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OAXACA | DAY OF THE DEAD

Oaxaca – Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán

Oaxaca is the best place to celebrate Day of the Dead in Mexico

Mexico is rich in archeological, historical and natural sites but, if you have to pick one city to photograph during the festivities of the Day of the Dead, this can only be Oaxaca. Our 7-Day Oaxaca Day of the Dead Photo Tour is a great way to experience and capture this colorful and exciting Mexican tradition. Oaxaca’s streets were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987 and the city was home for many Mexican painters, like the late Francisco Toledo, Alejandro Santiago and Rufino Tamayo, and contemporary artists like Manuel Reyes. Oaxaca is vibrant and this trip will show you that it’s also full of surprises.

A center for arts and handicrafts, and with a pleasant mild climate, the city sits at the foothills of the Sierra Madre and offers unlimited sources of inspiration and continuous opportunities to photograph unique moments and images. It’s also famous for its delicious cuisine, enriched by the wide variety of organic local products and prepared often still according to the tradition of the indigenous cultures, making it one of Mexico’s first food destinations.
 
The traditional festivities that honor and celebrate the ancestors in Mexico are over 3,000 years old and, even if they are constantly evolving, are still full of rituals to express the special relationship that Mexicans have with the dead. Symbols like skeletons, skulls, altars and colorful cut-paper streamers adorn the city. Women wear creative make up and dress with elegant outfits evoking the famous La Catrina, the character created by artist José Guadalupe Posada 100 years ago to remind everybody that even the richest look like everybody else once they are dead. It’s a happy time meant to unite families and appreciate life, and with the stunning backdrop of Oaxaca all around, you will certainly feel like celebrating with us.
 
 
This adventure is designed not only to guide you to the most photogenic locations carefully planned for the best light but to aid you in mentally visualizing a scene before capturing the decisive moment. Our aim is to raise your awareness and spark your creativity so that you not only go home with images to be proud of but use your new found skills to improve and expand your photographic technique in general. Apart from the technical aspect of learning your camera settings and capabilities, you will learn how to turn an ordinary image into an extraordinary image by using your own creativity.
 
In addition, you will become knowledgeable on how to survey the landscape, utilize and approach your environment, photograph people indigenous to the region and the cultural considerations and challenges of photographing in a foreign country. Our time together will include individual and group discussions, inspiring ideas, and great fun. We cannot think of a better location to express your creativity than the effervescent city of Oaxaca.
A center for arts and handicrafts, and with a pleasant mild climate, the city sits at the foothills of the Sierra Madre and offers unlimited sources of inspiration and continuous opportunities to photograph unique moments and images. It’s also famous for its delicious cuisine, enriched by the wide variety of organic local products and prepared often still according to the tradition of the indigenous cultures, making it one of Mexico’s first food destinations.
 
The traditional festivities that honor and celebrate the ancestors in Mexico are over 3,000 years old and, even if they are constantly evolving, are still full of rituals to express the special relationship that Mexicans have with the dead. Symbols like skeletons, skulls, altars and colorful cut-paper streamers adorn the city. Women wear creative make up and dress with elegant outfits evoking the famous La Catrina, the character created by artist José Guadalupe Posada 100 years ago to remind everybody that even the richest look like everybody else once they are dead. It’s a happy time meant to unite families and appreciate life, and with the stunning backdrop of Oaxaca all around, you will certainly feel like celebrating with us.
 
This adventure is designed not only to guide you to the most photogenic locations carefully planned for the best light but to aid you in mentally visualizing a scene before capturing the decisive moment. Our aim is to raise your awareness and spark your creativity so that you not only go home with images to be proud of but use your new found skills to improve and expand your photographic technique in general. Apart from the technical aspect of learning your camera settings and capabilities, you will learn how to turn an ordinary image into an extraordinary image by using your own creativity.
 
In addition, you will become knowledgeable on how to survey the landscape, utilize and approach your environment, photograph people indigenous to the region and the cultural considerations and challenges of photographing in a foreign country. Our time together will include individual and group discussions, inspiring ideas, and great fun. We cannot think of a better location to express your creativity than the effervescent city of Oaxaca.

Group Size

4-8 Guests

Experience | Difficulty

  • Beginner, amateur, enthusiast and semi-pro photographers
  • DSLR, mirrorless, compact or iPhone cameras
  • Moderate schedule
  • Travel by walking or car
  • Minimal elevation changes and lots of walking
  • (non-photographers also welcome)

Weather | Sun

October: Temps 82/54 F   27/12 C  Sunrise: 6:25 am / Sunset: 5:55 pm

Includes

  • 7 Days
  • Travel, street, landscape, portrait, and people photography
  • Professional photographer | guide
  • Photo walks & discussions
  • Small group size (4-8 guests per leader)
  • Premium Hotels
  • Breakfasts
  • 2 Dinners
  • Entrance fees to museums, churches and parks included in the itinerary
  • Local transportation

Travel Information

Arrival & Departure Airport: Xoxocotlán, Mexico (OAX) – Transfer time to hotel 15min
Our adventure begins at 10 AM on the first day and ends at noon on the last day.
Travel Visa: A visa may be required depending on your nationality. Go to Visa Map to find out.

