The Island of the Dolls, Xochimilco, Mexico
Dark and disturbing, La Isla de las Munecas is no place to visit alone. Located not far from the pulsing heart of chaotic Mexico City, the island couldn’t be more eerie. Dismembered dolls hang from the trees here and the feeling that you’re being watched is impossible to shake. It’s hard to believe that people choose to travel here. It’s not a tourist attraction that we’d recommend.
The dolls were first hung here by Julian Santana Barrera, the island’s troubled former caretaker. Legend has it that he discovered a girl, drowned in the canals of Xochimico, a doll floating alongside her, prompting him to preserve it in order to appease her spirit. He dedicated the remainder of his life to salvaging discarded and damaged dolls and hanging them from the trees — a practice he continued until he too drowned. Since then, unknown individuals have continued his work and severed limbs are all around. Planning a visit? Be sure to take a friend.