As the vibrant autumn leaves begin to fall, you are invited to fully embrace the “spooky season” and join the people of Los Cabos in celebrating the rich traditions of Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos. While “The Day of the Dead” may seem like a sombre name for a celebration, Dia de los Muertos is far from a sombre occasion. Held on November 1st and 2nd, this vibrant festival is traditionally a time when the Mexican people come together to pay homage to their ancestors, transforming mourning into a colourful and joyful celebration of life. The distinctive art and make-up associated with the festival are known throughout the world, far beyond the picturesque borders of the Baja Peninsula.
As the boundaries between the realm of the living and the dead are momentarily blurred, Los Cabos comes alive in a flurry of festive activity. In fact, the Dia de Los Muertos window may be one of the best times to plan a trip to the destination. Here, we explore some of the history and fanfare that accompanies Dia de Los Muertos – as well as some of the specific ways the tourism industry celebrates.
Embracing tradition: A Brief History of Dia de los Muertos in Los Cabos
Los Cabos’ unique contribution to the history of Dia de los Muertos spans over 500 years! The burial ritual of the Las Palmas culture flourished on the Baja California peninsula from 1200 to 1700 A.D. This fascinating tradition involved the intricate use of woven palm leaves to wrap the skeletal remains of the deceased. These remains, often stained with red ochre and showing signs of fire, were carefully bundled. These bundles were then laid to rest in coastal caves, considered mystical portals to the underworld. Although this ancient practice has faded into the annals of history, it firmly established the importance of honouring the dead in the culture of the peninsula.
How Los Cabos celebrates Dia de los Muertos
A Celebration for Every Ceremony! Los Cabos has a number of annual attractions that accompany Dia de los Muertos. Below we explore three of the most popular.
Sail into tradition: Altares en el Mar Festival
In Cabo San Lucas, the Altares en el Mar Festival brings Dia de los Muertos to the sea. The marina becomes a canvas for illuminated boat parades that reflect the region’s rich maritime culture. Join the festivities with musical shows, folk storytelling and gastronomic experiences along the marina’s edge, creating a magical celebration that seamlessly blends tradition with the allure of the sea.
Artistry at every turn: San Jose del Cabo Art Walk
Explore the San Jose Art Walk, a weekly Thursday night extravaganza that coincides with Dia de los Muertos. As the main streets close, the city welcomes local artisans to showcase their paintings, jewellery, crafts and culinary delights. Browse renowned art galleries that stay open late, offering a unique opportunity to take home one-of-a-kind treasures such as sugar skulls, hand-painted mezcal jicaras and folk art figurines to honour your own ancestors.
Special offers for a special day
Beyond the biggest celebrations, many of Los Cabos’ luxury properties, farm-to-table restaurants and tourism industry partners offer their own seasonal activities. Here are three of the most compelling for Dia de los Muertos, 2023.
Day of the Dead at Corazón
Los Cabos’ newest and most luxurious retreat, Corazón Cabo Resort & Spa, complements its offerings of infinity pools and panoramic ocean views with a four-course dinner at its Aleta Restaurant in honour of Dia de los Muertos. Indulge in culinary delights such as the amuse-bouche of a tantalising mix of bean and lobster tamalito with a luscious chile de arbol sauce, a rich black bean soup, picaña beef marinated in black garlic and chile powder served with sweet potato and beet puree, a delicious goat filet paired with ricotta cheese and grilled vegetables, and finish the evening with a tempting Amarena agave cherry crème brûlée for dessert.
Day of the Dead aboard Cabo Mar
If you’d rather celebrate at sea this year, why not on a luxury catamaran? Cabo Mar’s traditional Day of the Dead cruise offers just that: the opportunity to sample a delicious taco menu and a premium open bar on a double-deck cruiser, creating the perfect party atmosphere. The three-hour cruise departs on Thursday 2 November and culminates in the presentation of an altar laden with sweets.
Day of the Dead, courtesy of Chef Roberto Solís
Master chef Roberto Solís – owner of Nectar Restaurant – is leading a kitchen takeover at Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton restaurant in San José, to present his own interpretation of Yucatecan cuisine in honour of Dia de los Muertos, 2023. Flowers, altars, music and other ceremonial trappings will surround you as you sample the chef’s innovative take on Pan de Muerto in what promises to be the destination’s tastiest celebration.