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Yaxunah, Yucatán; an ancestral journey through the Mayan Culture

Yaxunah is a Mayan community that has preserved its culture and identity and has a population of 700 inhabitants. It is located in the municipality of Yaxcaba, near Pisté and about 25 or 30 minutes from Chichén Itzá. It preserves its customs, beliefs, Mayan language, clothing and traditional houses built with wood and huano (a type of palm tree); its inhabitants, women and men descendants of the Mayan Culture, have organized themselves into three groups: Lol Kum, Compadres and the Tourist Parador, to offer visits to the community and receive visitors from different parts of the world to live unique experiences of nature, gastronomy and culture that include lodging in cabins, food and activities in the community.

During the visit to the community, you can choose between the activities they offer: Immersion in Corn, which is the ideal opportunity to learn about the production process of this important ingredient for the Mayans, which represents the spirit of the people; preparation of Cochinita, a typical Mayan meal cooked in a pib oven, wrapped in banana leaves; handicraft workshops, where skilled artisans will show you their works with pleasure and will invite you to participate in part of the process; visit to the archaeological zone and the cenote or, spending a whole day in the community.

The inhabitants have organized themselves into a cooperative with which they are an example of a tourism community model where 10% of the proceeds from each tourist activity goes to the community savings for local projects. In addition to having the tourist offer from which many of them obtain economic sustenance, they promote and maintain the culture of the bean, hibiscus, squash and corn harvest, with which they produce corn with coconut, tortilla pozole, choko sakán and sa’ kab of corn, among other products, of which they are consumers, thus being a sustainable community.

The place is small, but at the Tourist Parador you can rent a bicycle and pedal to the archaeological zone of Yaxunah, which is just 10 minutes away, where accompanied by one of the cultural promoters, as they usually name themselves, and who will tell you everything in detail: what they know about the area, where you will find monumental buildings surrounded by cornfields and dense vegetation.

On the way back to the town, visiting the Seed Bank will be a unique experience, where this community offers seeds to those who require them for sowing, with the condition that they return these when they obtain the harvest and thus preserve the seeds. In addition, through the Traspatio Maya project, they sell the products of the harvest to different parts of Yucatan.

In the community there are also many artisans, some of them have learned to work with wood, making original and colorful designs of masks, Mayan calendars and key rings. The weaving of hammocks is another of the trades of this community of indigenous Mayans, they produce cotton hammocks adorned with crochet.

The artisans are only five minutes away from the cenote Lol-ha, which means flower or bud of water. From the entrance (which is fenced), you can see its great depth, surrounded by trees of different types that are home to a wide variety of animals, such as swallows, owls and the toh bird, as well as squirrels and raccoons.

Finally, the delicious local cuisine, prepared by the traditional cooks of the community, will end the visit with flourish. The smell of the herbs burned underground that covers the containers where they prepare the cochinita or the relleno negro, among other dishes, will fill your senses and awaken your appetite. Eat them with warm freshly handmade tortillas to enjoy the flavors of the Mayan cuisine.

Yaxunah, as a Mayan community, is considered to be part of the Mayan Villages of Yucatán program of the entity’s Secretariat for Tourism Development (Sefotur), that seeks to integrate a tourist circuit of indigenous communities and Mayan tourist centers in the State, to diversify the offer of attractions through an innovative tourism product for visitors who are in search of these experiences.

The cooperative wants all visitors to feel calm and confident that they are taking care of their health, so it has implemented strict health security measures, such as the car disinfection process when entering the town, providing antibacterial gel at all points visiting, the mandatory use of face masks and taking the temperature through digital thermometers in the tourist area.

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