Ten Successful Years of the Sacred Mayan Journey, with Over 2,500 Canoers Participating

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More than 540 days of training, 80 hours of navigation and a journey of 360 miles during the event’s ten years.

After months of rigorous training, canoers came to Xcaret Park May 20-21 to join in the park’s 10th annual Sacred Mayan Journey, a 36-mile trip that tested them physically, mentally and emotionally as they journeyed from the park to the island of Cozumel in recognition of a centuries-old tradition.

A total of 2,596 canoers have trained for the event through its 10-year history, in total completing more than 540 days and 80 hours of canoeing while crossing from Xcaret to Cozumel and back.

During the 2016 event, canoers departed the port of Polé at 6 a.m. May 20 on Dos Playas Bay in Xcaret. They arrived at Kuzamil at approximately 1 p.m. in the cove of Chankanaab Park in Cozumel. They left the island at 9 a.m. May 21 for a four-hour return to Polé (Xcaret), where they were greeted with great enthusiasm.

The Sacred Mayan Journey is rooted in rich cultural customs. During the Late Post-Classic (900-1,550 A.D.), various peoples of the Mayan community came to the port of Polé, present-day Xcaret, for commercial and trading purposes. This place also served as the rallying point for crossing to the island of Kuzamil, today Cozumel, to visit the temple of the goddess Ixchel.

Canoers who accept the challenge of crossing to the island of Cozumel to learn the ways of Ixchel have varied motivations, some to make a promise to the goddess seeking fertility or a partner, others to build teamwork, overcome fears or tackle adversity.

After conducting thorough research and documentation for more than three years, in coordination with prestigious bodies such as the Center for Mayan Studies, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and with the advice of specialists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History, Xcaret Park revived this tradition as the Sacred Mayan Journey in 2007. Since then, the journey has been performed year after year and brings a sense of pride to Quintana Roo and its inhabitants.



Xcaret is one of Mexico's ecotourism destinations located on the shore of the Caribbean Sea. There are three Underground Rivers surrounded by magnificent natural scenery. The area also features amazing marine and land species, protected by Xcaret’s conservation programs. More than 300 performers exhibit the history, culture and folklore of Mexico and delicious varieties of international cuisine are featured in the Park. Xcaret Park was recognized as the Best International Theme Park and the Best Water Park in the world by US travel agents, in the 2016 Travvy Travel Awards.

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Iliana Rodriguez
Experiencias Xcaret
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