The Camino del Mayab
Travelers seek out travel advisors for many reasons…
the perfect destination wedding, getting away from stressful work, simply partying with friends – and for many, a journey of spiritual discovery.
A spiritual journey can mean many things to many people, from a religious pilgrimage like walking El Camino de Santiago (the way of Saint James), to visiting ancient archeological sites, to exploring mystical sites such as Sedona, AZ. Generally, what they all have in common is an individual’s search for their place in the world.
The simple act of walking a trail that others have trod over for centuries, going from one deeply meaningful site on to another and another, seems to have a profound effect on many travelers.
For Americans seeking this type of spiritual journey, travel usually involves crossing either the Atlantic or Pacific oceans to visit a new and unfamiliar land. For travelers seeking this type of experience, but not wanting to travel that far away, there is a closer alternative. It is one that not that many people know about and that travel advisors can offer – the Camino del Mayab.
Located in the Mexican State of Yucatan, the Camino del Mayab takes its name from the Mayan name for the Yucatan from the time before the Spanish Conquistadores. The Camino del Mayab connects travelers to cenotes, haciendas, ecological reserves, and most importantly, the warmth of the Mayan people. Here you can discover the essence of life.
For the uninitiated, cenotes are surface connections to subterranean bodies of water. These are areas where the surface limestone bedrock has collapsed, creating large pools of fresh water- perfect for a quick swim while exploring the sites of the Yucatan.
The Camino del Mayab is the first long distance trail in Mexico. Over the entirety of its more than 60 miles of trails, the Camino del Mayab traverses 14 communities and has over 30 historical/scenic tourists sites for travelers to explore.
Visitors are able to take in all of the Camino del Mayab, or just some of the sections, depending upon their interests and time available, all via either hiking or cycling.
The development of this trail is part of the Yucatan’s plan to expand touristic possibilities in the region through sustainable developments that combine what the area is already known for – colonial haciendas and cenotes. The goal is to also preserve the Mayan lifestyle and culture. Services along the Camino del Mayab are organized and operated by the communities along the route as a common cooperative.
This cooperative offers travelers the option of buying all inclusive packages of one, three, four and five days OR the option of buying services a-la-carte. Travelers can either walk, run or bike the trails, and accommodation choices range from camping, homestays, haciendas and in some places, hotels. Food and beverage options are also plentiful. Local guides are not required, but they are strongly suggested as the jungle and forest terrain can pose some challenges. English or Spanish speaking guides are available for all or part of the trail.
There are twelve different haciendas along the trail. Some offer accommodations, others historical artifacts and some are picturesque ruins. Notable ones include; Hacienda Dzoyaxche, Hacienda Yaxcopoil, Hacienda Cacao, and Hacienda Yunku.
After a day of hiking or cycling what could be better than taking a cool and relaxing dip in a beautiful cenote? Along the trail there are nine, all different, yet spectacular cenotes that can be visited, including Sambula with its crystal clear turquoise blue, the majestic Kankirixche, Yunku Cave Cenote, which is underground and actually beneath the hacienda’s guest pool.
Of course, no trip to the Yucatan is complete without a visit to an ancient Mayan archaeological site, and two of the best – Uxmal and Mayapan – are easily accessible from the trail. Mayapan is the larger of the two with over 4,000 structures within its city walls. Not to be outdone, Uxmal is older and a UNESCO world heritage site. They both have amazing pyramids that can be explored.
Getting your clients to this journey of spiritual discovery is a snap with Merida’s newly expanded airport nearby and nearly all US carriers offering flights to neighboring Cancun.
Information and pricing can be found on the website of the cooperative that operates the Camino del Mayab. The easiest way for travel advisors to monetize a trip along this amazing trail is to have the operators customize the trip with specific accommodations and meals, and then simply markup the custom quote. Please keep mind mind that all pricing on the website is based on the Mexican Peso and not the US dollar.
Mexico’s premier international tourism trade show, Tianguis, made it’s post COVID return at Merida, Yucatan from November 16-19, 2021. The trade show’s slogan was “The Rebirth of Tourism” and if attendance at the trade show is any indication, then the rebirth is going very well indeed.
The 45th edition of Tianguis 2021 broke previous attendance records. Some 1,635 buyers from across the globe attended — surpassing the 2017 record of 1,608 — as did a record number of Mexican tourism providers, at 1,017. In total, 57,287 business meetings were held between Mexican providers and buyers.
Yucatán’s trade show pavilion divided the state into six regions designated as Ruta Puuc and Mayan Villages; Cenotes and Haciendas; Mundo Maya; Puerto Maya; Mérida, Cultural and Gastronomic Capital of the South; and Yucatán Riviera. Local tourism providers held more than 6,000 meetings with buyers, which will provide results in both the short- and long-term for the destination.
Tour operators, wholesalers and other product buyers also participated in familiarization tours to experience the state of Yucatán’s tourism offerings, while over 100 international journalists participated in press trips under the themes of luxury, community, gastronomy, adventure and the World of the Maya.
Travel advisors and tour operators looking to participate in the next edition of Tianguis should plan to be in Acapulco for the dates of May 22-25, 2022. The Tianguis website should be updated shortly.