The final stop of the trip was to enjoy the festivities of Día de los Muertos, one of the main motivations for visiting Mexico in October. According to what I had read, the small community of San Andres Mixqic is one of the best places to visit for the holiday, as the town really gets into the festivities, and as my Uber ride got closer to the location, I could see that A LOT of people had the same idea as there were a ton of people. While I had kind of envisioned something a bit smaller and quieter, I would see that this was actually a pretty big event, and there was quite a bit to see.
On the way over, we passed through a couple of smaller neighborhoods where there were children wearing costumes and families and friends siting near fires enjoying the company of loved ones. There was a bit of an undeveloped area right before Mixqic, and then as you get closer to town, one of the main roads leading into town gives a feeling of being the grand entrance for the festivities as there are two large skeletons that greet you to the event.
Upon going in, the streets are filled with all kinds of merchants and vendors with a wide variety of food options to enjoy and souvenirs you can purchase. Much like walking through the markets experienced earlier in this trip, it is really hard to pass through the delicious smells without noticing them.
In Mixqic’s central square, many people gather for the live music on the main stage, as well as an opportunity for photos with the Catarinas (some of whom do so in exchange for a small contribution of a few pesos).
One of the main highlights of this area is a cathedral that dates back to the year 1620. Like many of the other cathedrals in Mexico, it was a beautiful building to see.
The main draw to the cathedral on this night was for the decorations on the graves as a tradition for Día de los Muertos. While it would seem unusual in most circumstances to see so many people in a cemetery, here it is a part of the festivities as people can see some of the floral displays people have created to honor their loved ones. Some of them you could tell from the amount of work that was put into it that they truly cared for the deceased who lay there to rest.
To me, the best highlight of visiting Mixqic was the decorations that could be seen in the alleyways and side streets of town. Many of these decorations, like those of the graves, involved marigold flowers, which is meant to represent the fragility of life. Some of the decorations included dressed skeletons that you could pose with for pictures, and there were a variety of traditional displays including ofrendas.
Something that I discovered that I was surprised to see, there was a family who had their door open as an invitation for visitors to come and see their family’s ofrenda and observe their celebration and remembrance of loved ones. While many families may wish to have such events kept private, it was very kind of this family to welcome others into their home to see their traditions.
At the end of the night, it was time to head back to the hotel, but it was at this point that I discovered just how difficult it was going to be to get back. Mixqic essentially has two ways to get into the city, and really no way to go around without having to travel a pretty far distance, and there was a TON of traffic into and out of town because of the amount of people. As a result, when I tried to get an Uber back, they would either cancel pretty shortly after accepting, or they would just drive in the opposite direction, waiting for me to cancel (I’m assuming they were hoping to collect a cancellation fee). So I ended up with about 6 cancellations before I finally had one who actually gave a decent effort, but he was on the other side of the city, and it took him about 30 minutes just to get to the area outside of town on the opposite side.
It was as this point I decided to try catching a bus to get back to the end of the subway line, which the first bus headed there was PACKED with no more room. So then I finally got on the next one (in which I, along with many others) would have to stand, and by the time we arrived to the Metro station, the system was closed for the night. That was when I pulled Uber back out, and the price to get to the hotel from the Metro station I was at would be Double what it was from Mixqic when I was first trying because it was now past midnight. So I found a cab and the driver offered to take me there for about 100 pesos less than what Uber quoted, so I accepted.
On the way there, he kept making some odd turns, and kept pulling over to the side to look at his navigation app because he was trying to avoid toll roads as he claimed he didn’t have the tag to take it. So what would have been a 40-45 minute drive ended up taking about an hour and 45 minutes. In all, the return to the hotel took about 4 hours from the time I was first attempting to get back to the time I walked into my hotel room. So the moral of this story is to have a better plan for transportation than I had, such as having a ride pre-arranged, or just drive yourself if you feel comfortable driving in Mexico.
In spite of this fairly large inconvenience of getting back, I really enjoyed getting to see the festivities of Día de los Muertos in Mixqic, as there is a sort of magic to the atmosphere of the town as it gets into the festivities of the holiday, and some of those displays are really inspiring to see. If ever there was an experience, I recommend people have to get a feel of authenticity for Día de los Muertos, it would be to come to Mixqic. Even though it can be a bit chaotic to get there and back, I would have been bummed if I knew what I was going to miss if I skipped this.
And that completes the look back at the 2018 Mexico Trip. Thank you for checking it out! I hope you’ll come back for more on Coasting with Culture.
-Take Care and Safe Travels
See more of the 2018 Mexico Trip:
1: The Journey South / 2: A Day in Monterrey / 3: More Mexican Coasters / 4: Exploring Guadalajara /
5: Looking for Guadalajara Coasters / 6: Selva Magica / 7: A Night of Lucha Libre / 8: Cancun / 9: Back to Mexico City /
10: Día de los Muertos Parade / 11: La Feria Chapultepec Magico / 12: Six Flags Mexico / 13: ¡Kataplum! /
14: Día de los Muertos in Mixqic