An alternative for getting to know the Maya of yesterday and today.
It’s not possible to separate Yucatán from the Maya. Maya culture is at the root of our identity as Yucatecans and is one of the main reasons why visitors from all over the world come to our state.
But, it’s important to make one thing clear: not everything is rosy. We could write pages and pages about how wonderful and fascinating this culture is, its traditions, its gastronomy... However, it’s also worth mentioning that, ironically, the Maya population has less access to development opportunities. In fact, their traditions, customs, and language have been in steady decline for decades.
To minimize these problems, community-based tourism has emerged as a tool to help preserve culture and generate better living conditions in Maya communities. It also serves as a complementary economic activity where the villagers themselves are the ones who organize, operate, and manage co-ops that you can visit. Community tours focus on the daily life within the villages where they take place, thus offering the opportunity to discover the current reality of the Maya people. Below, we tell you a little about some of the tours you can take:
In this small community of only 150 inhabitants in the south of Yucatán, life is abundant and telephone signal is scarce. Here, you will feel peaceful like in few other places.
On the community tour offered by the local cooperative, you can visit the village’s sawmill as the community is dedicated to sustainable forestry. After that, you’ll stop by an allotment of medicinal plants, see archaeological remains, and learn about hammock weaving with a group of artisans. The cooperative also offers the chance to enjoy regional dishes cooked with fresh ingredients and spend a night under the stars in their camping area.
Pujulá Maya Village
This project located on the outskirts of Kaua, led by Don Sixto and Doña Aracely, is dedicated to rescuing the Maya’s ancestral knowledge and traditions.
During your visit, you’ll learn about the production of Bateas (laundry basins), baskets, and traditional utensils that are still used in many homes in the region. You’ll also discover the construction process of the Maya house, where an endless amount of traditional knowledge converges. At the end of your visit, enjoy a traditional meal cooked over firewood by Doña Aracely.
In this small town, located next to the archaeological zone, there’s a co-op formed by farmers who saw tourism as an opportunity to reinforce their identity and improve their quality of life.
On their community tour, you can participate in different workshops such as machine embroidery, handmade tortilla making, and hammock weaving while you walk through the village with a local guide. At the cooperative, you can also spend a quiet night in their traditional cabins and enjoy delicious dishes in their dining hall.
Join a variety of local activities in this town dedicated to making Guayaberas. Visit a local bakery to make your own Pan Dulce, join Ana to learn about Melipona bees (Yucatecan stingless bees) and taste their honey, stroll through Luis’ plot and try fruit fresh from the tree, or visit a Guayabera factory and buy a garmet (or two, or three!) to take home with you.
As you can see, these tours give you the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the local way of life and are also a way to value and preserve Maya customs and traditions while having an incredible time. See you in the Mayab!
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Editorial by Jan Martín Müller
Head of Communications at Co’ox Mayab
Photography by Co’ox Mayab for its use in Yucatán Today.
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