Frequently asked questions about the Sacred Journey of Xcaret

May 08, 2023

Everything you need to know about this event in Playa del Carmen  

Tribute to the pre-Hispanic goddess Ixchel  

The Sacred Journey is very close. The canoeists will journey across the Caribbean Sea toward the island of Cozumel. Here they will visit the oracle of the goddess Ixchel, just as the region's ancient inhabitants did in a rite over 500 years old.  

Here we answer frequently asked questions about the Sacred Journey.

1.- What is the Sacred Journey?  

The Sacred Journey is a journey through time that connects us with our culture. An ancient Mayan tradition where brave canoeists brave the Caribbean Sea, crossing from the port of Polé (now Xcaret) to Chankanaab on the island of Cozumel to bring offerings to the goddess Ixchel, a Mayan deity associated with the moon and fertility.  


2.- When is the Sacred Journey?  

Every year, this event is held in May. On this occasion in 2023, the dates are May 12 and 13.  

It is important to note that in some years, the dates have had to change due to weather and tide-related causes since, for safety reasons, canoeists cannot make the crossing without the permission of the Navy.  


3.- What time should I arrive?  

Activities begin at 4:15 am. We recommend arriving early to appreciate the entire event.  

At 5:30 am is the departure of canoeists from Xcaret Park. Their arrival in Cozumel depends significantly on the tide and takes approximately 4 hours, arriving at Cozumel at about 1:00 pm. And their return to Xcaret is the next day in the morning.  


4.- Where are the crossing rituals performed?  

The Sacred Journey initiation rituals occur at Xcaret Park, 20 minutes from downtown Playa del Carmen on the Riviera Maya in Mexico.   

The first phase of the Sacred Journey ends at Chaankanaab Park, located on Cozumel Island, and from there, they sail back to Xcaret.  


 5.- Why is the Sacred Journey made?  

The Sacred Journey aims to preserve a pre-Hispanic ancestral tradition and strengthen the native culture of the region, promoting sustainable tourism development by promoting one of the most critical events in Playa del Carmen.  

This event also helps to promote local culture and invites the community to preserve the pride of the original culture of the Yucatan Peninsula.  


6.- How many editions of the Sacred Journey have there been?  

The Sacred Journey has become a tradition; there have been 15 editions. The first Sacred Journey had the participation of 25 canoeists who crossed the Caribbean Sea in 5 canoes. This year 349 canoeists are expected in 35 canoes. 


If you want to attend to say goodbye and welcome the canoeists:   

7.- Can I go to see the crossing, and what is the cost?   

Yes! It is included in your Xcaret ticket. You can attend the event with the Xcaret Basic or Xcaret Plus ticket. You can also participate in the canoeists' free arrival to Cozumel at Chankanaab Natural Park.    

The event is open to the public; just pick up the bracelets to access Chankanaab to enjoy the representation of the reception and farewell of the navigators.    

You can request the bracelets at the foundation of parks and museums on the island of Cozumel, located at Av. Pedro Joaquin Coldwell #70 col. Cozumel, Quintana Roo, from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Monday to Friday.   

You must present your credentials from the foundation or a valid official I.D. proving you are a Cozumelian.   


8.- What is the meaning of the Sacred Journey ritual?   

The Sacred Journey recreates an ancient ritual performed by the pre-Hispanic people of the Ekab region, the eastern part of the Yucatan Peninsula. In it, they pay tribute to the goddess Ixchel, associated with fertility and the moon. Evidence shows that this ancient rite occurred between 1250 and 1519 A.D.  

If you want to participate as a canoeist:

9.- How can I register to participate in the Sacred Journey?    

The call for entries begins in September; registration is through the Sacred Journey website    

There are swimming and physical evaluation tests. Once registered and with the tests passed, training begins.   


10.- What are the requirements to participate in the Sacred Journey?   

Among the requirements to be part of this event as a canoeist are: To be older than 18 and younger than 65, to reside in the area, and to comply with the physical conditioning tests.   


11.- What do canoeists do?   

The canoeists are a fundamental part of the Sacred Journey, as they are the ones who condition themselves physically and mentally for the crossing to the island of Cozumel and back.   

During the training sessions, they learn theory on paddling, rescue, and water rescue techniques; integration of the canoeist in the dynamics of a canoe; marine vocabulary, knot, and rudder technique; as well as talks on the historical importance of the Sacred Journey and the commercial routes that the ancient inhabitants of the region used to take.   


12.- When does Sacred Journey's training begin?   

Training begins in November. Canoeists will learn about canoe navigation, first aid, physical exercise, and the foods they can eat during the trials and long crossings.  

13.- What does the training for canoeists consist of?   

During the first months, functional physical exercises mixed with swimming and flexibility. The program's objectives focus on developing the physical abilities and qualities to obtain the best performance for paddling and steering.   

For more information, visit the Sacred Journey website


Join us in this event, where we honor this essential ancestral tradition.  

Siempre con la cámara en mano viendo la vida a través del lente. Amante de los conciertos y las palomitas del cine.


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