La Isla de las Muñecas: the Eerie Legend of Mexico’s Island of the Dolls

The Island of the Dolls, or Isla de las Munecas, is a small, remote island located just 28 kilometers south of Mexico City. Despite its close proximity to the bustling city, the island has become known for its eerie and macabre legend, attracting curious visitors from all over the world.

Creepy doll island, dolls hanging  at Xochimilco, Mexico.

Creepy doll island, dolls hanging at Xochimilco, Mexico.
Photo by

The legend of Island of the Dolls

The story of La Isla de las Muñecas is tied to Don Julian Santana Barrera, a resident of Xochimilco, Mexico City. In the mid-20th century, he left his family and moved to an island on Teshuilo Lake, for unclear reasons. However, it became apparent that he was not mentally stable. After settling in, he found the body of a drowned girl and shortly after, a doll floated down the canal. He hung the doll in a tree to appease the girl’s spirit and for the next 50 years, he collected dolls from the trash and canals, hanging them in various states of disrepair throughout the island.

The reality of the drowned girl is questioned, with some, including Don Julian’s family, doubting her existence. Nevertheless, Don Julian dedicated the rest of his life to her. In 2001, he was found drowned in the same canal where he claimed to have seen the girl. This led to tourists visiting the island and hanging dolls in tribute to both Don Julian and the girl. It is now a popular stop on tours of the ancient Aztec canals.

Getting there

The strange legend of Isla de las Munecas, 28 km south of Mexico City, remains a source of fascination. Take a ferry from Embarcedero Cuemanco or Embarcadero Fernando Celada for a 4-hour round trip. Not all tours include a visit, so confirm before boarding.

Parque Ecológico De Xochimilc
Mexico City

  1. November 18, 2012
    • December 12, 2017
  2. June 22, 2013
  3. February 21, 2019

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *