While all-inclusive resort vacations are a must in the Mexican Caribbean and Pacific coast, travelers should really immerse themselves into the cultural heart of Mexico. There are many tours and activities that allow for a thorough cultural exploration of this magical nation. Even more, there’s an array of Mexico traditions and festivals to live throughout the year and throughout each destination. So whether you’re a travel agent with culturally minded clients looking for the best seasonal experiences, or you’re that traveler who truly wants to truly see Mexico, come along and learn which traditions and festivals you can’t miss.
Which One of the Mexico Traditions and Festivals Stands Out?
First of all, you must know that among Mexico traditions and Festivals, Day of the Dead is king. Taking place during November 1st and 2nd, this celebration honors the loved ones who moved on to the afterlife. It’s a way to incorporate the memory of the departed into autumn festivities of All Saints’ and All Souls’ days. Nowadays, it incorporates elements of Halloween given the proximity of these dates. The place with the biggest fame for Day of the Dead traditions is Patzcuaro, Michoacan, in central Mexico. However, Mexico City also has its share of amazing festivals for the first two days in November. Yet there is one celebration in the Mexican Caribbean that brings it all together, and it’s our first recommendation.
1. Festival of Life and Death in Riviera Maya
Because you can’t miss Day of the Dead, start your journey with the unparalleled Festival of Life and Death at Xcaret Eco-Park. This one of the best things to do in Riviera Maya, a yearly event that happens from October 30th until November 2nd. You can experience this magical evening with a normal ticket entrance to Xcaret from your Cancun resort or you can visit Xcaret from Riviera Maya. Not only do the Day of the Dead make up and altars shine throughout the park. There is also a bountiful array of cultural, musical and artistic displays from all over Mexico and the world. Below is a gallery of the color and folklore of the 2018 edition of the Festival of Life and Death:
2. Sacred Journey (Travesia Maya)
In addition to Xcaret’s autumn festival, the spring brings the Sacred Maya Journey. This amazing cultural event involves a 30-mile canoe trip from Xcaret to the island of Cozumel. Almost 400 oarsmen and oarswomen will participate in this annual celebration to pay tribute to Mayan goddess Ixchel. Look for this even during the third or fourth weekend in May each year.
3. Equinoxes at Chichen Itza and Teotihuacan
Also, there’s no better way to say hello to spring than by welcoming it at its birth: the equinox. And what better way to see this astronomical landmark than at Chichen Itza and its iconic Temple of Kukulcan. When the sun begins to set on the horizon during the day of the equinox, the shadow on the side of the stairway will move downward. This makes it look like a snake is descending the stairs.
The ancient Mayans said this was a way of welcoming the god Kukulcan as spring arrived. Come watch this magnificent event with a trip to Chichen Itza from Cancun or from the Riviera Maya. This magical phenomenon is also visible on the day of the autumnal equinox.
Likewise, tourists flock to witness the mysticism of the equinoxes at Teotihuacan, home of the pyramids of the Sun and Moon just outside of Mexico City. With that said, guess what our next destination is?
4. Mexico City: Patriotism for Independence Day
Maybe the one place to be right in the middle all the festivities is the city right in the middle of Mexico. And that place is Mexico City, the nation’s capital. Seems like this metropolis has a festival or a party pretty much for any reason all year. Especially relevant, the month of September is the time to be in this metropolis for Mexico’s Independence Day.
Taking place from the evening of September 15th and into the 16th, the Zocalo main square comes alive with freedom celebrations. Green, white and red — the colors of Mexico’s flag — plus plenty of live musical acts adorn the entire downtown Mexico City. For more ideas about when to visit Mexico City, see the following blog post:
5. Guelaguetza in Oaxaca
One of the most culturally aware states in Mexico is Oaxaca, and its touristic crown jewel is Huatulco. A quieter resort town right between the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Huatulco is the perfect place to feel authentic Mexican culture. And with all-inclusive luxury resorts, a Huatulco vacation will do your soul so much good.
