Eating sugar skulls, drinking mezcal, and dancing on the graveyards. You just arrived as a travel blogger for Dia de Muertos in Oaxaca. The city is decorated with skeletons and orange flowers. The aroma of ‘Pan de Muertos’ (sweet bread) hangs around bakeries. Homemade giant puppets dominate the streets. The crowd follows them during the ‘comparsas’ (street parades). You can hear fireworks and trumpets. On every corner, the doors of the mezcalarias are wide open. Inside you spot locals and foreigners sharing a bottle of mezcal. It’s time to step inside for story hunting!
Story hunting for your travel blog
It’s not always easy to go on a story-hunting mission for your travel blog. That’s why I recommend doing pre-trip research by reading blogs and watching vlogs to be up to date with all the information. At the location, you will have the time to interview locals, visit libraries and explore the hidden corners of Oaxaca to find your original story to tell. I will share with you the most authentic activities during Dia de Muertos.
In the past, the Aztecs used real skulls from their ancestors to display. But the Spanish conquerors banned this tradition. You can still find a small village in Mexico. It’s called Pomuch. The people there still wash the bones of their dead relatives. Nowadays the locals in Oaxaca use skulls made of sugar to decorate the graves of their loved ones. At the colorful markets, you will find many old ladies selling the ‘Calavera de Azucar’ (sugar skull). Nowadays you can also find skulls made from chocolate and nuts that are a bit more eatable.
Pan de Muerto breakfast
If you are in Oaxaca you can’t miss the traditional breakfast during the Dia de Muertos. It consists of Pan de Muerto (sugar bread) and a cup of hot chocolate. You can find bread almost everywhere on the market, and on the street corners. If you want to try the most delicious variation of this bread. Then you should try to find a bakery with Pan de Muerto that is filled with chocolate. In the sugar bread, you will find a small puppet as a symbol for a passed-away person.
During the Dia de Muertos the locals visit the graves of their dead relatives. Most of the Oaxacanos celebrate the first and second day of November. They go to cemeteries to spend time with their passed-away friends and family members. Usually, it happens loud with music, dancing, and mezcal. But you will also find locals alone that want to spend time with their dead loved ones. That’s why it’s important to be respectful as a tourist. Remember to paint your face for the street parades after the cemetery visit.
Comparsas on the streets
The whole city of Oaxaca is colorful, decorated with skeletons, and full of people dancing on the streets. On the main squares, you will find many ‘bandas’ (local bands) that perform with their instruments. You can join one of the comparsas (street parades) that go through the city with people dressed as the death, giant puppets, and a lot of mezcal. It’s one big celebration that goes on for a couple of days.
Schminking your face
Black clothes, flowers in the hair, and a face full of schmink. That’s how you enter the street parades to blend in with the locals. Also, don’t forget a bottle of mezcal and your camera to shoot the best portraits for your travel blog. You will find the schmink artists in the big square of the city center. They will make you the king or queen of death. Remember to find a reliable artist to not have a skin rash the next day.
Dia de Muertos means a lot of Mexican and foreign people in Oaxaca! Cultures from around the globe visit the colorful city. That’s why you need to book early. Try to get accommodation 2-3 months before your arrival in November. When I was in Oaxaca all hostel dorms were booked. By reading this blog post you are able to prepare in advance. First, think about which basecamp is the most practical for your travel blogging.
The Selina hostel is packed with backpackers, content creators, and digital nomads. The concept of the accommodation is to offer a co-work & co-living environment in combination with a creative atmosphere. You will find reliable Wifi, a library for writing, cinematic rooms for videography, and an artistic environment to shoot your travel photography.
Location: 5 de Mayo 217, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oax.
WhatsApp: + 52 951 357 3876
When you book through Airbnb you can usually find affordable private accommodation that gives you the opportunity to explore local neighborhoods. It’s also a great way to connect with some locals and have the space for yourself to prepare your film gear and write travel blog posts. You can also use platforms like Booking or Hostelworld to find hotels and hostels when there is nothing available. I got from my host Graciela a typical Oaxacan Pan de Muerto breakfast!
Location: C. De Manuel Doblado 1010 Oaxaca
WhatsApp: +52 951 116 4829
You can connect with locals on the platform Couchsurfing. It’s a great website to meet people that live in Oaxaca and want to be your guide in the city. In return, you can offer some English language lessons or bring something from your own culture. It’s important to talk with the person up front and check well the reviews to be safe.
Know before you go
If you go as a travel blogger to Oaxaca for Dia de Muertos it’s important to do pre-trip research, create a storyboard, and bring with you the right travel gear. Would you like to learn how to monetize your travel blog to make a full-time income as a travel blogger? Check out the Travel Blogging Academy to become a story hunter!
What would you like to blog about during Dia de Muertos?