Bahidorá Festival in Morelos, Mexico

The picturesque Las Estacas Natural Park plays host to a multi-faceted experience

In its sixth year, the two-day Bahidorá Festival at Las Estacas Natural Park in Morelos, Mexico offers a weekend of sun, dancing and beautiful scenery. Unlike many contemporaries, Bahidorá considers itself a carnival rather than a dance music festival. That vision—to create a multi-faceted experience—is clear in how DJ acts are mixed with bands and art installations throughout the festival area. While the majority of the visitors come from the Mexico City clubbing crowd, there are plenty of people from all over the Americas.

Taking steps to live up to the expectations of visitors, organizers offer Isla B; a small separate island within the park dedicated to wellness (with massages, yoga and meditation classes) which provides an escape from the partying. By the entrance, visitors are welcomed by Colibri Azul, an anthropologist duo that “cleaned” party goers with a feather and smoke ceremony. Similar ceremonial performances are scattered throughout the festival, bringing a connection to the land and its deep cultural history.

Details such as handmade dream catchers in the trees, an installation of dried flower bouquets, sculptures, a drum line (Batala Tepoztlan), and dancers (Tribu Bahidorá) all add to the wonderland-type feeling.

With the vision to be zero-impact, the festival only uses cups made from biodegradable material and a thorough clean-up process where the grass and environment is recovered within a week, says festival director Iñigo Villiamil. During the days we spent on the ground, we saw surprisingly little amounts of litter—despite the heavily trafficked grounds and lagoons. (It’s worth noting that lifeguards are also on duty.)

Just a couple hours drive from Mexico City, the sun-drenched, lush destination is worth the trip on its own. But with Bahidorá offering diving, snorkeling, kayaking and more in the crystal mountain water rivers set to a soundtrack that includes the likes of Gilles Peterson, Kamasi Washington, and Mount Kimbie, timing your visit with the festival is an even better excuse to visit.

Images courtesy of Bahidorá