La Isla De Las Muñecas: your scariest Halloween destination

Maria Sergeeva
October 30, 2017

For those who have never heard about this place, la Isla De Las Munecas or “Island of the Dolls”, the expectation to see the cute toy world gets blown to pieces.  In fact, the island lying south of Mexico City is filled with hundreds of decapitated and mutilated dolls hanging from trees. If you have always found puppets to be freaking scary and Chuckie or Annabelle are one of your horror icons, this island is the best place in the world to get your hair standing on end on the final week of October.

The story goes that one day the island’s former caretaker, Don Julian Santana, found the body of a young girl floating in the water. Later, Julian saw a floating doll at the same place. Most probably, the doll belonged to the girl and he thought it might be possessed by the girl’s spirit, so he picked up the doll and hung it to a tree as a mark of respect for the dead child.

Living like a hermit, the man spent his life paying girl’s tribute by collecting and hanging as many dolls as he could, in order to appease the restless spirit of the child.

Most of the dolls he hung up he had found in the labyrinthine canals or in the trash. He didn't fix them up or clean them, so the broken, often decapitated or empty-eyed dolls make the general view even more frightening.

However, Julian’s family considers the ghostly girl to be just a morbid imagination. They are convinced the island’s caretaker was marked by the fact that he was not able to save the little girl’s life.

After 50 years of collecting dolls and hanging them on the island, Julian was found dead, drowned in the same spot where the girl did. The locals believe that Julian has joined the other spirits of the island.

Many Mexicans believe that the Isla de Las Munecas is a charmed place. After Julian’s death in 2001, it has become a tourist attraction, where visitors bring more dolls.

To get there,  intrepid travelers should take a planeto Mexico City. Tours leave from the Belem Pier in Xochimilco or from Cuamenco Pier. You can also take a ferry from Embarcadero Cuemanco or from Embarcadero Fernando Celada. If you take a trajinera directly to the island, the trip shouldn’t last more than two hours depending on your departure point.