The Sacred Mayan Journey (Travesia Sagrada Maya) in Quintana Roo, Mexico is your best bet for pure Mayan immersion. The festival is a multi-day reenactment of the ancient pilgrimage made by the Mayan people from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel, a 36-mile journey made in hand-carved canoes, which they undertook to consult the oracle of Ix Chel, the goddess of fertility. The event concludes with a grand return to Xcaret, the site of the Mayan city of Pole. The Sacred Mayan Journey is an experience like no other, celebrating the region’s deep Mayan roots, myths, heritage, and history.
The 12th annual Sacred Mayan Journey takes place at the end of May 2018, with connected events taking place in the days before and after. The best way to get in on the action? Several of Barceló Hotel Group’s all-inclusive properties in the area provide luxury accommodations and amenities suitable for all tastes, giving travelers the perfect vantage point from which to enjoy this incredible annual event.
The Sacred Mayan Journey celebration begins with a pilgrimage to Xcaret. Throughout the night at Xcaret Park, guests participate in rituals and supplications to Ix Chel, as they wait for the first rays of dawn when they send the canoes off to Cozumel. There’s also a fascinating Mayan marketplace, or Kíi´wik, which features vendors selling all kinds of traditional goods and food. The Occidental at Xcaret Destination, located right at the edge of Xcaret Park, offers a great way to enjoy the festivities with convenience. Another nearby option is the Barceló Maya Grand Resort on Riviera Maya, including Barceló Maya Beach, Barceló Maya Caribe, Barceló Maya Colonial and Barceló Maya Tropical.
The village of Xamanhá (current day Playa del Carmen) was an important port for the Mayan pilgrimages for more than 1,000 years – and it remains a wonderful destination for Sacred Mayan Journey experiences. It’s here that the colorfully costumed pilgrims – made up of volunteers from Italy, Canada, Brazil, Spain, Argentina and, of course, Mexico – depart in their canoes for Cozumel. The adults-only Royal Hideaway Playacar is a perfect homebase for the festivities, giving you easy access to the action. You can even follow the canoers on their journey across the waters via ferry, about a 45-minute trip.
Guests of the all-inclusive Occidental Cozumel can relive this ancient tradition by experiencing the incredible spectacle of more than 400 canoers arriving and departing from the beautiful Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park. Here, offerings are made to the goddess, who sends a message back to the inhabitants of Mayan lands. At Occidental Cozumel you’ll also enjoy an array of cultural events and activities surrounding the Sacred Mayan Journey, such as Mayan botanical tours, Mayan lessons, a Pre-Hispanic night show on the beach and authentic Yucatan food tastings.