Sacred Mayan Journey at Xcaret

Sacred Mayan Journey at Xcaret

Sacred Mayan Journey is a sacred ritual that has been proudly recreated in the last years in the Riviera Maya. 

It takes place in the month of May, before dawn at Xcaret Park at the Riviera Maya located in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico and this year I had the fortune to be invited to the ceremony.

It was wonderful to have witnessed this event at the fascinating Riviera Maya.

Canoes at the beach of Xcaret Park ready for the Mayan Journey in Mexico
The canoes are ready for the Journey.

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What is the Sacred Mayan Journey

The ancient Mayans performed this ritual thousands of years ago to worship the goddess Ixchel.

At that time, what we know today as the best park in Cancun, Xcaret Park was Polé, an old commercial port.  Kuzamil (today is known as Cozumel Island) was an important pilgrimage site.


The sacred Mayan Journey sign for the Mayan traditions in Cancun, Mexico
So excited to be part of the Mayan traditions.

The ancient pilgrims worship the goddess of the moon and fertility, Ixchel by paddling from Polé (Xcaret) to Kuzamil (Cozumel).

The event is very close to the Mayan history in terms of canoes, dance, music, sacrifice, and garments.

My experience of the Sacred Mayan Journey

The event begins at 4:30 in the morning, it is still dark in the port of Polé (Xcaret), Mexico.

You cross the park following the light of the torches until you get to the beach where the guests take their place.

Everybody is excited to witness the event, you feel like you go back on time.

The Mayan ceremony in Mexico
The stage is ready and everybody is excited.

Next, to the beach, there are small tents where you can buy delicious Mexican food and products that remind us of our ancestors.

More than 300 canoeists have been prepared for several months to make the brave journey.

One of the best things to do at Xcaret park is the Sacred Mayan Journey in Mexico
The ceremony begins at Xcaret.

Men and women of different ages will make the journey to preserve the tradition and the sacrifice to the goddess. The atmosphere smells like incense and pride to our ancestors.

Everything is ready and the ceremony begins, with dances, music and a wonderful show that takes you to the past.

The Mexican and Mayan traditions at The Sacred Mayan Journey in Xcaret Park, Cancun Mexico
They transport you to the past and make you part of it.

Then the canoeists appear, ready to undertake the spiritual and renewal journey to deliver the offerings to the goddess. You can see in their eyes the excitement and joy to begin the long journey.

The trip will take around 6 hours to get to Cozumel and they know that they can face even more challenges during the expedition.

The Dances at Xcaret, part of the ritual and the ceremony of The Sacred mayan Journey at Cancun, Mexico
The dancers at the ceremony.
Sacred Mayan Ceremony to preserved Mexican and Mayan traditions in Mexico at Xcaret Park
Beautiful traditions should be preserved.

The first rays of the sun emerge and with them the farewell of the canoeists; family, friends and every person wish them to arrive safely to Cozumel island. The Sacred Mayan Journey begins.

The Canoeists at the Journey

They start rowing and they know that the trip will be long and exhausting.

Sometimes the tide overturns the canoes, causing them to fall into the Caribbean. But this doesn’t stop them, they just continue the path.

Xcaret Mayan ritual ready for the journey begins to Cozumel Island, Mexico
The sunlight is here and the wind is blowing.

They have worked for months to make it possible. The canoeists are volunteers, who want to make the journey with a personal desire.

Even people over 60 years old manage to do it. They are people who earn respect and admiration, and every year, new people have the opportunity to realize the dream.

Mayan ritual and the canoes are ready for the Sacred Mayan Journey from Xcaret Park to Cozumel Island in Mexico
The Sacred Mayan ceremony is almost over.

The reception of the canoeists takes place in the Chankanaab Park in Cozumel Island, Mexico. After a few hours of multiple challenges, the canoeists finally arrive at their destination.

The goddess receives the offering and the people acclaim their arrival.

It’s time to rest because the trip isn’t over yet. The next day, they will leave again to Polé (Xcaret) carrying the message of the goddess Ixchel.

Canoeists at Xcaret ready for the adventure at The Sacred Mayan Journey at Xcaret Cancun, Mexico
The canoeists are ready for the journey.

So, after two days and paddling for more than 12 hours they return home and of course, they are received as they deserve.

There is a celebration at the beach of Xcaret to receive the brave canoeists who made the tradition possible this year.

Canoeists to the Sacred Mayan Journey, excited to begin the adventure to Cozumel Island, Mexico
You can see the excitement at their faces.
Canoeists at Xcaret park the beginning of The Sacred Mayan Journey, Cancun Mexico
It’s time to say goodbye and good luck!

Do you want to be part of the Sacred Mayan Journey

If you want to be part of this amazing event, you can do it as a guest or a canoeist.

If you want to witness this event, you can buy your admission ticket to the park for the day of the event and arrive at the time. After the event, you can enjoy the wonderful park. 

I have a post about the best of Xcaret Park, with all the things to do in this incredible Eco Park in Mexico.

The celebration begins as the wonderful event to enjoy in Mexico
The Sacred Mayan Journey begins.

In case you want to be part of the canoeists, you need to be between 18 and 65 years old, know how to swim in open waters, have respect for the Mayan culture and reside in Cancun, Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Tulum or Cozumel.

The canoeists and the beautiful restaurant at Xcaret Park in Cancun, Mexico
At the back one of the beautiful restaurants at Xcaret.


Beach to enjoy at Quintana Roo, Mexico
The marvelous beach at Xcaret.

It was an honor and a wonderful experience to have witnessed the Sacred Mayan Journey.

