Travesia Sagrada Maya Mayan Crossing Experience - Cozumel 4 You

Travesia Sagrada Maya  Mayan  Crossing Experience

My First Mayan Crossing Experience

Ritual Reenactment Rowing A Must-do Cultural Experience……


By Almendra Gutierrez

Photo Courtesy of Bruno Diver Cozumel

Having lived on the island for a year and a half, my husband Eric and I were eager to see the Travesia Sagrada Maya this year. The day that greeted the rowers and spectators was gorgeous. Having missed it the year before, and having had it reschedule due to storms the weekend before it felt like a real accomplishment to head out.


We boarded a community bus at Cozumel’s Convention Center and rode with about 30 others to Chankanaab. Strolling in we saw a huge sculpture of Ixchel pouring out her jug and dozens of participants in period dress. Majestic blues and reds, jade and amber adorning necks and head scarves everywhere. The scent and smoke of copal incense was thick. The turnout was great, mostly everyone who wanted to could see and there were many photographers out capturing the scene.


Within ten minutes of our arrival the first rowers arrived. And they did not stop arriving for at least 40 minutes.

Photo Courtesy of Bruno Diver Cozumel

There must have been 50 canoes with 10 rowers each arriving. All of them celebrated and ate fruit while waiting in line to receive their blessing from Ixchel.


This all lasted about an hour and then we were left with our dazed dreams about what it must have been like to travel for miles before boarding a canoe. What did they see when they arrived? How long was the trek to the temple? What was the community structure on the island as opposed to the mainland? We puzzled these thoughts while enjoying refreshments on the beach and a snorkel break.


We have visited the ruins at San Gervasio many times, and wrote an article in our publication, called, Mayan Gods: Ixchel:


Photo Courtesy of Bruno Diver Cozumel

“The islands of Cozumel and Isla Mujeres (Isle of Women) both have temples dedicated to Ixchel. All Mayan women would make the pilgrimage from Pole (modern-day Xcaret) to the sacred island by canoe at least once in their lives. On the island they could consummate their vows or pray for healthy childbirth… Ixchel is responsible for the formation of a baby in the mother’s womb and determines if the child will be male or female. Mayan midwives place her image, typically carved in wood, under the birthing bed.”


Wow. That is what I call a Goddess and a true inspiration to take my birth control regularly while living on this island. We are big fans of Mayan culture and were pleased to see that this event was so well attended and that it was all in reverence of a truly unique figure and feature of Cozumel.


Almendra Gutierrez, editor,  and Eric Anderson are the  managers of the They moved to the Yucatan area  from Seattle, a move which appears to be just one more in a string of adventures they have shared together.

Mi primera experiencia en la Travesía Sagrada Maya

Representación del remo ritual. Una experiencia cultural que debe hacer . . .

Por Almendra Gutiérrez



Este año y después de estar viviendo año y medio en la Isla, mi esposo Eric y yo estábamos ansiosos de ver la

Photo Courtesy of Bruno Diver Cozumel

Travesía Sagrada Maya. El día que recibió a los canoeros, era espléndido. Ya que el año anterior nos perdimos el evento y que se reprogramó debido a las tormentas del fin de semana anterior, ir se sentía como un verdadero logro.


Abordamos un autobús público en el Centro de Convenciones de Cozumel e hicimos el recorrido hacia Chankanaab con alrededor de 30 personas más. Paseando, al entrar vimos una gran escultura de Ixchel vertiendo su jarra y docenas de participantes con atuendos representando la época. Majestuosos colores azules y rojos, jade y ámbar adornaban los cuellos y pañoletas por doquier. El olor y humo del copal era espeso. La participación era  considerable; casi todos los que lo deseaban podían ver y había muchos fotógrafos capturando las escenas.


Photo Courtesy of Bruno Diver Cozumel

A los diez minutos de nuestra llegada, arribaron los primeros canoeros; y durante un lapso de 40 minutos continuaron llegando. Es posible que hayan arribado 50 canoas con 10 canoeros cada una. Todos ellos celebraron y comieron fruta mientras esperaban en la línea para recibir la bendición de Ixchel.


Todo esto tardó aproximadamente una hora y después nos dejaron con nuestros aturdidos sueños sobre lo que pudo haber sido recorrer muchas millas antes de abordar una canoa. ¿Qué vieron al llegar? ¿Cuán larga fue la travesía hasta el templo?¿Cuán distinta era la estructura de la comunidad a comparación de tierra firme? Nos intrigaban estas reflexiones en tanto disfrutábamos de algunas bebidas refrescantes en la playa y un rato practicando esnórquel.


Hemos visitado las ruinas de San Gervasio en muchas ocasiones, y escribimos un articulo acerca de estas en nuestra

Photo Courtesy of Bruno Diver Cozumel

publicación llamado Mayan Gods: Ixhel [“Dioses mayas: Ixchel”)-


“Las islas de Cozumel e Isla Mujeres cuentan con templos dedicados a Ixchel. Al menos en una ocasión, todas las mujeres mayas hacían el recorrido en canoa desde Polé (actualmente Xcaret) hasta la Isla sagrada. En la Isla consumaban sus votos o rezaban por lograr un alumbramiento saludable… Ixchel es responsable de la creación de un bebé en el vientre de la madre y determina si éste será un varón o una hembra. Las parteras mayas colocan la imagen de Ixchel, por lo general tallada en madera, bajo la cama del alumbramiento”.

Photo Courtesy of Bruno Diver Cozumel

¡Caramba! Esto es lo que yo llamo una diosa y una verdadera inspiración para tomar mi control de natalidad de manera regular mientras vivo en la Isla. Somos grandes fanáticos de la cultura maya y nos complace haber visto que este evento estuvo tan concurrido y que todo se realizó con gran respeto a un personaje verdaderamente único y característico de Cozumel.


Almendra Gutierrez, editora de


Laura Wilkinson

Author at Cozumel 4 You
Laura Wilkinson is the Editor for Cozumel 4 You. An ex-Connecticut Yankee who has called Cozumel home for over 15 years, Laura ran away to the Caribbean years ago, bumped around the islands teaching SCUBA diving, lost some time in Jamaica, and finally stopped in Cozumel for a 2 week vacation that hasn’t ended yet. With a degree in Journalism from a fancy private college she convinced her parents to pay for, Laura writes, edits, and creates the weekly Cozumel 4 You news, promotional articles about the island, and her very own blog, which she finds hilarious. Her long suffering husband, the Fabster, has long since resigned himself to having zero private life, as he’s been involved in her various schemes and plots since his arrival. Proud parents to a variety of rescue dogs and cats, Laura continues to be the bane of her traditional Mexican mother-in-law’s existence, as she muses her way through life in the Mexican Caribbean.

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1 Comment
  1. Dee oliver 2 months ago

    I totally agree. This event is a magical thing to experience.

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