Every now and then you get the chance to experience something so profound, it changes your view on life. For me, that was the trip I took to the Mayan village of Señor with tour specialist, Ojos Mayas.
As a travel agent, and most recently a travel guru, I strive to bring you first-hand information of fun and interesting things to do here in Playa del Carmen and the Mayan Riviera. Usually, this involves something to do with swimming, snorkeling, relaxing by a pool, and sometimes being hooked up in a harness!
Today I had the chance to do something different. Something that would open my eyes to a whole different culture. I took a trip to Señor, to visit the Mayan village there, and learn about their culture.
It reminded me of why I moved here in the first place and made me appreciate the wisdom and knowledge of others.
Sadly, in many cases, the language and traditions of some cultures are dying. While the elders grow older, the younger generation go off to find employment and opportunities elsewhere.
This excursion allows the elders to share their knowledge and wisdom with us, keeping their stories alive. It also helps retain the interest for younger generations of Mayans to learn these customs and traditions, and most importantly to give back to the community at the same time.
It all started bright and early at Café Andrade, 7:00 am to be exact. This was easy for me, not so easy for the hubs. They had coffee waiting, and once everyone showed up we were off.
Your pick up time and travel time will depend on how many people are on the tour, and where they are staying. They had a very nice 14 person van, which we loaded up and headed to Señor. Along the way, we also picked up a couple of people in Tulum.
The tour has a minimum requirement of 6 people, and a maximum of 12, so you’re always guaranteed a more personal tour.
Tip #1. Bring Snacks
Again, always my number one tip on any tour. You are starting out very early in the morning, and eating lunch later in the day. Although once we arrived, they had fresh watermelon waiting for us, and pastries for later in the day.
It took us about 2.5-3 hours each way to get from Playa del Carmen to Señor, which brings up another point. You might want to limit your beverage intake before leaving because once on the road the opportunity to stop are pretty much nonexistent. This road has no rest stops and no gas stations, so plan accordingly 🙂 .
Tip #2. Wear Comfortable Clothing and Shoes
This is Mexico. It’s hot and humid here. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. One great thing about this tour is that they chauffeured us around in Moto taxis (see pic below), which add to the ambiance and saved our feet.
Where your comfortable shoes come in handy is the hike at Laguna Azul. I highly recommend either waterproof sandals or water shoes. It is a little difficult to hike in flip flops, as there is lots of lime stone and uneven ground.
You have the opportunity to swim on this outing. They do have a place to change if you need to and to store your belongings.
Tip #3. Biodegradable Sunscreen and Bug Spray
Always a given here, because it is sunny, and you are close to the jungle.
Tip #4. Appreciate the Wisdom of these Elders
This is but a glimpse into the lives of the Mayan people, a culture that values its town elders and is steeped in culture and tradition.
We had the opportunity to learn about how they use plants and herbs to cure illnesses, and how plants were vitally important in diagnosing sickness. This was fascinating to me, in a modern world where we are so quick to reach for the over-the-counter drug.
We listened to stories of conflict between the Mayan people and the Mexican Federales, and how they fought to save their villages. Again, I was fascinated by the Mayas ingenuity in fighting a much larger opponent.
We saw a demonstration on how the Mayans used the henequén plant in order to make rope for hammocks and other items.
We also learned about how they keep bees to produce the honey that is so important to their community.
And last, but certainly not least, we took our Moto taxis to Laguna Azul, did a little hiking and swimming., and then returned for an authentic Mayan meal, prepared by the people of the community. Pumpkin and squash have never tasted so good, and the homemade tortillas were the best I have had.
After a long day, it was nice to think about all that I had learned on the drive home, and ponder the ingenuity and wisdom of the Mayan people. It was a great day.
This tour is something quite different than what we usually offer, but as Marcel Proust once said, “The true voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
I wholeheartedly agree, and this tour allowed me to open my eyes and see things from a different perspective. The perspective of a people who are working to preserve their culture and that is the most profound lesson of all.
Do you want to delve into the Mayan Culture?
You can book the Mayan Village Tour here
Have a question for Travel Specialist Linda? Get in touch!