Thanks to the Xcaret Group for making these events and preserving our beautiful traditions.

Please share with people who love to Travel

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[…] Sacred Mayan Journey […]

1 year ago

This sounds like such an incredible experience. I am kind of jealous! I will have to add this to our bucket list. 🙂

1 year ago

Wow- so cool that you can watch this event or actually participate in it! What a truly unique experience that would be!

1 year ago

Oh I’m so excited of seeing this, cause soon I will be traveling to mexico and hopefully having these kinda interesting experiences. Loved the ceremony photos!

1 year ago

Still amazes me of the ritual of the countries, How they still retain and do the worship on their rituals. Lucky you experience one in Mexico.

1 year ago

Sounds like an awesome trip! I would love to try out the canoeing! Is there someone that shows you how to do it?

Zenja | Bearly Here
1 year ago

I’m really happy to see how in many places around the world old rituals are being brought to life; and I hope that most of the time it’s because they mean so much to locals, not because it attracts tourists. Very interesting read, thank you for sharing!

1 year ago

This sounds like a very exciting experience. You are so lucky to have witnessed it! It’s good that this kind of traditional rituals are preserved and passed on from one generation to the next. And, oh, that beach at Xcaret looks gorgeous!

1 year ago

What a fantastic experience and even better when everyone is able to participate in preserving the cultural elements. The beach is so inviting as well!

Smita Chandra
1 year ago

Fascinating! I had no idea about this local custom. Very interesting post and beautiful pictures!

1 year ago

I loved Mexico. I have been there some years ago and of course we went to Xcaret. Love all the Mexican history! That is impresive

1 year ago

What an experience- looks very beautiful and not somewhere I’ve seen that much info on!

1 year ago

Jealous, I love witnessing festivals and events like this and kudos to you for actually knowing what’s happening. Does this take place in other parts of Mexico? Or just unique to here? Just mentally preparing a Mexican itinerary for myself 🙂

Alan @

Looks incredible! I would definitely go as a caoneist!

1 year ago

What a wonderful ritual to have experienced and be involved in, loved your photos! thanks for sharing!

1 year ago

I have lived in Playa del Carmen for a couple of months but never visited Xcaret, even though it has very good recommendations! I think I’ll visit when I go back, I’m so in love with Mexico!

Sinjana Ghosh
1 year ago

This is such a visually stunning trip. love the experience you had

Alex Trembath
1 year ago

What a great way to experience a piece of history. I had never heard of this before? Really entertaining to read about you experience, I hope I can do it myself some day!

1 year ago

Mexico is one of the most beautiful country in America I guess. I would love to visit it again soon:)

1 year ago

Fascinating rituals of sacred Mayan journey. Its all about culture and traditions that make each community proud.

1 year ago

This sounds like such an incredible experience. I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time. Hope I get the chance to experience this one day

1 year ago

What an amazing experience – to witness another culture’s meaningful ceremony. I can’t imagine rowing for 12 hours! Great post 🙂

Alexander Popkov
1 year ago

Some old traditions and rituals is the thing, I like to witness and document. Would love to get there with my camera. How do people reach, when they are photographed?

Rajat Kumar
1 year ago

After looking at photos I can understand how exciting this journey would have been. Photos describe beauty of the place.

1 year ago

I always love to attend sacred and regional festivals and therefore Sacred Mayan journey looks interesting to me. Great to know about giving offerings to Goddess and it sounds similar to Indian customs. Though I can’t be canoeists but can be a guest to enjoy and feel all the spirituality over here.

1 year ago

This must have been such a special experience to be part of. I was in Mexico not too long about but didn’t do this. I hope to go back someday and take part. Thanks for sharing.

1 year ago

I am fascinated by the Mayan culture and what a great way to experience their tradition. The photos look amazing and I hope I can witness this ceremony someday.

Roxanne Weijer
1 year ago

Need to add this to my bucket list! So amazing!!

1 year ago

What a gorgeous post. Such a beautiful ritual to be a part of and amazing scenery to boot! Loooove your pictures!

Sherrie Fabrizi Allbritten

How did you get an invite to witness this? Lucky you- it looks like such a wonderful experience to be part of even if you are an observer.

1 year ago

You are so lucky to have been invited into such event. I have been a big fan of south american culture since a long time ago and have always dreamt of visiting Peru most of all. And for you to experience a mayan ritual and have a taste of what it’s like is inspiring

Renata Green
Renata Green
1 year ago

This is such a fascinating ceremony and it’s good that the Conquistas did not manage to erase all of the indigenous traditions and heritage. I used to stay in Puerto Morelos for a month, but never participated in something like this – so thanks for sharing your experience <3

1 year ago

What a cool journey steeped in tradition and history. I cannot believe they canoe for so long only to turn around and return. I love Mexicoand all of the history and culture and cannot wait to return.

1 year ago

What a lively and colourful celebration! I have always been fascinated by Mexico and the Mayan civilisation, so interesting!

Sayandeep Mondal
Sayandeep Mondal
1 year ago


1 year ago

It must have been fun for you to experience the festival. They cannoe for that long just to go back where they came from? This really must be a tradition no one misses there

Sayandeep Mondal
Sayandeep Mondal
1 year ago

Such an interesting idea for a post and very well put together. I learned a lot about the ancient Mayans. Thanks for sharing your story.

Clement II
1 year ago

What a specular event you have here while witnessing it firsthand! You have such an incredible experience with this trip. In my country the Philippines, i’ve been joining festivals like this as part of the Documentary Team, and the experience is totally hearth-warming!