A legacy that goes beyond time

The Sacred Mayan Journey


The sun is about to rise in Xcaret which indicates that it is time for 300 hearts to row against the current and the sun to bring the message of Ixchel in this 11th Sacred Mayan Journey.

For the Mayans, daring to carry out this great journey implied a risk, a type of personal transformation that from a religious standpoint meant a transition to the afterlife.



In this the 11th Sacred Mayan Journey, the oarsmen are preparing these last days for the great crossing, rowing with faith reviving this millenary tradition. After six months of arduous training, more than 300 oarsmen volunteers will cross the open sea from Xcaret to Cozumel departing this May 26th. They will then return the same route back to Xcaret on May 27th, keeping alive–with every stroke of the water–the legacy of the great Mayans.

A Journey into the Past

More than a thousand years ago in the Mayan world, the ancient civilization performed annual rituals in honor of Ixchel, goddess of fertility, health, water, vegetation, painting and weaving. The chosen warriors took the message of the corn across the ocean to the island of Cozumel in order to worship the goddess and return with the message of the oracle to their villages.




The blue turquoise of the Caribbean Sea was of great importance to the Mayan culture because just as it was a source of food and transport, it was also a source of devastation and destruction. Like the cenotes of the region, the ocean was considered an entrance to Xibalba, the Mayan underworld. For the brave messengers of the Sacred Mayan Journey, crossing the sea was like entering the thresholds of the gods, it was a feat to enter into the sacred.

Nowadays, the oarsmen are motivated by different, personal reasons that push them to row towards the horizon a total of 62.6 kilometers (38.6 miles) on the route Xcaret-Cozumel-Xcaret.




The Sacred Mayan Journey is far more relevant than rowing on a canoe. The most beautiful thing about it is the story behind it. If you want to know more about this story, you must read: Discovering the Secrets of the Mayan Navigation. 

A legacy that goes beyond time



The recreation of the Sacred Mayan Journey is to remember and venerate the past, reviving an ancient practice to learn from this civilization. Through music, dance and sport, the great Mayan journey form a crucial tie across several levels in the community while it incentives cultural tourism in a local, national and international level highlighting the richness of a tradition of past and present Mexico.