In pre-Hispanic times, the Maya from all over the peninsula came to Xcaret, then called Pole, to fast and purify themselves in its waters. They left at dawn on long boats made of trees from the jungle. The Caribbean Ocean was very important in Maya culture, because it was considered as a source of food, transportation, and, like the cenotes, it was the entrance to Xibalba, the underworld. Thus, the sea journey implied a transition to the afterlife. The destination was Cozumel, where they made an offering to Ixchel, goddess of the earth, fertility, sexual love and marine waters. In exchange for the offering, she gave a message to the boatmen, who in turn passed it on to their people in their villages.
The Sacred Maya Journey, which takes place today, is a reenactment of that crossing, based on codices, Spanish chronicles and oral history collected by INAH. Xcaret, the Riviera Maya and Cozumel participate in this reenactment, which is carried out on small boars with six people and lasts a whole night. It takes place between May and June and is accompanied by rituals, dance and music the Mayans offer to Ixchel. The final show, held in Chankanaab, Cozumel, is a great production during which Ixchel speaks an oracle referring to taking care of the environment. On average, you will see 35 boats with over 330 oarsmen, all of them inhabitants of nearby villages and proud to continue with this millenary tradition. Reward their efforts by clapping and shouting your support, as well as inviting all of your friends to come and admire this celebration which, year after year, achieves more domestic and international importance.
You and your family can enjoy this amazing event every year in the Xel-Ha and Xcaret parks, located on the shores of the Mexican Caribbean, on the Route of the Maya Charm.
Enjoy an amazing snorkeling paradise with fun activities and over 30 attractions in Xel-Ha; witness an amazing display of folklore and music with over 300 artists in the “Xcaret Spectacular Mexico” show, and over 40 attractions, in addition to music and ceremonies declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.