I don’t know about you, but to me, old, mutilated dolls might be one of the scariest things you could find. Now imaging finding yourself on an island completely covered by them. In the creepiest destination we’ve explored so far, we’re now heading into the land of disturbing, possible haunted, dolls.

La Isla de las Muñecas

Spanish for The Island of the Dolls, this island is located in Mexico City, in the channels of Xochimilco. A series of canals flow through many different islands, and after about an hour-long canal ride you’ll find yourself at creepy capital.

This island was originally owned and occupied by Don Julián Santana. In the 1950s, Santana found a young woman who had drowned in the canal. Floating next to her was a doll.

Out of respect for the woman, Santana decided to hang her doll up on a tree. Reportedly, that’s when strange things started happening.

Some of the dolls on Doll Island. By Px-lga – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Upsetting the Spirits

He began to hear whispers, wails, footsteps and knocking, even in his hut on the isolated island. He even heard crying and a young woman’s voice talking to him. Frightened that he upset the spirits, he began to hang up many more dolls all over his hut and the island.

He would collect any and every doll he could get his hands on. His collection grew, finding dolls in the canals, garbage, even trading produce for more dolls. Most of these were dirty, mutilated, missing limbs or eyes, yet he hung them as they were.

Terrified of the spirits that now haunted him, he became obsessed and dedicated the next 50 years of his life to collecting and hanging the dolls. He believed the dolls to have been beautiful protectors of him and his home.

The Death of Don Julián Santana

Ready for the story to get even more disturbing? In 2001, Santana was found lying face down in the canal. Reportedly, he had drowned in the exact spot he found the young woman 50 years prior.

Locals believed that he had been viciously killed by the evil dolls and spirits.


Since 2001, the island has become popular for both locals and foreign tourists. People that visit have conflicting reports and opinions of the dolls. Some claim the island is charming and peaceful. Others, feel a supernatural presence and strange phenomena such as the flickering of lights and strange noises.

It is unclear how many dolls there are, but estimates say into the thousands. Nowadays, it is common for visitors to bring dolls to hang and add to the collection of protectors.

To visit the island, you must travel about 17 miles south of Mexico City. The only way to get access is to start from Embarcadero Cuemanco, and take an hour-long boat ride through the canals. It will cost about $65 USD ($1,4000 MEX), although many boat rowers refuse to go due to superstitions.

If you do decide to go, be ready for eerie silence, water snakes, many fish lizards and birds, and of course thousands of dolls. Be careful, who knows what spirits and dolls are truly capable of (looking at you, Chucky).