuring street food created in collaboration with chef Michael Anthony from Danny Meyer’s Gramercy Tavern, a New York City institution. There will be ofrendas, face painting and other activities designed for children.
Hilton Tulum Riviera Maya All-Inclusive Resort and Conrad Tulum have joined forces with artisan Margarita Cantu and a group of master craftsmen to transform their lobbies. The artisans will work from Oct. 23 to 25, culminating in a Nov. 2 celebration. The project uses natural and recycled materials and incorporates traditional techniques like weaving, knotting, embroidery and metalwork to represent the Day of the Dead altars. See the decorations in the hotel lobbies and Conrad Tulum’s Chaak Bar. This project fuses tradition and innovation while supporting fair labor practices in Los Altos de Chiapas.
Kicking off festivities Nov. 2, Live Aqua Urban Resort San Miguel de Allende will offer a nine-course dinner paired with José Cuervo Reserva de la Familia tequila. Each course will pay homage to the nine levels of Mictlán, where souls find eternal rest, according to ancestral belief. Guests will enjoy a fusion of flavors and traditions in a candlelit evening to honor the dead.
The Four-Star hotel always goes all out on its Day of the Dead décor, and you can expect the same this year with music, makeup artists and a show.
One&Only Mandarina, Riviera Nayarit
One&Only Mandarina will celebrate Nov. 1 at El Huerto with an evening of traditions. Hot cacao and traditional pan de muerto will be served at the start, followed by a Mexican dinner with music and entertainment. On Nov. 2, children can experience the Day of the Dead by creating traditional crafts like mini altars, playing games and tasting pan de muerto.
The Five-Star hotel is a hub for Día de Muertos celebrations in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of San Miguel de Allende. The town is filled with marigolds and vibrant colors to honor loved ones who’ve died. Guests at Rosewood can enjoy bookable experiences, like a private dinner of traditional Mexican food at Jardin Rosewood and a Catrina costume contest. They can also get professional Catrina makeup and join the city’s parade.
Afterward, Rosewood’s Luna Rooftop serves cocktails, a Día de Muertos menu and panoramic city views. It’s the place to be for the festivities in San Miguel.
Zadún, a Ritz Carlton Reserve, Los Cabos
For Día de Muertos, the Five-Star hotel will provide a dining experience with renowned chef Roberto Solís. The owner of Nectar restaurant in Mérida (he rose up through prestigious kitchens like The Fat Duck, Per Se and Les Creations) will blend traditional flavors with innovative culinary techniques for his unique take on Yucatecan cuisine. This celebration with Solís will immerse you in the festivities, surrounded by iconic facets, like altars, flowers, traditional food, music and delicious pan de muerto.
The Five-Star hotel honors Día de Muertos with events from late October to early November. First, Zapote Bar, its popular cocktail spot, will partner with Mexico City’s Brujas bar — recognized for its herb-infused takes on classic drinks and nods to female Latin American writers and activists — for a lively cocktail collaboration. The festivities continue with a special Chef’s Garden Dinner at La Ceiba, where guests and staff dine together amid marigold decorations and enjoy an “agave tasting for the spirits.”
Finally, the celebration takes the party from the garden to the beach with a lively parade featuring dancing Catrinas with beautifully painted faces and flower crowns, mojigangas (giant papier-mâché puppets) and live music.
Grupo Xcaret, Riviera Maya
Three all-inclusive luxury resorts along the Mexican Caribbean Sea by Grupo Xcaret are the perfect places to immerse in Mexico’s Day of the Dead during the annual Festival of Life and Death Traditions from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3. This festival at Xcaret Park and Hotel Xcaret Mexico, Hotel Xcaret Arte and La Casa de la Playa features theater performances, Mexican food, music, workshops, dance shows, exhibitions and a concert by Mexican folk singer Natalia Lafourcade. Guests at these eco-friendly resorts can celebrate Mexican culture, savor cuisine by renowned chefs and enjoy unlimited access to iconic Cancun and Riviera Maya parks.
Las Mañanitas Hotel Garden Restaurant & Spa, Cuernavaca
Starting in October, Las Mañanitas decorates its facade and lush gardens with cempasúchil flowers (local marigolds), which serve as one of the most representative elements of the Day of the Dead thanks to their color and scent. These florals, along with candles, food, beverages, sugar skulls and skeleton figurines known as calacas, adorn the traditional holiday altars.
From Oct. 26 to Nov. 13, the “Tzompantli” exhibit will be on display, where guests can appreciate skull masks made by artists from the state of Morelos.
At the center of the Day of the Dead tradition is the ofrenda, an altar built to welcome spirits back into the realm of the living to enjoy their favorite food and drinks. Filled with different colors, flowers and flavors, the altar showcases the beauty of Mexican culture. Banyan Tree Mayakoba invites guests to help create an altar to honor their loved ones in the main lobby.
On Nov. 2, the Cancun hotel will change the usual lobby 5’oclock cocktail hour location to JA’O, allowing guests to experience a Día de Muertos altar. You are encouraged to participate in this Mexican tradition by placing a photo of a family member or friend who has died on the altar.
Come on Nov. 1 or 2 for a special holiday menu at JA’O that will include crab stew, peanut mole wagyu beef tenderloin and blue corn pudding with agave heart and mezcal ice cream and caramelized pumpkin seeds.