But to truly get into the festival spirit, you must go to the city of Oaxaca, the state’s capital. Huatulco is only 5 hours away from this incredible city, whose culture extends to colonial and pre-Hispanic times. If you’re visiting in July, make sure to check out the Guelaguetza festival. This celebration brings together eight regions and 16 ethnic groups from Oaxaca state to pay tribute to Centeotl, the goddess of corn. Guelaguetza is one of the top Mexico traditions and festivals, and one of the most important multiethnic celebrations in the Americas. Hence, you simply must come see it!
6. Night of the Radishes in Oaxaca
Another Oaxaca staple is the Night of the Radishes, which takes place December 23rd. Get into the Christmas spirit with incredible decorations made from radishes. Yes, you read that right, radishes. Believe it or not, skilled artisans create intricate sculptures and nativity scenes. And with the music and decorations, you’ll feel the holiday spirit in no time at this festival.
View this post on Instagram
Noche de rabanos at Oaxaca 2017. This is a great day to come and visit Oaxaca. December 23 is the date. There are many artists who carve radishs and make great little sculptures. #oaxaca#travelgram #photography #videos #nochederabanos #todossomosoaxaca #turisticplace #artcraft #artesanos #thisisoaxaca #amazing #beautiful
Furthermore, you can Contact Amstar to handle the details of helping you live the magic of Oaxaca’s world-famous celebrations. Or if you’d like to visit the city of Oaxaca during your Huatulco vacation, there’s a tour for that. The magical 2-Day Oaxaca tour is an ideal overnight experience full of magic, culture and flavor.
7. Puerto Vallarta Feast of Guadalupe
Similarly to Huatulco, Puerto Vallarta is a great place nestled between the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Likewise, it’s a resort town that blends all-inclusive luxury with authentic culture at almost every turn. December is the month to visit Vallarta, as its first half features festivities in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She is the patron saint of Mexico, and Puerto Vallarta venerates her from December 1st to 12th . The fair-like atmosphere envelops the Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe in downtown Vallarta in the evenings. While you’re there, you just might want to take a Puerto Vallarta whale watching tour as these magnanimous mammals are just now migrating for a warmer winter.
8. Feasts of October (Fiestas de Octubre) in Guadalajara
Certainly, Guadalajara is full of Mexico traditions and festivals, considering it’s the country’s second largest city. Only 3 hours away from Vallarta, Guadalajara is full of celebrations throughout the year. But the one festival to experience is the Feasts of October. Certainly, you could say the Feasts of October are like a combination of state fair and carnival.
Enjoy plenty of music from world-renowned artists ranging from Mexican regional acts to international rock stars. There are also smaller cultural performances and plenty of carnival rides. Speaking of carnivals, the next Mexico festival to experience is:
9. La Paz Carnival in Baja
Another destination that top travel agents recommend is Los Cabos. This resort area is ideal for all-inclusive travelers who seek great infrastructure and inspiring views. Above all, there are several hand-picked tours and activities in Los Cabos that will make any vacation a dream.
Some of them take you to nearby magical places, such as Todos Santos, home of the famous Hotel California, and La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur state. This city hosts one of the most famous Carnivals in Mexico. Come to Baja for amazing parades and colorful dances for the until Madri Gras/Fat Tuesday, usually in February or March.
The exact dates depend on when the Easter happens, as Carnival is before the start of Lent, the 40 days prior to Easter. Similarly, the cities of Mazatlan, Veracruz and Campeche are also renowned Mexican Carnaval destinations. Contact Amstar if you’re interested in living these vivid festivities through a special tour circuit with your group.
10. Guitar Festival in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo
Yet another Pacific destination to experience all-inclusive comfort between mountains and ocean is Ixtapa. But for guests who want an authentic Mexican feel, all they have to do is go to neighboring town of Zihuatanejo. This town has kept its charm as a fishing village and attracts cultural events.
