On May 17, after rituals to appease the ancient Mayan gods, teams of oarsmen from all over the Mexican Caribbean and beyond will board authentic wooden canoes and set sail from Xcaret on the Sacred Crossing to Cozumel. They will be following the sea route that was taken by pilgrims thousands of years ago as they made the perilous voyage from the port of Pole (now Xcaret) to the holy island of Cozumel to worship at the shrine of Ixchel, the goddess of fertility and childbirth. The return voyage will take place on May 19.

Activities associated with the Mayan Sacred Crossing will take place on May 17, 18, and 19 at Xcaret, Cozumel and Playa del Carmen. This year’s Travesia Sagrada Maya is even more significant as December 21, 2012 marks the end of a cycle in the ancient Mayan calendar and the dawn of a new era.