Accommodations

Hotel: Hotel Sin Nombre, Grand Fiesta Americana Oaxaca, Hotel Azul or similar

Helpful Links

> 7 Must-See Festivals in 2020 – By Erika Suban
> 10 Trees Worth Traveling For – by Erika Suban

Day of the Dead Prices & Dates


Photographer Leader

Photographer Leader

Gus Mejia

October 29 – November 4, 2025

*All prices are per person and based on double occupancy. Please select single occupancy for a private room. For your convenience, we offer optional early arrival and late departure accommodations so you can extend your stay before or after the trip. We typically stay in upscale boutique hotels in the 4 and 5-star category. Not all destinations offer these types of properties. We look for unique hotels that offer cultural, historic, and/or authentic features. Depending on the size of the group, smaller boutique hotels may have limited room inventory. In some countries or in remote locations, we may be limited to lodges or branded chain hotels. In Cuba, we stay in upscale family-owned Casas (bread & breakfasts). On all of our tours, breakfast is almost always included, but not guaranteed. Meal categories listed include (B) for breakfast, (L) for lunch, and (D) for dinner.

UPCOMING WORKSHOPS

OAXACA | DAY OF THE DEAD – 7 DAYS

Day 1 | Oaxaca - Santa Cruz Lachizolana

Welcome to Oaxaca! We’ll meet in the lobby of our hotel at 10 AM where we’ll discuss our itinerary and the wonderful photographic opportunities that will present themselves in the days ahead. Oaxaca is a Spanish marvel filled with centuries-old architecture and cultural preservation. It is home to many indigenous communities and filled with traditional art. 
 
On our first day, we will drive to the small village of Santa Cruz Lachizolana, about 45 min from the city of Oaxaca. Here we spend the day with our dear friends, the Morales Family. Our day will include photographing the Oaxaca’s famous marigold fields, the Morales family – all dressed as Catrinas, lunch with the family – hosted by Josephina (the family matriarch), and so much more. 

As the day comes to a close we will return to Oaxaca, freshen up and head out for the evening. We’ll be taking you out for our Welcome Dinner at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. (D)

Day 2 | Oaxaca

After breakfast we will be treated to a Catrina Model Shoot in the old city. A Catrina is the name given to those who dress-up and decorate themselves for Day of the Dead. The most popular Catrina look is of course, the skeleton. But they are many more creative versions, which you will get to experience in Oaxaca. 

After a break and lunch we’ll return for another Catrina Model Shoot, this time outside the city at a Mezcal farm and distillery. We’ll shoot through sunset before returning to the city. 

Tonight you are free to dine on your own or with the group. (B)

Day 3 | Oaxaca - Panteón Viejo Xoxocotlán

Today, we will leave early to get some action at the market. With the arrival of the festival, these markets are going to be even more interesting than usual.

We will spend the day capturing the festivities and celebrations around the plaza and other programs that are organized by the city of Oaxaca. This is the right time for some portraits and action shots, as you will see faces getting painted in vivid colors in preparation for the festival. 

In the late evening, we will head to the Panteón Viejo Xoxocotlán and Atzompa Cemeteries to see more celebrations and get to photograph the authentic rituals. We will not return back to our hotel until well after midnight. 

NOTE: We will not be using any flash or intimate settings at the cemetery. (B)

 

Day 4 | Oaxaca

Today we will enjoy a light morning schedule after the previous days very late festivities. After a late breakfast we’ll depart for a casual street art walk throughout Xochimilco and Jalatlaco. You’re going to love the colors and energy in these two very cool Oaxaca neighborhoods. 

In the afternoon and evening we’ll be focused on the parades and activities throughout the city. (B)

Day 5 | Oaxaca - Santa Cruz Lachizolana

Today, we will learn how to make Mezcal, a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the agave plant. Oaxaca is famous for its mezcal and they are very proud of it. It will also give an opportunity to photograph the process as well as the agave fields.

In the evening we will attend the local festivities in Santa Cruz Lachizolana. Here you will get to see villagers celebrating as one community, with music, dancing, and role-plays. This is a time when the ancestors are celebrated by their loved ones. It is filled with emotions and sentiments and is an auspicious festival for families. (B)

Day 6 | El Tule - Teotitlan de Valle

Today we will visit the surrounding villages: Village El Tule – a 2000-year-old tree, the village Teotitlan de Valle with its fine rugs, and, Tlacolula, with its 16th Century Church. 

We’ll also visit a wood carving family in San Martín Tilcajete that produces beautiful hand carved statues, well known throughout Oaxaca. In the late afternoon we will return to Oaxaca and prepare for our Farewell Dinner in the city. (B) (D)

Day 7 | Oaxaca

Unfortunately, today our adventure will come to an end. We will enjoy our last breakfast together and have a photo discussion before we depart. Hasta luego!

