explore the meaning of Life and Death in pre-Columbian and current indigenous societies


Chiapas, Octobre 24 – November 3, 2024


Chiapas, Octobre 24 – November 3, 2024





Participate as a guest with a local indigenous family on the Day of the Dead

The Day of the Dead is undoubtedly one of the most important days of the year for Mexican families. On this day, family and friends gather to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and to support the spiritual journey of their loved ones.

In Mexican culture, death is seen as a natural part of the human cycle. Mexicans do not see it as a day of mourning. They see it as a day of celebration as their loved ones wake up and celebrate with them.

On our journey we will visit the sacred burial grounds around San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, in the legendary state of Chiapas. We also take part in regional Tzotzil traditions when we visit a local indigenous family.

 Before this life experience, we visit the most important archeological sites, and we will learn about how the special relationship with death originated in the Precolombian societies of Mexico.

Itinerary and travel program

Thursday, 24 October: Arrival at the Airport of Villahermosa

Les damos la bienvenida en el hotel en San Cristóbal de Las Casas, nos conocemos y disfrutamos de una rica cena chiapaneca.

Friday, 25 October: Olmec origins and Chol embroidery

In the morning we will visit the Museum and Park of La Venta, created in 1958 when oil exploration threatened this important ancient Olmec settlement. Archaeologists moved the most important artifacts from the site, including three colossal stone heads, to this park.

The Olmec culture flourished along the Gulf Coast of Mexico from about 1200 B.C. to 400 B.C. It had a great influence on later cultures, such as the Maya.

In the afternoon, we will enjoy exotic local food in Palenque. We will also visit an excellent Chol embroidery workshop.

Saturday, 26 October: Glory of Palenque and refreshing waterfalls

We will visit one of the most elegant Mayan cities. Palenque is a medium-sized site, but it contains some of the finest architecture, sculpture, roof comb and bas-relief carvings that the Maya produced.

Much of Palenque’s history has been reconstructed by reading the hieroglyphic inscriptions on its many monuments.

On the way into the jungle we will have a nice dinner with a local Chol family and a refreshing swim in the turquoise waterfalls of Roberto Barrios.

Sunday, 27 October: Frescoes and Workshops with a Lacandon family

In the morning we visit the small archeological site of Bonampak. The murals painted in three rooms feature near-perfectly preserved frescoes. A great source of evidence of ancient Mayan life. Afterwards we will prepare Mukbi’kash – a typical Lacandon lunch – with our host family.

In the afternoon we take a short walk in the jungle with a local guide. She knows a lot about the medicinal use of plants. Back home we have a workshop on Lacandoon handicrafts.

Monday, 28 October: Mysteries of Yaxchilán

The archeological site of Yaxchilan is only reachable by a pleasant boat ride on the Usumacinta River on the border with Guatemala. 

It is the place where nature and man meet in harmony. The temples, plazas, and story-telling carvings and sculptures are swallowed by its jungle surroundings. 

When visiting Yaxchilan, you really feel like an 18th-century archeologist discovering the mysteries of this ancient Mayan site.

Back in the village on the river shore, we take a meal and leave for another Lacandoon community.

Tuesday, 29 October: Metzabok Cave paintings

In the morning we will head to the small Lacandon community of Metzabok (which means “God of Thunder”). Here an expert local guide will take us on a cayuco (small indigenous canoe) ride on the crystal clear lagoon. On the shores of the lake we admire fascinating Mayan cave paintings.

We will also land on a trail that will take us to an amazing viewpoint where we can enjoy the splendor of the lagoon and the beautiful landscape that surrounds it.

In the afternoon we arrive at our hotel in the small colonial town of Ocosingo.

Wednesday, 30 October: Toniná and the Death rituals

The pyramids of the ancient Mayan city of Tonina rise high above the valley of Ocosingo, but deep beneath the site’s most important pyramid is a crypt that sheds new light on the rites and rituals of death that allowed this civilization to live on after death.

In the afternoon we arrive in the colonial city of San Cristobal de Las Casas.

Thursday, 31 October: San Cristóbal and preparing Altar in Zinacantan

The colonial streets and alleys of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, lined with red roof tiles and whitewashed walls, invite you to wander around. The city is characterized by authentic colonial architecture and an artistic and bohemian flair.

We will visit the local market to purchase typical items for your altar, such as flowers and candles. In the afternoon, we will make a brief visit to the cemetery and church of San Juan Chamula, and then go to the home of a Tzotzil indigenous family in Zinacantan. Together we will prepare the altar and food for the Day of the Dead.

At night we will go to the village cemetery, where we will admire the beautiful floral arrangements and the people dressed in colorful flower embroidered clothes.

Friday, 1 November: Sk’inal ch’ulelaletik and Amatenango del Valle

We leave early for the sacred burial hill of El Romerillo, where the Tzotsil Chamula people gather to honor their dead. Families gather around the graves, which are decorated with pine branches, flowers, fruit, and candles. They offer incense, soft drinks and locally brewed corn liquor to their loved ones and play traditional music. At the same time, it feels like a festival, with many food stalls and rides for the children.

Afterwards we go to Amatenango del Valle, a small Tseltal village. At 1:30 pm we stop for lunch in Teopisca. In Amatenango the atmosphere is much more solemn on the Day of the Dead. After visiting the burial mound, we will visit a family for a little pottery demonstration.

Saturday, 2 November: Bread of the Day of the Dead

In the morning we will visit the cemetery of San Cristóbal. Afterwards we’ll have a workshop to learn how to prepare the bread for the Day of the Dead. 

The afternoon is free for shopping and relaxing.

Sunday, 3 November: Sumidero Canyon

Today it’s time to go home.

But before we say goodbye at the airport of Tuxtla Gutierrez, we have a spectacular boat tour through the Sumidero Canyon. The cliffs of the great canyon along the Grijalva River rise about 900 meters above sea level.



Murielle is a travel designer and certified tour guide. Her travels aim to bring visitors closer to the complex, diverse and beautiful mosaic that is Mexico, so that they return home with new knowledge about other ways of life and with the hope of contributing to better intercultural understanding.

Since 2005, she has lived in Chiapas, where she continues to explore the mysterious Mayan world with great passion.