lifestyle, travel This is Cozumel

With reenactments of sacred canoe journeys; a center that recreates ancient traditions; and romantic spiritual ceremonies and workshops, Mayan culture is enjoying a reawakening of interest from visitors to the island.

Mayans have been living in this part of the world for over 4,000 years and form an integral part of the history of Cozumel and the whole of the south-east of Mexico. Their traditions are fascinating, their past is intriguing, and tourists are becoming more and more aware of this sophisticated civilization.

This week saw the 13th annual canoe crossing from the mainland to Cozumel and back, with hundreds of paddlers recreating a pilgrimage that Mayans are thought to have first made about 1,000 years ago. Originally born out of historical fascination, the event fast became a big draw for visitors to the region and is now enjoyed by thousands of people every year.

On the island itself, the Mayan Encounter at a replica village is an increasingly popular, yet authentic, experience, allowing the visitor to feel like a real Mayan on an interactive encounter where the rich local history and culture is laid out before them.

It is not a superficial Mayan theme-park but a fun, hands-on experience designed by experts in pre-Hispanic Mexico who have a desire to share their knowledge.

Romantic couples looking for something original can also now enjoy the Mayan spiritual touch, with special wedding ceremonies and vow renewals held by a shaman on the beach, following ancient principles and using smoke and conch shell horns.

Come November, interest shifts to the Day of the Dead, and its lesser known Mayan precursor, Hanal Pixan. The Mayan celebration and commemoration of ancestors fused with the Catholic traditions of the Spanish invaders to create the Day of the Dead, as it is known today. The increased desire of visitors for authentic experiences led to the creations of Hanal Pixan workshop tours in Cozumel, held in October and November, where participants learn about the rich history of the Mayan event and the more modern Day of the Dead.

If you are the sort of traveler who likes to immerse yourself in local culture and history, then make sure you look up these activities when you are in Cozumel. There are many reasons the Mayans have been so successful for thousands of years, and locals are ready to share them with you.

Find out more and book all Mayan-related activities on our website here.