A summary of Guitarfest artists in photos. Not meaning the best artists…as they were all the best…but a selection of…
One of the Mexico traditions and festivals to experience here is the Zihuatanejo International Guitar Festival. Taking place the first two weekends of March, you can experience the musical mastery of top guitar players from all over the world. Add the seaside breeze from the Pacific and the tropical backgrounds on this outdoor festival, and you’ve got a memorable experience.
11. International Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato
While you consider Mexico City, know that its neighboring cities host must-see traditions that attract travelers from all over the world. One is the International Cervantino Festival in the city of Guanajuato, Guanajuato, about 4 hours away from Mexico’s capital. This magnificent festival takes place the last two weeks of October.
¡En vivo! Bienvenidos a la fiesta de clausura con el Ferial de Aguascalientes. Gracias a nuestros grandes invitados de honor: India y Aguascalientes. ❤️
Posted by Festival Internacional Cervantino on Sunday, October 28, 2018
It attracts renowned musicians and cultural expositions from all over Mexico and beyond. And as an homage to Miguel de Cervantes, creator of “Don Quijote,” the festival strongly emphasizes literature, art and theater.
12. International Balloon Festival in Leon
Later on in November, the International Balloon Festival takes place in the city of Leon, Guanajuato. The city is more than 1 hour away from the city of Guanajuato and less than 5 hours from Mexico City. Let your imagination fly with so many amazing balloon designs floating above the mountains of the Mexican Lowlands.
Conjunto de arte, música y espectáculos en vivo 😍🙌🏼¿Lo mejor? ➡️ Todo por sólo ‼️$100‼️ Venta de boletos en línea: http://bit.ly/AccesoFIG18 y en tus tiendas Oxxo de León Venta de campamento FIG + acceso: http://bit.ly/CampingFIG18 #FIGesMéxico 🇲🇽🎈
Posted by Festival Internacional del Globo, León Mx on Monday, October 22, 2018
Moreover, this festival features musical acts ranging in genres, from tropical dance music to electronica. Contact Amstar to manage the logistics to help you experience these amazing festivals in the state of Guanajuato.
13. State Fairs throughout Mexico
Seems like every one of the 32 states in Mexico has a fair of their own. But the state fairs that stand out because of their magnitude and fame are those from Puebla, Aguascalientes, Zacatecas. Experience amazing cultural displays, amazing dance numbers and renowned musical guests at any of these fairs. Most noteworthy, the Puebla State Fair is particularly famous because the city is in itself a cultural jewel full of architecture and a nice bohemian vibe. All you have to do is take a day trip from Mexico City to Puebla to envelop yourself in history and colonial magic.
The Puebla State Fair takes place around April or May. Seems like it coincides with Cinco de Mayo, or May 5th, which commemorates the Battle of Puebla. Similarly, the dates are the same for the Aguascalientes fair, known as the National Festival of San Marcos (Feria Nacional de San Marcos). While the Zacatecas State Fair happens in September to offer a nice event for autumn.
Live the Best Mexico Traditions and Festivals with Amstar
In summary, remember that you can experience any and all of these festivities to truly live Mexico. Let Amstar know which one of these Mexico traditions and festivals you’d like to experience. Above all, we’ll be happy to tailor a tour circuit, meeting or event just for you and your group of VIP travelers. So here’s to wonderful travels that will make you say Viva Mexico!
While You’re Reading about Mexico Traditions and Festivals…
Finally, we’d like to tell you about our limited-time tours and activities. Above all the rest, the Rock of Ages Cancun show stands out as a great Broadway show that includes beer and soft drinks. Consequently, it’s a refreshingly entertaining, must-see spectacle that’s in the Mexican Caribbean only for a short time. So book Rock of Ages Cancun today and rock on!! It’s a great addition to your journey through Mexico traditions and festivals.