The Routes That Inspired Mexico’s Biggest Hit
The animators behind Disney-Pixar’s hit film “Coco” drew inspiration from all over Mexico, including the annual Day of the Dead celebrations that take place from late October through early November. Fortunately, the Mexico Tourism Board has created four special routes so travelers can experience the places, things and traditions that inspired the Academy Award-winning movie.
Isla San Marcos, Aguascalientes
The Festival de las Calaveras (Skeleton Festival) at Aguascalientes’ Isla San Marcos runs from the last week in October to the first week of November. The unique Day of the Dead celebration combines art, culture and religion.
Cruz and Angeles Cemeteries, Aguascalientes
Visitors to Aguascalientes can also experience a guided cemetery tour and participate in the famous night walk known as “ilumínale los pies al muerto” (light up the feet of the dead one).
San Juan Parangaricutiro, Michoacan
This remarkable site inspired the church tower in Miguel’s hometown of Santa Cecilia. The original church was buried in lava following the eruption of the Paricutin volcano in 1943 but the bell tower is still visible, sticking out from beneath the rock.
Known as the “guitar town,” Paracho inspired the design of the guitar featuring a black skull and pearls seen in Coco. It’s also the former home of the guitar maker who helped design the instrument that appears in the film.
Elsewhere in Michoacan, the small town of Patzcuaro situated on the hills above the namesake lake served as inspiration for the beloved movie. Visitors will want to explore the food, jewelry and art sellers in the Plaza Vasco de Quiroga as well as experience the town’s talented street musicians and performers.
Centro Historico, Guanajuato
Coco’s animators were inspired by Guanajuato’s charming historic center when designing the Land of the Dead. Visitors to Centro Historico’s cobblestone streets will encounter a familiar layout.
Plaza del Ropero, Guanajuato
This plaza is famous for the life-size bronze statue dedicated to the famous Mexican musician Jorge Negrete that inspired the bronze statue honoring Miguel’s hero, Ernesto de la Cruz, in the film.
Monte Alban, Oaxaca
This massive pre-Columbian archeological site in Oaxaca features the remains of magnificent temples and tombs whose designs inspired parts of the Land of the Dead seen in Coco.
Zapateria ‘La Moda’, Oaxaca
While in Oaxaca, travelers can also discover the real-life shoe store that inspired the tradition of shoe-making in Miguel’s family. The business has been in operation for more than three decades.
San Martin Tilcajete, Oaxaca
The workshop of Jacobo and Maria Angeles boasts numerous alebrijes, wooden Zapotec figurines that served as the inspiration for Pepita, an alebrije that acts as the protector of the late members of the Rivera family in Coco.
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