Sacred Mayan Journey: Cosmos Renewed

“Townsfolk of Pole celebrate the new cosmic order 

because today we are sons of the same sacred tree” 

Faithful to our love of Mexican traditions, and as proud advocates of the Maya culture, for 16 years Grupo Xcaret has embraced the Sacred Mayan Journey and made it one of our most important dates. 

The representation of this ancient Maya religious tradition had been lost over the centuries, since the Spanish Conquest, and it was not until 2006 that it had a new commemoration, with the full support of Grupo Xcaret. 

One of the most significant elements of the Sacred Mayan Journey is its starting point: the ancient port of Pole, which today is the cove area of Xcaret Park. As part of the traditions directed to the goddess Ixchel, whose temple was (and has remained there to this day) on the island of Cozumel, a group of pilgrims made a difficult canoe journey to bring offerings, thank her for favors or ask for her blessing. . 

People of coastal towns such as Xaman-Há, Xcalacoco and Akumal used to gather in Pole and, starting at dawn, carried out various preparations for the canoers, in addition to taking advantage of the time and place to trade a wide variety of products. 

After dancing as a symbol of farewell to the sailors, the trip started at dawn, and took around eight hours to arrive to Cozumel, where they spent the night worshiping and asking for favors from Ixchel. 

The next day, they set out back to Pole in the morning, carrying Ixchel’s message back to her families and communities. 

From historical research to a participatory reality 

Upon resolving to pay homage and represent this tradition as closely as possible to the historical reality, historian Carlos Serrano, researcher Hugo Rojas, who was also the director of the first edition, and architect Miguel Quintana Pali took on the task to thoroughly study the entire ritual and to prepare a huge logistical task to make it happen. 

Of course, this feat could not be carried out without the talent of the local community, who undergo a hard training to learn how to row, work as a team, overcome adverse conditions and overcome their fears. For the dozens of volunteers who have made this event a personal challenge, the physical and mental change has given them a new perspective on life and have since been conquering ever greater challenges. 

The Sacred Mayan Journey is made up of more than 500 members that cater to the artistic aspect of the experience, with an equally large logistics team to set up the sets, prepare choreographies, make costumes, train the participants, take care of their safety on the day of the event and much more. 

How to participate in the event? 

Although the canoe positions are assigned to the local community after a meticulous selection process, the entrance is open to the general public to observe the pre-departure ceremonies, bid farewell to the canoeists and even trade with the merchants using cacao seeds, in an event that starts at 4:00 am. Likewise, they can return to welcome the canoeists at the end of the Journey. 

If your next vacation at Hoteles Xcaret coincides with the dates of the Sacred Mayan Journey, don’t forget to ask your Concierge how to participate in this emblematic tradition.