There are many towns in Yucatan that preserve small treasures inside that go unnoticed by the eyes of others. Hoctún have one of the most particular cemeteries in Yucatán.

I met Hoctún reading Yucatan Today, the reference magazine of Yucatán, who have done an excellent job for many years. Hoctún is a town near Mérida that has its detour on the 180 highway that connects Mérida with Valladolid. Surely few would stop if it were not for their peculiar cemetery, which places it on the path of those of us who like to travel in a calm way and peek into different and curious places.

Hoctun Cemetery, Yucatan

The Hoctún cemetery They have the peculiarity of being very colorful. The gravestones of the tombs are decorated with striking colors and picturesque decorations. This makes it an entertaining and photogenic cemetery, a good stop on your way.

Hoctun Cemetery, Yucatan
Anacleto worked for 50 years in the Hoctún cemetery
Hoctun Cemetery, Yucatan
Hoctun Cemetery, Yucatan

This year I decided to visit the Hoctún Cemetery for Day of the Dead, some special dates in the cultural panorama of Mexico. On these dates we live in a special way the tradition in the Hoctún cemetery, where relatives approach to dress their dead.

What does it mean to dress the deceased? During these very marked dates the tombstones of the cemetery are repainted, cleaned and re decorated: it is their way of honoring their dead. Just as the living clean and clothe ourselves, the dead also do it this way.

Hoctún and its colorful cemetery 1
Family dressing their deceased

During the dates of Days of the Dead the relatives approach the Hoctún cemetery and paint the tombs. It is a tradition that is preserved but has been lost over time. Nowadays, you will surely find families that gather to pine the tombstones, others have the workers paint them for them. Some are just going to deposit flowers and fix the grave, and there are families that gather with music and a chela while they talk and remember their dead. Take advantage of your visit to ask them, do not be afraid to talk with strangers on your way, it is very nice that they explain their traditions themselves, you will surely learn new things.

Hoctun Cemetery, Yucatan
Hoctun Cemetery, Yucatan
Hoctún and its colorful cemetery 2

As a curiosity I was talking to the gravedigger from Hoctún Cemetery, whom they call the dead. His nickname comes from years ago he drank a lot, and he used to end up sleeping on the floor, literally falling dead from alcohol. So today, The dead He is the one who buries you in Hoctún.

You can visit the cemetery throughout the year, it is worth the walk. If on the dates of Day of the Dead you are in this area, it gives you a plus to visit.

Location: Hoctún It is located 65 km east of Mérida. If you go from Mérida, take 59th street to the peripheral of the city, follow the sign for the road to Chichén Itzá, you will see the detour indicated on this road.
How to get there by public transport? Bus leaves from the Northeast terminal of Mérida, street 67 x 52 and 50; hours 7:45, 9:15, 10:45, 12:30 and 14:30; it costs 23 pesos. Another option is to go by bus, they leave when they fill up in front of the same terminal, on Calle 67 and charge 25 pesos. The big bus takes between 1 hour and a little longer. Buses also arrive from Piste or Valladolid.
Hoctun Cemetery, Yucatan

Good way,

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Sandra Salvadó Training photographer, traveler by vocation and certified tourism guide by the Government of Mexico. We promote natural wonders and contemporary Mayan culture. Great fan of pre-Hispanic history. Author of the blog and co-founder of The Shortest Path Travel, agency that guides you through alternative paths in Mayan lands. Social and sustainable tourism in the Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas.
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