lifestyle, travel This is Cozumel

Only a week remains until an amazing three-day reenactment brings to life the ancient, mystical journey said to have been taken by the Maya, in their quest to pay tribute to the goddess Ix Chel in Cozumel.

Hundreds of paddlers in canoes will take part in the 9th Mayan Sacred Journey, or Travesía Sagrada Maya, on May 22 and 23, 2015.

On May 22 the crossing will start early in the morning with the first rays of sun. Depending on sea conditions, the 30 mile paddle is expected to take 7 to 8 hours, after which they will arrive tired but happy to Chankanaab Park in Cozumel.

The following day, they have another early start. This time it's to paddle back from Chankanaab to the mainland on a shorter and more direct 19 mile route that should take 4 to 6 hours.

Once back on the mainland they will be met by rapturous applause from the huge crowd that awaits them.

The modern Mayan Sacred Journey began in 2007 and sought to reawaken interest from locals and educate visitors about this ancient culture.

It relives a pilgrimage thought to have first been undertaken by the Maya thousands of years ago, before becoming a more established ritual some 500 years ago.

Legend has it that people from all around the Yucatan Peninsula used to cross to Cozumel once a year from harbors such as Polé and Xamanhá, today known as Xcaret and Playa del Carmen.

Once on the island, they would receive a message from the goddess Ix Chel, which was delivered by a priest and taken back to the mainland to guide how communities should live.

The modern representations of the sacred event provide not only a fascinating glimpse of the region's ancient history, but also an important economic boost for tourism.

Visit the Sacred Mayan Crossing website in English for more details or see our tourist information section for more about Cozumel events.