Easter week in Mexico is a big deal, and as such much of the country’s transport links are either oversubscribed or eerily empty. It’s a period of much religious solemnity and festivity, and you can expect many places to close down for the main days of the celebration. However, it’s also a point in the year at which the country enjoys some of its most agreeable weather conditions and has a true wealth of cultural activity going on. Here are the best places to travel to in Mexico this Easter.
You might think that recommending the capital isn’t all that innovative of a suggestion, but there are so many perks to visiting normally chaotic Mexico City during the Easter period. First of all, many locals will be traveling to cities and beach resorts across the country, meaning that Mexico City is practically deserted. You can enjoy faster commute times, lower taxi fares and a generally greater sense of peace and quiet, which you never get usually. It’s also a hub of Easter celebrations, from the world-famous Passion of the Christ re-enactment in Iztapalapa, to the decadent celebrations that take place at the northern Basilica, making it ideal for culture fiends.
Guanajuato is a popular destination year-round for its picturesque colonial capital, and the American immigrant enclave of San Miguel de Allende. It also happens to be one of Mexico’s most religious and conservative states, which means the Easter celebrations are undeniably important and fantastically traditional – if that’s what you’re into, at least. Festivities here last much longer, so you get more bang for your buck, and you can enjoy dances and parades. In San Miguel it’s common to put up altars in doorways, and both cities gift ice cream and water to visitors.
If you’d prefer to see in the Easter celebrations in a former silver mining city, then Taxco is the place to be. This quaint colonial city sits right on the border between Guerrero and Mexico City, which makes it an easy day trip from the capital if you don’t fancy spending your whole vacation there. It’s also the site of some of the most extreme Easter celebrations you’ll find in Mexico, including the parades which include people whipping themselves or dragging heavy crosses to atone for their sins. Aside from that rather intense spectacle, there are plenty of markets and masses.
As one of Mexico’s most traditional states, Oaxaca is a great place to visit all year round and it’s within throwing distance of several iconic Mexican landmarks, such as the “frozen” waterfalls of Hierve el Agua. However, it would be a fantastic spot to visit during Easter in particular due to the sheer number of religious celebration that will dominate both the capital and other outlying villages. As with the aforementioned destinations, you’re likely to be privy to huge masses, street markets and lots of celebration mixed with solemnity. Plus, you’re an overnight bus ride away from some of the country’s best coastline.
San Cristóbal de las Casas
San Cristóbal de las Casas, in the state of Chiapas, has a similar vibe to Oaxaca State during the Easter celebrations – that’s to say it’s highly traditional, vibrant and crammed with visitors from all over the country and abroad. However, it would also make an unmissable city in which to enjoy the festivities and soak up some of the culture of the area. The benefit of being in San Cristóbal is that you can easily take a trip up north to the ruins of Palenque and the Agua Azul waterfall.
Puerto Vallarta makes for the quintessential beach break over the Easter period in Mexico. The weather hasn’t heated up to its sweltering summer peak just yet and it’s easily accessible, flight wise, for both international visitors and locals. However, this stunning destination on the west coast of the country is also packed to the rafters over the Easter celebrations and the prices reflect that. A great benefit of visiting Puerto Vallarta, though, is that you’re super close to big cities like Guadalajara and have the option of a “cultural” day trip to the town of Tequila.
Alternatively, if you’d prefer a more Caribbean vibe for your Easter vacations, then the beautiful beach town of Tulum in the Riviera Maya would be ideal. Known for attracting backpackers and for having some of the most pristine white sands in the country, it’s warmer than Puerto Vallarta at this time of year and gives you easy access to places like Playa del Carman, Akumal (if you want to swim with sea turtles) and even the Mayan ruins of Cobá. The best thing about Tulum is its proximity to Cancún, which is notably cheaper to fly into than other major Mexican airports.
One of Mexico’s smaller states and cities with a reputation for being safer than many other Mexican destinations, Aguascalientes is often overlooked in favor of more visitor-friendly spots. However, if you’re traveling to Mexico for Easter then chances are you’ll be there just in time for the extravaganza that is the Feria de San Marcos. An almost month-long celebration (or 22 days to be precise), there are cattle shows, bullfights and rodeos, plus fairground rides, markets and plenty of all night street parties. As an added bonus, you’re within bus-ride distance of several other great cities too, namely Guadalajara, Guanajuato and San Luís Potosí.