November 07, 2023
The 2023 Puerto Vallarta’s Festival de Muertos made the traditional Day of the Dead celebrations colorful, joyful and festive with more than 50 free activities and events held at the Malecon, Historic Downtown, Romantic Zone and other nearby areas.
The big highlight was the unveiling of Puerto Vallarta's giant Catrina statue. For the second year in a row, the Great Lady of the Malecon holds the Guinness World Record for the “Tallest Calavera Catrina in the World.”
The 2023 Puerto Vallarta’s Festival de Muertos lasted for ten consecutive days and included many cultural events such as bright altars for the dead, thematic parades, large Catrina displays, and exhibitions on the theme of death.
With a height of 92 feet, the monumental Catrina of Puerto Vallarta reached the Guinness World Records for the “Tallest Calavera Catrina in the World” for the second year in a row.
This work of art surpassed the 75.5 feet high registered in 2022. It was one of the main attractions that framed the celebration of the 2023 Puerto Vallarta’s Festival de Muertos, with the purpose of promoting Mexican traditions.
Throughout the month of November, the monumental Catrina of Puerto Vallarta will be on display on the esplanade of the Faro del Malecon Lighthouse. Visitors will be able to admire this giant structure, which took more than three months to build, using approximately four tons of material and more than 700 meters of fabric.
A large team was responsible for the creation of the record holder Catrina, its brand new gala gown, hat and headdress, led by Professor Juan Ernesto Navarro Salcedo, general coordinator of the project. Local architects, plastic artists, painters and seamstresses, among other professionals, were also part of the team.
In addition, more than 40 ten-foot Catrinas were placed along Puerto Vallarta's Malecon. The creation of each Catrina involved the city's main hotels, restaurants and shops. Some of them were decorated with motifs that alluded to the sea and to the privileged nature that surrounds the "Friendliest City in the World." Others were devoted to characters from popular culture.
The exhibition of more than 40 Catrinas accompanying the “Tallest Calavera Catrina in the World”, displays of Altars of the Dead in various venues, themed parades and exhibitions were also part of the 2023 Puerto Vallarta’s Festival de Muertos.
The most traditional markets of Puerto Vallarta were filled with the distinctive aromas of fresh cempasúchil flowers, copal, palo santo and incense. Each mercado hosted colorful displays of altars of the dead.
In front of the iconic Colonia Cinco de Diciembre Cemetery –the resting place of some illustrious Vallartenses–, visitors could admire the altars set by the merchants of the Cinco de Diciembre Market, popularly known as the "Sea Market."
Also participating were the Emiliano Zapata Municipal Market, the Cuale River Municipal Market –the oldest traditional mercado in Puerto Vallarta– and the neighbors of Agustin Rodriguez Street. They all set up a small display of mini altars of the dead.
As is tradition, a large display of altars of the dead from Puerto Vallarta's schools and universities was placed on the outside of the City Hall building. Each ofrenda was dedicated to a historical figure or important in popular culture. This year, for instance, the altars to the founder of Puerto Vallarta, Don Guadalupe Sanchez, and to the families of Old Town Vallarta were prominent.
The commemorative parade on November 2nd, starting from the Colonia Cinco de Diciembre Cemetery, was one of the most anticipated moments of the 2023 Puerto Vallarta’s Festival de Muertos. This event gathered hundreds of people -visitors and locals alike- who enthusiastically marched along the Malecon and up to the Romantic Zone, characterized as catrinas, charros, calaveras and other motives that allude to the Day of the Dead in Mexico.
The “Friendliest City in the World” hosted other outstanding cultural and sports activities in parallel with the Festival of the Dead, including the UTMB World Series. Approximately 2,000 top elite athletes from all over the world had the opportunity to run along Puerto Vallarta's Malecon and experience the unique festive atmosphere of the Day of the Dead.
In this way, Puerto Vallarta promotes the cultural values of Mexico so that visitors have a first-hand experience of this important celebration. All of this helps to attract international travelers who come to Puerto Vallarta to enjoy the sun and the beach, and to find a place where traditions come to life.
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