Photos, Pablo Leautaud, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED
The Panteón Xilotepec is the biggest cemetery in Xochimilco, and is often cited as the second-most visted in Mexico City. (That is, second to the Panteón Civil de Dolores.) The cemetery sees high visitation numbers on May 10th, Father’s Day, and of course, during Day of the Dead observances. About 60,000 visitors arrive each year.
The cemetery dates from the late 19th century. It was formed as a civil alternative in the wake of the Religious Reformation Period. The first grave is believed to date from 1893. The people of Xochimilco still refer to the place as the old cemetery, as it was originally intended for the interment only of those native to the area.
The cemetery was greatly expanded in the 1970s when the Rotunda of Illustrious People of Xochimilco was added. Among local personalities honored here are the poet Fernando Celada and journalist Adán Becerril. There’s also a monument to Francisco Goitia.
The cemetery is probably best known for the eerie children’s section. Painted and festooned in bright colors, the ballons and toys left as mementos quickly take on a rather dreary cast.
A main access (shown above) is on the Prolongación Acueducto, in the Colonia Ampliación La Noria. During the Day of the Dead season, hours are frequently extended well into the night.
Expect a walk from the Huichapan Light Rail station to take about 20 minutes.
Hours: Daily, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.