YUCATÃN, (July 9, 2021) .- Camino del Mayab is the country’s first long-distance trail. A community tourism project, where through its 111 kilometers (69 miles), connecting 14 communities of Yucatan, people can create a special connection with the natural beauties, observe the low forest, its fauna, live with the inhabitants of the cities, enjoy the rich gastronomy in the same houses of the inhabitants, and learn more about the natural treasures of the region.
The lands that are part of these trails are mystical, full of green colors and decorated by the Mayan jungle. Several species of animals coexist in these scenarios. Urban development doesn’t exist here, and neither is it necessary. The idea is to admire the fantastic landscapes full of trees and vegetation that travelers cannot find in big cities like MÃ©rida.
Far from the city, technology and internet connections, people get away from the hustle and bustle of these places. The visual experience is what to focus on. Whether on foot or by bike, one cannot fail to admire the landscape offered by these 200-year-old roads, steeped in history and rich traditions.
In addition, this tourism project also contributes to the organization of the women and men of these localities, their development, and their governance, to take advantage of their resources, their ancestral knowledge so that they benefit from community tourism, where the environment is cared for and also receive support for their economy.
On June 18, the promoters of this project, in coordination with the Yucatan Tourism Development Secretariat (Sefotur), toured with some local media to demonstrate some of the trails and attractions that make up this initiative.
The first point was MucuychÃ©n, a town located in the municipality of AbalÃ¡, where a group of Mayan women spoke about their newly formed cooperative. In this place, the women of the neighborhood are working on the adaptation of a community dining room in the center of the city.
They will soon have a small garden and farm animals to provide all the necessary inputs for the preparation of the dishes they will offer to visitors.
Women said Camino del Mayab has been a great ally for the arrival of tourism; Well, many people come to the community to go hiking and take the opportunity to eat their products, some even offer their own terraces for the preparation of traditional dishes.
The next destination was YunkÃº, located in the municipality of Sacalum, where they started the journey through these Mayan roads. The guide for this experience was Emiliano MÃ©ndez, who dressed in long boots, a turban on his head and accompanied by a pointed-toed pole, explained some simple rules that any walker should follow before setting out: no one should walk past guide, you shouldn’t touch anything you find – because there are plants that can sting – and no one should separate from the group.
Along the more than a kilometer, Emiliano explained every detail of what people were observing, from small insects and their relationship with different plants, to how they coexist and depend on each other. He also mentioned the names of several animal and plant species along the way.
âWe seek to create this harmony between communities, culture and nature. Often times we don’t know where things are coming from, or worse, how to hold onto something that we don’t know anything about, part of the main job is for people to be able to connect through all of their senses, listen, observe, smell and walk through these trails, âhe said as everyone listened intently.
The guide said that these trails are magical and that everyone who visits them leaves with a different outlook on life and nature. Some come in search of adventure, others to connect with the jungle, to be in peace, in tranquility, or to forget their daily problems. Either way, no one is the same after traveling these roads, he says.
In the middle of this particular path is the YunkÃº cenote, which is protected by the ejido. The cenote looks like a cave, you have to go down steep stairs. The cave is surrounded by several stalactites and through its vantage point people can take photos and enjoy the view.
Back in the heart of the community, the DoÃ±a Macy cooperative group welcomed walkers who were visibly tired from the trip. Upon entering his house, people can taste a variety of typical Yucatan dishes, such as salbuts, panuchos, chaya empanadas, among other stews accompanied by refreshing horchata and Jamaican natural drinks.
Once satisfied, the walkers started walking again. In the middle of the community, they met other tourists from LeÃ³n, Guanajuato, who shared their experiences. They discovered this project via social networks; they are âwalkers at heartâ. They are looking for spiritual spaces in contact with nature, so they decided to discover the Mayan trails. They have traveled to various places, they are even pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, Spain, but currently they could not go due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so Camino del Mayab was a great option for them. favorite activity.
“Today is our fourth day and it is a wonderful trip, especially because the people here are very authentic and pure, their trails are clean, transparent, totally integrated with nature and very well maintained”, said Alejandra Ãlvarez Torres de LeÃ³n, Guanajuato.
One of the last points of the visit was the Hacienda YunkÃº, located in the center of the community. It is surrounded by trees and vegetation from the region and some exotic plants. One of its main draws is that it has its own cenote, which has a beautiful and large swimming pool and from which the plants are watered by a rustic aqueduct system. On site, you can stay in some of its five rooms, go hiking or cycle through the sites.
Current administrators have explained that due to its elevation, the hacienda may have been built on top of an ancient Mayan city. The central architectural complex of the hacienda is made up of three buildings: the main house, the machine room and the administrator’s house, all organized around a square that functions as an articulation and distribution space.
In the end, walkers were able to appreciate the beautiful craftsmanship made by several of the inhabitants. In their own homes, women make hand-woven blouses, cross-stitch blouses, bags, key chains and other items.
Alberto GutiÃ©rrez Cervera, director of Camino del Mayab, explained that before starting the visit, people get a passport, which has a cost of 500 pesos, which allows them to visit the 14 communities and their attractions, at each place they ‘they visit, he stamps the passport. If they get at least 10 stamps, people are recognized as âGuardians of the Jungle and of Mayan Cultureâ.
The project went into operation in October of last year and so far more than 500 people have visited the trails; 200 of them did it hiking and the rest cycling.
“Ultimately, we want to do community tourism, ecotourism, involving the inhabitants of the communities, promoting their development,” concluded Alberto GutiÃ©rrez Cervera, director of Camino del Mayab.
Source: La Jornada Maya
The Yucatan era