Tourist parador, botanical garden and delicious dishes are part of its attractions
MERIDA, Yuc.- Yucatán is one of the places where, several centuries ago, the Mayans settled in different points, they built large and impressive cities such as Uxmal, Kabah, Labná, Mayapán or Chichén Itzá, which today are a symbol of an unprecedented civilization, giving rise to what we know today as the Mayan culture, which is still alive among a large number of indigenous communities.
Yaxunah is one of these towns that has preserved its culture and identity, with a population of 700 inhabitants.
It is located in the municipality of Yaxcabá, 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.
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 tours and receive visitors from different parts of the world, inviting them to live unique experiences of nature, gastronomy, and culture, which include accommodation in cabins, food, and various activities.
On the way, you can choose between the Immersion in Corn, which is the ideal opportunity to learn about the production process of this very important food for the Mayans, which represents the spirit of the people; Preparation of the Cochinita, a typical Mayan food cooked in a pib oven, wrapped in banana leaves; Handicraft workshops, where highly skilled artisans will show you their works with pleasure and will invite you to participate in part of the process; and the visit to the archaeological zone and the cenote or, a whole day.
The town has been organized into a cooperative with which they are an example of a community tourism model and 10 percent of the proceeds from each activity goes to community savings for local projects.
In addition to having this tourist offer, from which many obtain economic sustenance, they promote and still maintain the culture of the bean, hibiscus, pumpkin, 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 one of the cultural promoters, as they usually call themselves, will tell in detail everything they know of the zone, same in which are monumental constructions, surrounded by cornfields and dense vegetation.
It is known that this archaeological zone was connected to Chichén Itzá and Cobá through a sacbé or white road, of up to 100 kilometers, which is why it is thought that it could be a political border. It reached its maximum splendor between the years 900 and 600 before Christ.
The traces found on the site reveal that the city had intense agriculture and that it must have supported the large population of the north of the peninsula, although it was later abandoned and destroyed long before the arrival of the Spanish, around the 10th or 11th century.
On the way back to the town, visiting the Seed Bank will be a unique experience, where this community offers seeds to whoever requires them for sowing with the condition that they return them when the harvest is obtained. In addition, through the Traspatio Maya project, they sell the products of their gardens to different parts of Yucatán.
In the community, there are also many people dedicated to crafts, who have learned to work with wood making original and colorful designs of masks, Mayan calendars, and key rings, but there is also another group that works with the bull horn, with which they make accessories such as Really beautiful necklaces, bracelets, earrings.
The weaving of hammocks is another of the trades of this community of indigenous Mayans, they produce them of cotton adorned with crochet. As a curious fact, the manufacture of this type of object takes up to three weeks. They also make special orders, even for lamps and other accessories.
The artisans are to one side of the Seed Bank, just five minutes from the cenote Lol-ha, which means flower or bud of water.
From the entrance to this, which is fenced, you can see its great depth, surrounded by many trees of different types, which are home to a wide variety of animals such as swallows, owls, and the toh bird, as well as squirrels and raccoons.
Back at the tourist parador, in front is the Yaxunah Community Cultural Center, which has a botanical garden, a library, a multipurpose room, and an outdoor events area.
Inside, the Community Museum was installed, where a museography was made that has the following areas: Mayan, pre-Hispanic community (or local archaeological zone), pre-Hispanic and colonial burials, colonial haciendas, rites, festivals, and local traditions, and infants.
Finally, the delicious local cuisine, prepared by the traditional cooks of the community, will close the visit to this police station with a flourish.
The smell of the herbs burned underground that cover the containers where they prepare the cochinita or the black filling, among other dishes, will fill your senses and awaken your appetite, so that, with some warm and freshly made tortillas, you can enjoy the flavors of Mayan cuisine.
Yaxunah is considered to be part of the Mayan Villages of Yucatan program of the entity’s Secretariat for Tourism Development (Sefotur), with which it seeks to integrate a tourist circuit of indigenous communities and Mayan tourist centers in the State.
To organize the visit, first, it is essential to contact the cooperative either on Facebook as Parador Turístico Yaxunah or by WhatsApp at 985 114 0808.
Second, they must bring fresh clothes and comfortable shoes, a hat or cap for the walk in the archaeological zone and the town. To know the cenote, it is necessary to wear sandals and a bathing suit, if repellent or sunscreen is used, it is better to be ecological. Finally, it is essential to constantly hydrate.
The cooperative wants all its visitors to feel calm and confident that they are taking care of their health, which is why it has implemented strict health safety measures, such as the car disinfection process when entering the town, providing antibacterial gel, the mandatory use of face masks and taking the temperature through digital thermometers.