We urge you to extend your stay in Oaxaca or elsewhere in Mexico and apply all the wonderful photographic techniques you learned on this Photo Adventure. (B)

 

(B) Breakfast, (L) Lunch, (D) Dinner, (E) Excursion

 

May all who come as guests... leave as friends®

 

Mexico Oaxaca St Jude Photoworkshopadventures

OPTIONS AND BENEFITS

Pricing

All prices are per person and based on double occupancy. Please select single occupancy for a private room. For your convenience, we offer optional early arrival and late departure accommodations so you can extend your stay before or after the trip. We typically stay in boutique hotels in the 4-star category. Not all destinations offer these types of properties. We look for unique hotels which offer cultural, historic and/or authentic features. Depending on the size of the group, smaller boutique hotels may have limited room inventory. In some countries or in remote locations, we may be limited to lodges or branded chain hotels. Breakfast is included only if included in our room rates.

Private Guided Adventures

We offer amazing private guided photo adventures, cultural tours and vacations for individuals, couples, families and groups. We can customize any of our published adventures, as well as others, to meet your individual needs, schedule, budget and interests. This may include the finest 5-star accommodations, business-class travel, and private guides and fixers who are able to make the impossible possible. If you are not interested in a photo-centric vacation, but you love our approach to private travel, we will be happy to design and deliver an amazing adventure focused on travel, culture and cuisine. Click here to request a quote. Feel free to call us at 1-888-834-0288 or contact us for more information.

Travel Insurance

We offer travel insurance through the internationally recognized Travelex Travel Insurance Company, as well as evacuation and medical transportation insurance through MedJet, one of the best in the industry.

The cost for travel insurance can be as low as 4% of the total trip cost, depending upon age and other factors. Knowing you have trip cancellation coverage can make a big difference should you have to cancel for some unforeseen reason. Travelex Insurance Services is a BBB Accredited business with an A+ rating. Click here to learn more about why you should consider travel insurance.

Rewards Program

Start earning points today and SAVE $200 - $900 off future trips!
Simply register for one of our amazing photo adventures and begin earning points today!

How The Program Works
For every adventure reservation you make with Photo Workshop Adventures, you earn valuable points which you can redeem on your next trip. This is a great way to save up to 8% off future trips. Our Rewards Program is designed with three tiers: Orange, Gold and VIP Members. Points may be applied towards balance payments on your next trip, or you may choose to accumulate points for a free trip in the future.

ORANGE REWARDS
All guests begin with our Orange Rewards Program (Level 1), which earns 4 points for every dollar you spend. You begin earning points immediately after your first trip. A $5,900 spend earns 23,600 points with a value of $236 USD.

GOLD REWARDS
With our Gold Rewards Program (Level 2), you earn 6 points for every dollar you spend. Orange Members who reach 120,000 accumulated lifetime* points (approx. 4-6 trips), automatically move up to Gold Rewards. A $5,900 spend earns 35,400 points with a value of $354 USD.

Additional Gold Benefits:

  • Earn up to double points during promotional events
  • Advance notifications for upcoming adventures and special offers

VIP REWARDS
With our VIP Rewards Program (Level 3), you earn 8 points for every dollar you spend. Gold Members who reach 350,000 accumulated lifetime* points (approx. 8-12 trips) move up to VIP Rewards. A $5,900 spend earns 47,200 points with a value of $472 USD, (8+/-% discount).

Additional VIP Benefits:

  • Earn up to double points during promotional events
  • Advance notifications for upcoming adventures and special offers
  • Ability to Gift or Transfer points to others
  • Receive complimentary airport transfers at the destination location*

Redeeming Your Points
Redeeming your points couldn’t be easier. You can always log in to your account to check your points balance. When you are ready to book your next trip, register and pay your deposit. When you go to pay your balance you will be given the option to apply your points and receive a discount.

THINK ORANGE Magazine

Subscribe to our Think Orange Magazine and eNews. THINK ORANGE is a wonderful mix of stories and tips related to travel, photography, adventure, culture, art, technology, cuisine, lifestyle, people and more. Our objective is to immerse you in a world you may only fantasize about. Raise your awareness and inspire your creativity. Perhaps even help make you a better photographer. We deliver similar experiential experiences that our guests enjoy on our photo adventures. Like all of our adventures, our blog is “photo-centric”, while also allowing you to experience all the nuances and cultural aspects of travel and adventure. Welcome to our world. We hope you enjoy. Our eNews is a great way to receive information about upcoming photo adventures, exciting new destinations, photography tips, special offers and more. Subscribe today!

Gift Cards

Give someone you know a Gift Card, good toward any of our Photo  Adventures, Photo Tours, Private Guided Tours, Online Courses, Prints or Merchandize. Our beautifully personalized eGift Cards and Certificates are delivered to you electronically. They are fully transferable and have a 2 year expiration date. They are available in any amount from $100 to $5000. It makes a great gift for anyone who loves photography, travel or adventure. Order now, or email for more information.

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