The Sacred Mayan Journey, or the Travesía Sagrada Maya 2019, takes place this year on May 17 and 18. This is a wonderful event full of history and ceremony, though not often found in your Cozumel guidebooks!
The Sacred Mayan Journey, or Sacred Crossing, re-enacts an annual Mayan offering ritual, from pre-Hispanic times. According to legend, various goods were traded and gathered on the mainland market. These tributes were then loaded into canoes for the yearly pilgrimage to the goddess Ixtel, located on Kuzumil. The Mayan word for today’s Cozumel Island.
Mainland Ceremony in Playa del Carmen
The cultural amusement park Xcaret is the mainland home to the Travesía 2019. Xcaret’s website provides a great deal of information about the tradition, as well as the events and schedule taking place. If you are in Playa del Carmen on May 17th, 2019, be sure to visit Xcaret for that part of the event!
Welcome the Mayan Travelers to Cozumel
After leaving Playa del Carmen, the participants in the Travesía row the traditional canoes all the way over to Cozumel’s Chankanaab Beach and Park. This journey can take many hours, depending on the weather and water conditions in Cozumel.
Once they arrive, they disembark and the Cozumel crowd can get a great chance to see their traditional garb, as well as the fascinating boats, up close. Here is an image from a previous year’s ceremony at Chankanaab:
Ceremonial re-enactment of Sacred Mayan Crossing
How to Watch the Ceremony in Cozumel
In 2019, the Sacred Mayan Crossing will take place on May 17 and 18. The participants gather early on the mainland in Playa del Carmen on May 17. Once prepared, they will launch the canoes for the difficult crossing to Cozumel’s western shore. The boats arrive at Chankanaab Park at approximately 1-2pm, though the exact timing is obviously difficult to pinpoint.
For that reason, spectators (and photographers!) in Cozumel should get to Chankanaab early! Best to make a day of it, and enjoy all of the park’s other features and attractions. Then, witnessing the arrival and subsequent (informal) show of the participants and their Mayan garb, etc. is free with your regular park admission fees – more info found here.
It’s a great day at the beach, and one of the coolest cultural happenings in Cozumel. So whether you’re in Playa del Carmen or Cozumel in May, don’t miss the Travesía Sagrada Maya 2019!