Summer in the Mexican Caribbean is amazing in many regards. Perfect weather, gorgeous beaches and all inclusive resorts, including the Barceló Maya Grand Resort (comprised of Barceló Maya Beach, Barceló Maya Caribe, Barceló Maya Colonial, Barceló Maya Tropical and Barceló Maya Palace), Royal Hideaway Playacar, Occidental at Xcaret Destination, and Occidental Cozumel and Allegro Cozumel. But it’s also a great time for Mexican Caribbean festivals and events that give travelers a glimpse of authentic Mexican culture. Here are just a few events you don’t want to miss.
Sacred Mayan Journey
Where: Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and Xcaret
What: Want to travel back in time? The Sacred Mayan Journey (Travesia Sagrada Maya) in Quintana Roo, Mexico is your best bet. The interactive cultural festival is a multi-day reenactment of the ancient pilgrimage made by the Mayan people from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel. It was a 36-mile journey that brave souls 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.
La Fête de la Musique
Where: Playa del Carmen
What: Kick of summer officially in June with La Fête de la Musique, one of the many extremely fun Mexican Caribbean festivals that take place every year. Organized by the French Consulate in Playa del Carmen, the festival offers a c’est magnifique evening of live music, French cuisine, fine wine and good times. Pack your beret and get in on the action! Added bonus: all proceeds go towards a local charity.
Whale Shark Festival
Where: Isla Mujeres
What: Did you know: whale sharks are the world’s largest fish, growing up to 40 feet long and 47,000 pounds! And if you’re visiting the Mexican Caribbean from June through September, you can experience these incredible creatures in their natural setting. The best way to do it? The Whale Shark Festival, of course. Located off the coast of Quintana Roo, Mexico, the beautiful Isla Mujeres is home to the largest population of Whale Sharks in the world. And these gentle giants are celebrated every summer. Over the course of several days, you’ll have the chance to swim (in a respectful way) with whale sharks, join in traditional dancing, enjoy local food and work by local artisans and snorkel and dive the incredible reefs surrounding the Island
More Info: www.whalesharkfest.com
Mexican Independence Day
Where: Throughout Mexico
What: Never mind Cinco de Mayo – Mexican Independence Day (Dia del Independencia) is when Mexico really celebrates. Commemorating the momentous day when priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla called on Mexicans to rise up against the colonial government of Spain in 1810, Mexican Independence Day is celebrated each year on September 15-16. You’ll enjoy a colorful parade, mariachi bands, a festive fiesta and deliciously authentic eats. (Mexican Independence Day Tip: Don’t miss the Chiles en Nogada, a stuffed poblano, walnut cream and pomegranate dish that is a Dia del Independencia favorite.) Guests also have easy access to the celebrations taking place in Playa del Carmen – the famed Fifth Avenue overflows with revelers, and the park in front of City Hall (between 8th St and 10th St and 15th Avenue and 25th Avenue) is the site of the official Independence Day festival.
Festival of Saint Peter and Saint Paul (Día de San Pedro y San Pablo)
What: Experience one of the most fascinating religious Mexican Caribbean festivals in Cozumel, celebrated every year at the end of June. The Festival of Saint Peter and Saint Paul is held in honor of two of the most important Christian saints. The event usually features a family friendly fair, with great food, carnival rides, fireworks and much more. There’s also a gotta-see-it traditional spectacle known as the “Dance of the Pig’s Head.”
Autumn Equinox Festival
Where: Chichen Itza
What: One of the original Mexican Caribbean festivals? In some ways, it’s true. The Mayan people celebrated the end of summer each year at the city of Chichen Itza, via a remarkable feat of astrological genius. Right around the first day of fall, the setting sun casts a shadow upon the iconic Pyramid of Kukulcan or Kukulkan. It creates the illusion of an enormous snake slithering down the staircase. Then, the shadow meets up with a sizable stone serpent head at the foot of the pyramid. It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see this ancient ritual take place. And today, the occasion is marked by a fun festival, with light shows, live music, and traditional food and drink
Mexican Caribbean festivals are guaranteed to make your summer vacation even brighter. Plan to visit during one of these incredibly fun events in Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Xcaret and beyond.