After seven years, the Travesía Sagrada Maya (Sacred Mayan Journey) has become an icon among Riviera Maya events. The journey recreates a local Mayan tradition where rowers take small canoes out into the Caribbean Sea, where they’ll land at Cozumel island to worship the goddess Ixchel. The next day, they make the difficult trip back to the mainland. This year, host Xcaret switched things up a little bit by having the rowers leave from Xel-Ha in order to take advantage of the currents heading northeast toward Cozumel.
It all began with an opening event the night before the journey, with Xcaret hosting an interactive Mayan market along with a spectacular show by the beach where Mayan dancers, warriors and shamans blessed the Travesía Sagrada Maya.
Friday morning at dawn, crowds gathered by the inlet and along the coast of Xel-Ha park in support of the 30 canoes of brave athletes who would spend the entire morning crossing the Caribbean waters to Cozumel. Cheers went out from family and friends as the canoes set out into the ocean alongside several motorboats for added safety.
After an evening spent resting and paying homage to Ixchel on Cozumel, the canoers had to start the journey all over again as they headed back to the Riviera Maya at dawn. Once they arrived at Xcaret, the heroes were met with dolphins, macaws, dancers and the press as they hugged each other in celebration of the grueling journey they had accomplished over the past two days.