Guided Experience 4 km/ Fitness level: Easy / Group Size: Up to 12 people


“As long as we live in the hearts of those we leave on earth, we are immortal.”

Our Day of the Dead experiences connect you with local families from indigenous communities where you can live the ancestral traditions of Oaxaca. Far away from the glamor of Day of the Dead festivities in the downtown area of the city, each community celebrates their deceased ancestors through distinct traditions. However, the overall vision and spirit of this unique celebration remains the same. We wait for the return of the souls of our loved ones who have passed on, as they embark on their journey to the land of living to spend time with their families and loved ones. Our ancestors come back to indulge in the essence of all of their favorite food and drink, which has been placed on families’ altars in their honor.

During Day of the Dead the Zapotec people venerate the god Pitao Bezelao as a significant deity in their religious pantheon, often associated with the underworld.  He was venerated on occasions of illnesses and death, offerings of chickens and copal were made to him and he was symbolized by the skull, the bat, and the owl.  In addition these sacred days are times where the Aztec people worship the god, Mictlantehcutli, a prominent deity revered as the ruler of Mictlan, the underworld in Aztec cosmology. He’s often depicted as a skeletal figure adorned with bones and wearing a skull mask, Mictlantecuhtli symbolizes death, darkness, and the passage to the afterlife. As the guardian of the dead, rituals and offerings were made to appease Mictlantecuhtli and ensure safe passage for departed souls through the treacherous underworld.  Your guide will incite meaningful relfections on these deities coming to a deeper understanding of the Mesoamerican cosmology. 

In the community of Santa María Atzompa, situated at the base of the Oaxaca Central Valley’s magnificent mountains lies important vestiges of the Zapotec culture. We will begin our trip through time exploring the cosmovision of our ancestors, examining their relationship with death, and deepening our understanding of the impacts of the Spanish conquest on this holiday. We specifically seek to show you how the conquest has molded the traditions and rituals of our culture, forming a type of syncretism which combines elements of Catholicism with ancient indigenous beliefs. We will live this syncretic present day with a family of local clay artisans who will kindly open the doors to their home during this sacred time to share their stories. Finally, we will visit the municipal cemetery to continue the celebration of our ancestors in between all of the flowers and candles.

For the local people, the doors to the underworld open at midnight on October 31st and they close on November 2nd at 11:59 PM. The spirits of the dead will be amongst us throughout our journey to Atzompa.

We will begin with a visit to our “Zapotec Grandparents” at the Atzompa archaeological site which was intrinsically linked to the prehispanic city of Monte Albán to learn more about the way the Zapotec culture conceptualized life and death. We will discuss their unique ancestral beliefs, along with their cultural customs, deities, and most essential rituals.

Our journey continues at the market where we will experience how local community members prepare to receive their ancestors’ souls. Here, we will buy everything we need to elaborate our own Day of the Dead altar. We will also make all the necessary purchases to bring a respectful offering to our host families in the community. Some of these elements include flowers, candles, papel picado, bread, chocolate, fruit, copal and seeds. In the houses we visit and in the cemetery there will be many opportunities to appreciate the influence of the conquest and observe how indigenous and catholic beliefs have created a truly syncretic Mexican celebration.

Then, we will go to our host families! Centuries ago, Atzompa was characterized as an extremely skilled community that worked with ceramics and pottery. Artisans will kindly receive us in their homes and share the customs of their families, participating in a profound intercultural exchange. We will also be able to enjoy a delicious dinner while remembering our ancestors who have passed on to the underworld. During Day of the Dead, death is not a representation of absence or lacking, but a symbol of life that materializes through the altars we dedicate to our loved ones.

As we come close to the end of our journey, we head to the municipal cemetery. We invite all of the travelers who come along on this experience to contemplate the majesty of this unique space. Here, families come to pay homage to their ancestors and spend time with the spirits who have arrived to the land of the living.

We feel extremely grateful for all travelers who decide to accompany us on this intimate experience. We would also like to thank all of our collaborators throughout indigenous communities in Oaxaca who kindly open their doors, sharing their unique cultural customs and family altars during such a sacred time. We hope this experience will help you reconceptualize the ways in which you approach death, celebrating the lives of your loved ones and forever cherishing the days that they come to visit us in the land of the living.


$2,700 MXN


Outdoor activities carry risks, and you may be exposed to dangerous situations as part of this experience. Make sure you can participate safely given your abilities and the conditions (such as location, weather, and equipment).

Atzompa Oaxaca Dia de Muertos itinerary


16:20 Meet at Coyote Aventuras

16:30 Transport to Santa María Atzompa

17:30 Arrival at the Atzompa Archaeological Site

18:11 Sunset at the Conjunto Monumental

19:00 Day of the Dead offering purchases from the local market

20:00 Reception at the home of the family of clay artisans: Creating our alter and Dinner

22:00 Offerings + Drinks + a Sacred ritual with another artisan family

23:00 Visit to the Atzompa Cemetery

00:30 Return to Oaxaca

Atzompa whats included


– Certified guide
– Transportation
– Drinks: water, coffee, tea, beer
– Lunch: Vegetable soup, mole, tlayudas, beef, chicken and refreshments (vegan and vegetarian options will be available)
– Entrance Fee to community & permissions
– Insurance

Atzompa Oaxaca Dia de Muertos notes


– Make this a private tour for your friends and family!
– Don’t see your desired date available? Please contact us! We will do our best to make special arrangements for you!
– Please, check out the local weather conditions and come prepared for the tour.

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