Tsukán used to be a regular snake (you know, besides being large and mystical). One day, its story took a Cinderella-like turn, and the days of doing normal snake stuff were over. The legend says that Tsukán was ordered by Chaac to look after caves and cenotes during the first draught of the Maya empire, this happened after Tsukán ate Chaac’s horse, which the god of rain didn’t appreciate. Now, Tsukán (from the Maya “tsuk”: horse, and “kaan”: snake), is in charge of maintaining the water cycle afloat, and his shift ends, more or less, at the end of eternity.
On a December morning I head over to Tsukán, a life sanctuary and natural reserve 10 minutes away from Chichen Itzá. This place used to be the home of the Maya who built this emblematic new wonder of the world. Everything seems to indicate that Santa partook in a bit of cenote exploring before his peak season commenced, which inspired me to visit the place that the man in red himself came to for relaxation.
I am taken to a Pich tree, sacred in the Maya world and known for transforming bad vibes into good ones. Without giving it a second thought, I hug the tree; in turn, it kindly takes my somewhat negative urban energy and turns it into nothing but peace. Super nice of you, Pich tree.
I arrive to a traditional Maya home. Inside there is a hammock, a tortilla making station, and an altar to the dead. The offering stays up year round, not only during Hanal Pixán and the Day of the Dead. I had the opportunity of making my own tortillas alongside an expert who, with tons of patience and a smile, encouraged me to try my creations afterwards. I think I’ll leave my tortillas in expert hands nonetheless. I also visit the orchard, enjoy a regional breakfast al fresco, and take a look at the souvenirs and handcrafts in the store. A restaurant is in the works as well.
Strolling with my guide through the path, a group of flirty yellow butterflies welcome me. After 106 steps, I arrive to the cenote, where the world of the living meets the Xibalbá: the underworld. Little by little, I immerse myself into the turquoise water. It’s clear, nearly transparent, and so peaceful. Fish surround me, they’re busy living in their own little paradise. The light coming in reflects off the water and then again on the rocky ceiling, creating a light and shadow spectacle I gaze at as I float on the water and day dream.
In this writer’s opinion, the mystic snake is doing a fabulous job taking care of the water. How about some vacation time, Chaac?
More information and reservations:
Carretera Yokdzonot-Pisé km. 108
Tel. (999) 648 0109
FB: Tsukan Santuario
IG: Tsukan Santuario
Mon. – Sun. 9 am a 5 pm
Entry opening price: $180 pesos for adults, $100 pesos for children
Editorial by Greta Garrett
Photography by Oscar Estrada and Tsukán Santuario de Vida for their use in Yucatán Today
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