praying im the night at oaxaca

Mexico, Day of the Dead

A Mexico Day of the Dead Photo tour with the amiable and friendly Tino Soriano. Along the years many times published in the National Geographic Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine. He holds five Photo Press awards as well as the Unesco, Oms and World Press Photo Foundation’s awards

An incredible experience at the villages capturing with your camera how the tiny towns in this area are preparing their homes, plazas, and graveyards for the celebrations. Witness how people flock in the hundreds and thousands to the grave sites setting up altars to their long passed ancestors that bear colorful sprays of flowers and special food that is only made at this time of year.

The soul of Mexican culture is certainly best expressed in the days leading up to the country’s most famous celebration: Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. From the Ruins of Monte Alban to the color frenzy of the market place of Oaxaca, Nomad Photo Expedition’s Day of the Dead Photo Tour will give you exclusive access to the most incredible sights and events during this whirlwind festival.

The festival remains largely unchanged from times long past, as the country is heavily steeped in its traditions. In the last week of October up through November 2, the country flourishes like a desert flower unfolding after the rain. Figures of skeletons, bouquets of flowers in sprays of pink and marigold, and sprawling carpets of sand called tapetas suddenly crop up in every corner of every village – parades are held with dancers reeling with skull masks and flaring, colorful skirts, musicians earn their keep in almost every public space. It’s a celebration, but there’s also a gravity to it, some old, deep story begging to be told. This day was celebrated long before the Spaniards ever arrived in the Yucatan, and despite European efforts to eradicate the local culture, it remained. It is rooted in the very core of Mexico.

This tour does not stay in the cities or near the tourist spots, but also gets deep into the rural areas and lesser known villages where tradition still reigns supreme. Here, Nomad offers you the change to get up close and personal with the real people of Mexico, with wonderful opportunities for portrait work, as well as full body and action shots of the celebrants in action.

We welcome you to come explore it with us, photograph it, tell the story you see unfolding as you find the threads of so many generations of observance coming together in a rich tapestry before you. Drink agave liquor with the locals, join in on the parades, explore everything from Zapotec ruins to colonial churches, and find out what makes Mexico not only rich in everything a photographer could want, but a place unlike any other.

Initially I was drawn to Harry”s stunning photographs. While the website was very informative on all aspects, my recent trip to Ethiopia exceeded my expectations.
Harry is an amazing host, generously sharing his passion for travel and photography. His spirit and understanding of people, places and cultures truly made this not just a trip,
but an adventure and a memory. I look forward to many more.

Maxine Helfman (USA)




We will arrive at Oaxaca airport and have transportation to our hotel, where we will be free to rest and freshen up before we have our welcome and orientation dinner.

Overnight in hotel.



 We’ll start off our tour by hitting the ground running; it’s off to the villages at first light to see how the tiny towns in this area are preparing their homes, plazas, and graveyards for the celebrations. Also, as life is relatively unchanged here from other more urban places, we’ll have the opportunity to see the celebrants in action with nothing forced or staged.

First up is El Tule, which above everything else boasts a tree which is over 2,000 years old. Then, we’re off to the tiny hamlet of Teotitlan de Valle, which has what are fabled as the finest rugs and carpets in all of Mexico for sale. After a bit of lunch we’ll continue to Tlacolula which is a mix of traditional fare, but some colonial aspects as well, including its 16th century church. Then it’s on to Yagul which by contrast has ancient Zapotec ruins which are just as imposing and serene as the colonial churches. Lastly, we’ll end up in Mitla where both colonial church and Zapotec ruins stand side by side, and we’ll photograph them just as the last light of day fills the sky.

Overnight in Oaxaca.



Just after breakfast we’ll take an organized trip to another small hamlet to see the local market, as it is market day. Here we’ll have some unstructured time for off the cuff shots and taking in the busy kaleidoscope of buying and selling. Then, after a spot of lunch we’ll visit the church of Santo Domingo, which is hailed as one of the most structurally and artistically beautiful in all of Mexico for a shoot inside and out of the building.

