day of the dead los cabos

Celebrate the Day of the Dead in Los Cabos. (Photo: Getty Images)

Weekend Getaways

Spend a Long Weekend Celebrating Day of the Dead in Los Cabos

Marigolds, ornate altars, family gatherings at the cemetery that extend well into the night, and music — lots of music. These are some of the traditions you can expect during Day of the Dead in most Mexican cities — and Los Cabos is no exception.

This quintessentially Mexican celebration to honor the dead and remember lost loved ones began with the Aztecs, but its date was changed by the Spaniards in order to coincide with All Saints Day.

In recent years, Day of the Dead has become more widely known worldwide, and in Mexico, there’s a newfound pride in the tradition that sees even less-conventional urbanite Mexicans begin to honor this unique part of their heritage.

Spend a memorable long weekend celebrating Day of the Dead in Los Cabos by following our footsteps and checking out all the places in this guide.

October 31

Drop off your bags at the hotel, and if you’re not staying there already, head straight to San José del Cabo. The charming town, founded as a Jesuit mission in the colonial period, retains its mellow vibe and is packed with cultural activities at this time of the year.

The streets come alive with people of all ages gathering to celebrate Day of the Dead and Halloween — feel free to wear a costume and hand out candy to trick-or-treating kids.

But before hitting the streets, grab a bite at La Lupita. Find a seat in the courtyard and prepare to feast on its extensive taco menu. Go for pastor or sucking pig, but if seafood tacos are more your thing, the Baja scallops and talla fish won’t disappoint. This colorful cantina is also famous for its mezcal, so make sure you order some.

Make your way to the Gallery District, an area located behind the church. The main street is open only to pedestrians for the night and the backstreets fill with live music and performers in extravagant costumes. Galleries are open till late and host special events and exhibition openings where visitors can sip wine and meet the artists.

Special exhibitions and shows featuring traditional Day of the Dead folk art will abound — stumbling upon them will be part of the fun.

Make sure you poke your head into Patricia Mendoza Art Gallery; the curator is one of the main influencers in the Los Cabos art scene and showcases impressive Mexican artists.

November 1

After having breakfast at the hotel, decide between spending the day sailing aboard a yacht or visiting Cabo Pulmo National Park, a marine reserve known for its live coral reef. Activities at the park include scuba diving and swimming with sharks, dolphins and giant turtles.

If you opt for sailing, you can go fishing or snorkeling, visit the iconic rock formation known as the Arch of Cabo San Lucas, spot some sea lions and sunbathe at one of the area’s many beaches, like Lovers Beach and Medano Beach. Lunch is usually served on board.

For dinner, head to Los Tres Gallos, a traditional Mexican eatery named after three famous actors from Mexico’s Golden Age of Cinema. This local favorite serves classic Mexican dishes from around the country and often has live mariachi music.

After dark, get a taste of local traditions by visiting the Los Cabos or San José del Cabo cemeteries. Mexican families gather around their loved ones’ tombs to decorate them with flowers and candles. The night is one of communion between the living and the dead, and rather than a solemn affair, you’re likely to hear stories of the deceased loved ones and even loud music.

November 2

Perhaps after spending most of the previous day on the water, exploring the desert sounds more appealing. If this is you, rent a buggy for an adventure on the sand dunes. The contrast between the intense blue sky and miles of beige sand is an image you won’t forget.

For lunch, The Office is unmissable. Order a Baja Burrito while you gaze at the sea and take a minute to relax, but don’t fill up too much because dinner tonight will be one of the highlights of your trip.

day of the dead los cabos
Visit a cemetery or seek out the many altars. (Photo: Getty Images)

Back at your hotel, ask the staff for recommendations on where to see some of this year’s best Day of the Dead altars. You’ve probably seen some around town, but schools and public buildings often set up impressive ones.

Stemming from ancestral traditions, Mexicans believe that the spirits of their loved ones return for the night during Day of the Dead celebrations and are able to take in the essence of the treats set out for them on altars — be it favorite foods or a bottle of tequila. Cempasúchil flowers, Mexican marigolds, help guide their path, which is why you’ll see them everywhere.

By now you’ve probably worked up an appetite, so make your way to Flora Farms, the organic restaurant that began the farm-to-table movement in the area. All the ingredients come from the farm, including the cheese, and a Day of the Dead altars contest is held there every year. Make sure you book a table well in advance.

November 3

If you happened to book your flight for the evening and have time for a day trip, exploring the nearby town of Todos Santos might just be what you need to top off your long weekend.

This artsy town is not only for those after an extra dose of art and culture, but also for surfers who flock to its beaches, like San Pedrito and Los Cerritos.

End your trip by ordering a chile relleno — chili pepper stuffed with minced meat — at Los Adobes de Todos Santos or Miguel’s before making your way to the airport.

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