Published on April 23rd, 2011 | by Mark Chesnut

Mexico Hotels — Top 10 Festivals in Mexico

Reason to celebrate: Mexico’s numerous festivals include Festival de Mexico, which brings opera and other performances to the nation’s capital. Pictured here, the Russian opera Rusalka, at this year’s festival. 


There are so many festivals that take place each year in Mexico, so how are you supposed to know which ones to visit? Here are the top 10 fiestas and celebrations to narrow it down, including Day of the Dead, the Cervantino festival, Festival de Mexico and the Morelia International Film Festival. Whichever events you decide to visit, at whichever time of year, there are always plenty of great offers on Mexico hotels available and lots of things to do. 

1. Festival de Mexico: This fiesta sees 50 venues come together to host national and international acts encompassing opera, music, theatre and dance shows. Lasting for two weeks, it takes place in mid-March and the main hub of activity is held in Mexico City’s downtown historic center. 

2. Day of the Dead: This famous festival commemorates the dead on November 1-2, taking place throughout the country. The colourful tradition is rooted in indigenous culture and the spirit of celebrating the dead rather than mourning the loss has been kept alive in Patzcuaro.

3. Son Jarocho Music Festival: Held in the riverside town of Tlacotalpan, it features the Virgin Candelaria (Candlemas) being transported down the river. Traditional Veracruz-style music also takes place at this three-day early February festival. 

4. Carnaval in Veracruz: Veracruz hosts Mexico’s biggest carnival. Usually held in March, the Veracruz carnival boasts flamboyant parades, colourful parties, live music and lots of performances of dance, including the traditional salsa. As it’s so popular, be sure to look at Mexico hotels early. 

5. Morelia International Film Festival: Kicking off in mid-October, the event was created to screen documentaries and fiction works from newcomers and often gives guests an up-close view of Mexican society. The city offers funky bars and cafes and is always hectic around the main square due to the nighttime viewings in the open air. 

6. Cinco de Mayo: Taking place each year on May 5, it commemorates when the Mexican army triumphed unexpectedly over French forces back in 1862 during the Battle of Puebla. It’s seen as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride and is considered the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico. The main celebrations take place in Puebla and include battle re-enactments, mariachi bands, bullfighting, shows and games.

7. Fiesta de Santa Cecilia: In Mexico City on November 22, homage is paid to St. Cecilia. She was the patron saint of musicians, and so in the city’s Mariachi Square, mariachi bands pay tribute to her. Musicians from regions in northern Mexico and Veracruz play a tribute concert in Plaza Garibaldi, where an open-air party is also customary. 

8. Festival Internacional Cervantino: Each October, visitors descend upon Guanajuato for this fiesta, which originally focused on the works of Spanish novelist Miguel Cervantes of Don Quijote fame. Nowadays the colonial city plays host to one of Latin America’s front running arts festivals, so much so that it’s essential to sort out hotels as early as possible. 

9. Fiestas de Octubre: Taking place throughout October, Guanajuato is home to a month of modern art shows and alternative music gigs. Thousands of visitors flock to the city to see the parades, motorcycle acrobats, marching bands, clowns, festival queens, folk dancers and entertainers dressed up in giant-sized costumes (known as moji-gangas). 

10. Guelaguetza Festival: Oaxaca City comes alive with regional folkloric music and dance shows each July. The majority of the festivities happen at the amphitheatre, but there are also lots of smaller events in surrounding towns.

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Steve Alexander is a travel writer and has built up a good knowledge of the best Mexico hotels. For much more information on Mexico hotels and other great hotels throughout the world, go to

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About the Author

The founder and editor of, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.

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