How (and Where) To Celebrate Easter in Mexico

Easter is this coming Sunday, April 24. In Mexico, this means the start of the country’s second-most important holiday season (only surpassed by Christmas).

Religious fiestas dot the weeks around Easter, and it’s also the start of a busy vacation period. So whether you observe Easter’s religious aspects or not, you’ll find plenty to celebrate in Mexico at this time. Here are a few suggestions on where and how to celebrate Easter:

Get in on Easter fiestas: Mexico’s Colonial Highlands, north of Mexico City, is one of the country’s most deeply Catholic regions. If you want to see the beauty and pageantry of traditional Easter celebrations, this is a great region for doing it.

In the state of Guanajuato, for instance, celebrations begin well before Palm Sunday—the Sunday before Easter. The Friday before Palm Sunday is dedicated to the Virgin de los Dolores—Our Lady of Sorrows.

In the state capital, Guanajuato, it’s known as Flower Day and actually begins on Thursday night with dances and other celebrations that may last all night. On the Friday itself, the city’s historic center is thronged with people buying flowers, Easter baskets and other mementos, while the religious flock to the cathedral. In San Miguel de Allende, locals put altars in the windows or entranceways of their homes; many of the homes are open to the public on this day. And in both cities, giving ice cream or water to visitors is traditional.

Then there are the Good Friday and Easter celebrations in both these cities, with spectacular Easter masses.

In the Colonial city of Taxco, don’t miss the parade on Holy Thursday, with hundreds of penitents and “encruzados”—penitents carrying crosses. There is another parade on Easter Sunday itself, and an arts-and-crafts fair throughout the week.

Other areas worth visiting for their Easter celebrations include Pátzcuaro, Aguascalientes and San Luis Potosí.

Hit the beach: The Easter holidays are also the traditional start of the beach season in Mexico. Since many schools are closed at this time, even families will head off to the closest shore for a few days.

It may still be spring-like weather in Pacific Coast beach towns like Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta and Huatulco. If you find this a bit chilly, consider going farther south… By April the Yucatán Peninsula is nice and hot, and the water is just fine. Consider Caribbean resorts like Cancún, Playa del Carmen, or Tulúm, or the Yucatán Gulf Coast on the other side of the Peninsula.

Keep in mind, though, that Easter is an ultra-high season in Mexico. Book hotel reservations early—especially for the beach—and be prepared to pay higher prices than at non-holiday times.

But with so much to choose from, you may find this the perfect time to visit Mexico.

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