What is an authentic Mayan Hanal Pixan celebration like?

Hanal Pixan Riviera Maya
Shaman during the Hanal Pixan ceremony.

See Hanal Pixan in the Riviera Maya

Many people know the Mexican holiday of the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos). This holiday was originally a fusion of cultures. Many indigenous communities have similar celebrations for the dead like the Maya. In our area of the Riviera Maya, you can still see the Mayan celebration of Hanal Pixan which is the equivalent of Day of the Dead.

When you are in the Riviera Maya you will see the modern holiday of Halloween celebrated and Day of the Dead. You might want to see this more traditional celebration called Hanal Pixan.

This celebration of Hanal Pixan takes people to a small Mayan community where the celebration takes place in a large cenote. This not only distances you from the mass tourism on the coast but transports you to a magical place. A better location could not be had.  Anyone looking for a special cultural activity should plan on attending.

Hanal Pixan Riviera Maya alltournative
Mayan participants for the Hanal Pixan ceremony.

Traditional food served for dinner

Many people that come to the Riviera Maya never get to fully taste Mayan cuisine. There are not even a lot of restaurants in Playa Del Carmen that serve Yucatecan food.

This tour gives you a good opportunity to experience local Mayan food. This was one menu that they served:

  • Turkey and vegetable soup with steamed tamales.
  • Pork ribs in a tamarind and chile arbol sauce accompanies by a brazo de reina (hardboiled egg filled tamale) with pumpkin seed salsa.
  • Candied squash for dessert.
  • Drinks included atole (a thick sweet corn drink) jamaica water (hibiscus flower tea) and water. Beer is sold for those that want it.
Traditional Mayan food
Traditional Maya food served for Hanal Pixan.

How this event is organized

The Mayan community cooks, decorates the cenote and prepares for visitors to come to the town. Much pride and joy are taken by the community as they welcome visitors to observe the traditions and culture they have. Everyone from the community elders to the young children partake.

allTOURnative promotes these event and reserves tickets ahead of time. allTOURnative also gets busses ready and has staff on hand so they can be bilingual guides to assist visitors. On the day Hanal Pixan is celebrated, allTOURnative guides take small groups around to see the alters and makes sure everyone gets from the cenote to the dining area. The guides also help serve the meal and then guide people to the busses.

What is included in the Hanal Pixan Tour

  • Bus transportation from Playa Del Carmen to the Mayan community.
  • Bilingual guides.
  • Time to walk around to see the decorating of the alters.
  • Traditional Mayan Hanal Pixan ceremony.
  • Regional Mayan cuisine for dinner.

This tour usually is about 500 pesos a person or about $27 USD. This is a great deal for a half day tour and dinner! We really recommend people experience this. If you are planning to be in the area during this time (October 30-November 2) this is something you should plan on attending.

Have you been to see this Hanal Pixan celebration before? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below.

Hanal Pixan Riviera Maya
The audience with candles observing Hanal Pixan.

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  1. This looks like a beautiful festival. I want to go next year for sure. So sorry I have been missing it. Your video is good at showing what it is like.

  2. Yes, this looks like an amazing experience, and I plan on being in Puerto Morelos for Dia de les Muertos in 2017. Thank you for bringing it to my attention with your beautiful video. I’m loving this site!

    • Thank you Jannis. We love letting people know about the interesting things in the area. If you get a chance to go next year we really recommend it. It might be two days or rather there will be two options for people next year.

  3. I missed this last year and want to make it this year. Do you know what dates they will do this celebration? I so want to bring my family here.

    • Hello

      We just sent an email to allTOURnative for dates for Hanal Pixan 2017. We will post it when we get it. We hope you can go this year. It is really special.

  4. Hola staff:
    I want to do your tour in 2018; Nov. 2? 3? What date will it be and how can I sign up. Thank you!

    • Hello

      This tour is set up by allTOURnative tours. They usually announce the date around late September. We have asked then in the past to give the dates further in advance since people like to plan their vacations. You could contact them and see if they can give you and idea when it will happen in 2018.

  5. Hi- I cannot make contact with allTOURnative tours to reserve a Mayan Hanal Pixan tour on November 2, 2018. The listed phone number of 877-437-4990 is no longer working, and their chat line has nit been ooen. How can I reserve? Thanks

    • We checked with them today to make sure they were open. We will try to get another contact number or email for you. Are you calling that number from the United States? You can leave a message via the chat box also.

  6. Hi, great blog! very useful information! We’re going to the Hanal Pixan whit Alltournative this year 🙂 The meeting point for us is the Centro Maya. We’ll get there by van (Colectivo from Playa to Tulum, stopping in the commercial center) but we don’t know how to back to Playa after the tour. Do you know if there is any public transport from Centro Maya to the center of Playa del Carmen around 11.30 pm? Thanks!

    • There are public busses that leave from the Centro Maya mall but not sure how many there are at that time. There is a movie theater there so there still might be some people looking for a bus. Alternatively taxis will be around there.

  7. Hallo zusammen.. wir sind aus Deutschland und kommen am 1.11.18 in Playa Del Carmen an.. wir würden gerne am 2.11.18 auch zum hanal pixan Fest.. kann ich noch vor Ort buchen.. wie ist der Preis.. danke für die Auskunft..

  8. Hello we will be at Bahia Principe Akumal 10/31-11/3. I would like to know on what dates will this activity take place and times. Also how will transportation work since I will be staying in Akumal. Please let me know as soon as possible. Thanks!

    • Hello Ana

      You check Alltournative’s website for complete details. It would require you getting to Playa Del Carmen for the pick up location and it does arrive back to Playa later in the evening so you would have to plan on getting back to your hotel around 11 pm or later.

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