Across from it is the Convent that shares the same name but that also houses a museum of the Oaxacan cultures that predated the Spanish conquest. Then, it’s dinner and free time in the city.

Overnight in Oaxaca.



Finally the time is nigh! We’ll get a city tour today to orient ourselves which will include Oaxaca’s picturesque central park, the myriad of gorgeous colonial churches, and several of the bustling marketplaces which at this time of the year will be packed with people from all over bartering, talking, eating, sharing, and preparing for the most important holiday of their calendar year. It’s here that you’ll be introduced to all the staples and traditions, from the elaborate process of making sugar skulls and sweet breads, to artisans who have been making their artifacts for generations.

Dinner will be at a restaurant with a view, and not just any view: it overlooks the plaza and the great cathedral, so we will have plenty of time for twilight shots from a good vantage point, as this excited, buzzing city gears on towards the big day…

Overnight in Oaxaca.



Up before dawn to see the first of many parades, which will be the children’s parades that go around the main plazas. Then, we’ll be off to the graveyards where families set up special altars to their long passed ancestors that bear colorful sprays of flowers and special food that is only made at this time of year. We’ll have time to photograph this powerful ritual, the families gathering, many stories and many generations all brought together to the same place where their roots go into the earth together. And in the background, Mariachis will stroll, the smell of sweetbread will permeate everything.

Today will be spent in the graveyards, taking advantage of the changes in people and also in light, including into the twilight when candles are lit and the purple dusk falls as vigils of night begin.

Overnight in Oaxaca.



This morning will be somewhat of a repeat of the day before, as there will be more children’s parades and also time spent by the locals at the grave altars – so this will be the time for us to get any shots we couldn’t get the day before, or finish up stories, find missing images we want in our photographic tale.

Then, in the afternoon we’ll travel out to some of the local villages to see and photograph the rituals there, before ending up at a specially selected restaurant where we’ll be treated to traditional tamales, hot chocolate and mezcal. We’ll have some time with the chefs, learning about how each of these traditional dishes are made, and then we’ll have some time learning about the mescal, which is a unique tequila like drink made only in this area. After dinner we’ll have a night time shoot of more of the village and the altars, before heading back home.

Overnight in Oaxaca.



The big day finally arrives – El Día de los Muertos. The atmosphere changes slightly in the general cemetery, which is where we will be spending most of our day. Now that the vigils have past, it’s finally a time of celebration for the life that was once lived. The music brightens, the colors too, and people flock in the hundreds and thousands to the grave sites of their ancestors. We’ll spend the better part of the day here, and then the afternoon and evening in the smaller towns to see and capture the differences between city and rural life, but also the connecting threads in the same story of this culture and its people.

Overnight in Oaxaca.



Taking it a little easy this morning after such a long few days before, today we’ll be focused on the local artisans and craftmakers, and we have a few photo shoots set up with several individuals who will display how they create their wares, generally using traditional methods. After a leisurely lunch, however, we have one more surprise – there’s a little known village near Oaxaca where the Day of the Dead celebrations actually happen on the 3rd instead of the day before, so we’ll head out there for our last chance to shoot the festivities.

Overnight in Oaxaca.



This morning for our last day in country we have a photo shoot set up with a professional model who will dress in traditional skirts and clothing for us, and we will have a variety of backgrounds to choose from including monolith wooden church doors, the corridors of a monastery, and the last of the crowds in the market place.

Finally, we’ll head to the ruins of Monte Alban at sunset to photograph the impressive Zapotec ruins as the last long rays of the sun spill over the beautiful countryside.


We’ll end our tour on a high note, a celebration dinner in the city.

Overnight in Oaxaca.


Day 10: LAST DAY

Time to say goodbye! We’ll have transportation to the airports for all flights. End of services.

Prices per person
9-10 Participants 4930 US$

Single Room Surcharge Main Itinerary 1000 US$





- 1st class Hotel

- All Meals

- Travel Photographer Expert

- Local guide

- Private air conditioned bus





- International flights

- Tips

- Anything not specified at "Included"