The odyssey of the Mayan Culture

Cancun and the Riviera Maya are full of Traditions that you need to experience like the Chichen Itza Equinox, The Life and Death festival and of course the one we are going to be talking about today the Sacred Mayan Journey.


The History of the Sacred Mayan Journey

This odyssey goes back to the Ancient Mayan Culture, and the documented drawings found, who had the tradition of honoring Ixchel, the Mayan Goddess of Fertility, who was believed that on that date delivered a special message to the people.

The journey started at Ppolé port which translates from Mayan as ¨merchandise¨ to Kuzamil (now known as Cozumel ) in Canopies filled with women and little girls, that had offerings in place for the Goddess, in exchange for being blessed and fertile. Women travel this journey twice in their lifetime. Once as a child with her mother, and the second as a grown up with their daughter.

Ixchel is the Mayan Goddess of the moon, water, fertility and love, the most powerful and beautiful Goddess, through the same time frame it was represented as a polifacetic woman, sometimes as an old lady, others as a young one holding a rabbit.

For the Mayan, crossing the sea, meant going into the underworld or Xibalba, and arriving at land again was viewed as a rebirth, and the offerings were provided to the temple, in exchange for a message from her.

New times to honor

Preparing for the Mayan Journey in Cancun

Since 2006 the tradition has come to life once again, with a little twist. On the honoring ceremony.

More than 300 men and women embark on this journey on a canoe from Xcaret to Cozumel Island and back again the next day at dawn, with a total distance of 34 nautical miles.

There is a selection process, where everybody can sign up, but only the best can continue. With different trials to be held over Cancun and the Mayan Riviera. To see who can endure this epic trip.

Path to the day

This is not an easy task as this men and women, train for at least 6 months, to endure the problems they could face over the sea, once they have finished this training they will be known as the messengers of the moon.

This voyage will allow them to prove they can work as a team, and that they have the mental and physical condition to complete the task. Achieving control mind over the body during their adventure.

The Canoes initially where made of Wood, but weighted more than 1900 pounds, so for the last 5 years they are made from Fiberglass making it more eco-friendly, and lightweight, around 700 pounds.

There is a tradition, that each Canoer, will Fabric their own paddle, made of pich wood, with precise specifications on the same, and that it could vary from 1 pound to 3 pounds, depending on their preferences on length, height and gross.

They will travel with offerings for the Goddess, in search of the divine message for mankind.


Mayan Traditional Events in Cancun

Every year this event takes place in May, but the dates change slightly, this year it was on the 17th and 18th. Where thousands of people gather to see this accomplishment.

The event is a recreation of the Mayan Culture that includes Departure and arrival rituals, dances, and Chaman Ceremonies in both ends.

On the 17th a master of ceremony recited quotes from the Popol Vuh, while several dancers perform a ritual in the background creating an atmosphere of pureness, with the first lights of the day, and all the spectators dressed in white.

Each Canopy has 10 people, each with a designated role in it, the front one is the helmsman, guiding the path of the ship, then 4 groups of 4 rowers, that have to follow the rhythm, and in the end we have the second helmsman that has to lay a path handling the water currents, and acts as a lifeguard to make sure that everyone is safe.

In Cozumel, the chosen ones will be greeted by the Xamanhá Batab at Chankanaab Park, the festivity is waiting for them, and half of the victory has been fulfilled after 6 hours on the open sea. The locals from the village will also have a party in their honor, and give them food and fresh water to thirst their quench after the long ride.


he ceremony and dance to give the offerings to mother Ixchel will take place after a few minutes in the chankanaab temple Called San Gervasio.

The journey back to Xcaret with the message from the Oracle continued on the 18th, as the Canoers travel from the Island, sailing with the wind in their backs, the trip is only 4 hours long this time. They had a welcome party, to receive the message form Ixchel.

This is the recap of my adventurous trip to the Mayan Riviera and its culture, something you really need to enjoy on your next visit to the Solaris Resorts, just make sure to find out which events are going on the same time you're here.