Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is excited to kick off the 8th annual Sacred Mayan Journey this May.
This Xcaret-organized event is a recreation of the ritual pilgrimage undertaken by the ancient Maya who would cross the Caribbean Sea from Cancun to Cozumel in order to worship Ixchel, goddess of fertility.
As the sun rises, 35 canoes carrying 350 oarsmen and women will depart from ancient Polé, now known as Xcaret, and travel 17 miles in open waters to Kuzamil, present day Cozumel. Due to the Caribbean Sea´s strong currents, it takes around six to seven hours to reach the island; a task not for the faint of heart. All participants begin rowing, swimming and strength training months prior to this reenactment as they need to be in top physical condition to complete the journey. Once they disembark in Chankannab Park in Cozumel, the islanders will welcome the oarsmen with ceremonial dances and music. At night, they will visit the sanctuary and present offerings to Ixchel in the form of fruit, corn and copal. At dawn, the oarsmen will gather at the shore of Cozumel to cross the Caribbean Sea back to Xcaret.
Tourists who visit Cancun during this time will not only be there to cheer the rowers on as they depart, but will also be able to visit a Mayan pre-Hispanic interactive market and be fully immersed in Mayan lore and culture. This market blends the colors, aromas and flavors of the Maya into one place and offers visitors a chance to live the way the Mayans did, even if only for a few hours. Guests will exchange their dollars for cocoa beans – the ancient Mayan form of currency – and be able to purchase handicrafts and other homemade goods from the Mayan people that live in the surrounding area. Articles like homemade jewelry, food, clothing and other local items can be purchased.
This ancient journey transports guests back to the Mayan civilization of the 11th and 16th centuries and showcases the courage of ancient seamen, whose trade routes contributed to the Mayan civilization’s glorious final days in the Yucatan Peninsula.
As the most popular international destination for American travelers and one of the most visited by Canadians, Cancun continues to increase its focus on its Mayan and Mexican heritage. With new exhibitions at the Cancun Maya Museum and the recently inaugurated Xoximilco Cancun attraction, the destination continues to share a piece of its culture and ancient Mayan roots with the millions of guests it welcomes every year.