It’s true that cocoa, the foundation of what we now know as the marvelous chocolate that sweetens and brightens our days, was an invaluable element for the pre-Hispanic civilizations of México, serving as food, currency, and a ceremonial item. You’ll learn all about that in this museum, and even about how cocoa made its way to Europe, where it became the delicacy we know today.
But you don’t have to be a chocoholic or a culinary history enthusiast to marvel at this extraordinary destination, located just outside the archeological site of Uxmal. Choco-Story Uxmal is an experience that transfers you from the moment you arrive to what was once a sugar plantation built around the 16th century. The first thing that will surprise you is the abundant vegetation that accompanies you to the first of six exhibition rooms; each one is arranged like a traditional Maya house, meaning there are several natural spaces between them. Thus, Choco-Story Uxmal is not only a museum but also a botanical garden, with small signs indicating the name and medicinal use of each species.
Choco-Story Uxmal is also an Environmental Management Unit (UMA), recognized by the government as a protected area for sustainable nature conservation. This designation not only safeguards the diverse plant life but also provides a sanctuary for various animal species rescued from captivity. Some of these creatures have the chance to be reintegrated into the wild, while others will spend the remainder of their lives in a place as vast and nurturing as Choco-Story, where they can receive the care they need. This is the case for several spider monkeys, two jaguars, and a yellow-headed parrot, which you can admire from a comfortable distance, not only for yourself but, most importantly, for them.
I’m sure there’s a stop that will be the favorite for many: the chocolate tasting room. Here, you can try a traditional Maya cocoa-based beverage, and you even get to choose what to accompany your drink with, prepared according to the pre-Hispanic method. You’ll have various options like sugar, cinnamon, annatto, and even powdered habanero. I suggest embracing the opportunity to add multiple spoonfuls of sugar, as the beverage is all-natural and unexpectedly bitter.
However, one of the most special moments of the tour will undoubtedly be witnessing a Maya ceremony. To the rhythm of the Zacatán (also known as Huéhuetl) and the Tunkul (prehistoric percussion instruments), they ask the rain god, Chaac, for his favors so that the garden can grow and flourish.
If you want to live an outdoor experience where you can enjoy and learn about chocolate, the Mayas, and Yucatán’s nature, don’t hesitate to visit Choco-Story Uxmal. If time doesn’t allow it, Choco-Story also has an interactive museum in Valladolid that you can include in your itinerary as well.
General: $180 pesos
Seniors (over 60), students, and Yucatecos: $120 pesos
Children (6 to 12 years old): $80 pesos
Children (under 6 years old): Free
Guide: $400 pesos
By Brenda Daniela Avila Acametitla
Tourism professional. Painter in her free time. Lover of literature, the sea, and Esquites.
Photography by Brenda Avila, and Yucatán Today for use in Yucatán Today.
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