Travel Curator Bibi Jordan
KEEPING THE SPIRIT ALIVE
CELEBRATING DAY OF THE DEAD IN THE YUCATAN
Hell with Halloween. One sole night for reveling in the reveal of my soul’s fantasy? Not a ghost of a chance; I’m opting for the Week of the Wild, Mexico’s week-long celebration of the Day of the Dead. With airfares under $300, an impulse trip seems dead right. From October 27th - November 2nd, Mexico will fete visitors, dead and alive, with the joys of life at street fairs, block parties, and cemetery picnics featuring foods, drinks, music, and costumes to die for.
Oaxaca, San Miquel de Allende, Chiapas, and the Island of Janitzio are long-time favorites. But, I head to the Yucatán Peninsula, home of the ancient Maya civilization which still holds the traditional “Hanal Pixan” or “feast of the souls”. By day, I literally go underground with shamans to their secret subterranean world of ‘cinotes’, sacred wells of turquoise pools where Mayans communicate with the gods. Then, it’s time for the beach, a late lunch of lobster, and a siesta in a hammock under the palms to rest up for a night of bone-shaking parties with the Calavenas Catrina, the Elegant Cadavers of Mexico.
I’ve chosen Playa del Carmen as my home-base. Last-minute rock-bottom priced flights to Cancun are easy to find, and, from the efficient, modern airport, a new highway leads just 40 miles south to Playa where accommodations ranging from all-inclusive resorts to charming AirBnBs abound. Along the coast are beaches, swimming holes, Mayan ruins, theme parks, and endless excursions for short day trips that allow plenty of time to explore the town at night when costumed calaveras (skeletons) rattle and shake their bones all night long.