Ox Watz is a relatively new eco-tourism business formed by 56 Mayan people from the village/hacienda Tekal de Venegas. Located just 80 kilometers from the city of Mérida, you will find 1,018 acres of pure, virgin, low jungle where you can mountain bike, bird watch, camp, kayak, canoe, swim, snorkel and visit Mayan pyramids.
This project came about when Mr. Manuel Chan realized something had to be done in the area to keep the economically active people from abandoning the area and migrating to the US. With the downfall of the henequen and agricultural businesses, families were having a hard time making ends meet, and severe poverty was setting in. Seeing all the natural and cultural things they had right nearby, he came up with the idea of offering excursions to the local people.
With the help of professional consultants from tourism and environmental groups, they fine-tuned the plan to offer nature tourism to not only locals, but also to the international community.
With a website designed by some Austrian supporters, they have received tourists from Spain, Australia, Germany, the US, and Canada.
Within their 1,018 acres they have cenotes, ponds, lakes, birds, deer, crocodiles, anteaters, cotamundi, and wild turkeys. On the cultural side of the equation, you will find the archaeological site Xbaatun, old Mayan roads called sacbe, abandoned pre-Hispanic buildings, the Mayan language and the living Mayan culture.
Located in the central part of the state of Yucatán in Tekal de Venegas, just north of Izamal, for you GPS users, it is at a N20º 58’ 21º 04’ and W88º 45’ y 88º 59’ and 10 meters above sea level.
At the moment, Ox Watz is for athletic people who want extreme sports. The tours run from 6 – 8 hours, so that makes for a long day.
In the meantime, the directors are working with a local travel agency to see about offering trips for the less athletic person who wants to visit the area, but not for 8 hours – in other words – light tours! The 24-hour camping trip that they offer sounds like a great time. They supply the tents, transportation, etc. You just have to take your sense of adventure!
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