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New museums in Yucatan

Are you planning a trip to Merida or Valladolid on your next vacation? If so, here are two new museums you might want to visit.

First up in Merida is the Museum of Yucatecan Cuisine (Museo de la Gastronomía Yucateca). This restaurant and museum is a tasty introduction to the flavors of the Yucatan and the history of regional cuisine, from the days of the ancient Maya to the coming of the Spaniards and the Caribbean and Middle Eastern recipes introduced by later settlers.

The museum is set around a beautiful old courtyard and has exhibits of recipe ingredients, herbs, spices and recados, which are the spice mixes mixed with Seville orange juice and stock, and traditional kitchen utensils. There is also a replica of a Mayan village with its thatched homes, cooking hearth and a pib or baking pit used to cook the classic Yucatecan dish cochinita pibil, marinated, slow-roasted pork.

The museum is located on Calle 62 No. 466 x 55 & 57 in Merida. There is Jarana folk dancing on Thursdays and live music on Fridays.

The colonial town of Valladolid also has a new museum, which is a must if you are interested in Mexico’s rich indigenous culture. The Mexican Ethnic Clothing Museum (Museo de Ropa Etnica de Mexico) or MUREM showcases traditional clothing worn by Mexico’s indigenous groups in 12 different regions of the country.

There are over 60 traditional outfits from Yucatan, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Veracruz, Puebla, Hidalgo and other parts of central Mexico, Chihuahua, Nayarit, Durango and Jalisco on display and more than 14 of the country’s indigenous groups are represented.

Embroidered huipiles for daily use stand next to colorful, ribbon-bedecked ceremonial tunics, a jaguar fighter mask and costume and the famous china poblana dress with frills and a full skirt.

Some garments date from the pre-Hispanic period and haven’t changed much in a thousand years, reflecting ancient beliefs and symbols of the natural world. Other dresses have a European design, lace and frills and were introduced during the Colonial period.

MUREM is located on Calle 41 in Valladolid and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 

 

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Puerto Morelos municipality unveils its new logo

Get to know the new Puerto Morelos official logo presented by the municipal authorities in April.

Designed by David Espinoza Álvarez, the winning logo was selected by a jury after a competition to choose the municipality’s new image. It is a celebration of Puerto Morelos’ history and its natural treasures, both in the water and on dry land.

The shield features the iconic leaning lighthouse, a survivor of Hurrican Beulah in 1967, and a chicozapote tree with its zigzag cuts as a symbol of chicle gum harvesting, once an important economic activity in the villages of Leona Vicario and Central Vallarta. Other elements are the coral reef, the branches of a mangrove tree and water to symbolize cenotes and the sea.

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Travesia Sagrada Maya, the Sacred Mayan Journey to Cozumel

After six months of arduous dawn training sessions, on May 26, 300 oarsmen from Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen will board 30 canoes in the sheltered inlet at Xcaret ready to embark on the 2017 Travesia Sagrada Maya or Sacred Mayan Journey. They will be following the perilous sea route taken by ancient Mayan pilgrims who traveled to the sacred island of Cozumel (Kuzamil) to worship at the shrine of Ixchel, the goddess of fertility, childbirth and the moon and tides. Depicted as an old woman or a beautiful young maiden, Ixchel was also the patron of fishing, painting and weaving.

This is the eleventh year of the Sacred Mayan Journey, which is the representation of a pre-Hispanic pilgrimage and rituals from the Late Post-Classic period of Mayan history (A.D. 1250-1519). From the backdrop of a Kii’wik or Mayan market and rituals in honor of Ixchel to the clothing, headdresses and face paint worn by the priests and priestesses, the ruling family, dancers and oarsmen, everything has been carefully researched to make it as authentic as possible.

Xcaret Park is the location of the ancient port of Polé, once a Mayan trade center and the departure point for pilgrimages to Cozumel. At dawn on May 26, after a blessing from the priests, the canoes will depart for Cozumel. As the pilgrims’ families bid farewell a flock of scarlet macaws flies overhead in a salute to the rising sun. A fitting tribute as macaws and parrots were sacred birds in the Maya and other Mesoamerican cultures and were associated with the sun god.

The pilgrims make landfall on Cozumel at Chankanaab Park at around 1 p.m. and make their way to the shrine of Ixchel. They return to the mainland the following day and are greeted in Polé with great jubilation.

The Travesia Sagrada Maya originated as an initiative from the Experiencias Xcaret group to restore an ancient tradition and has been enthusiastically embraced by the people of the Mexican Caribbean and visitors from all around the world who have chosen to make their home here. This year, 38 oarsmen from Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Chile, Spain, Italy, France, United States, Canada, New Zealand, Russia, Switzerland and the Netherlands are taking part in the event.

If you would like to witness the Sacred Mayan Journey ask your Concierge for assistance.

Photos courtesy of Experiencias Xcaret

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Customs changes coming soon to Mexican airports

Pressing the button as you go through Customs in Cancun Airport and anxiously waiting to see if the green light flashes or the red light indicating that you need to step aside for an inspection may soon be a thing of the past. The Mexican government has announced the implementation of a pilot project in which international passengers’ luggage will be inspected by Customs agents using x-ray scanners in the luggage claim area, thus eliminating the traffic light system and customs declaration form.

Passengers who have items to declare will pay the customs duties after their luggage is scanned.

The pilot program was launched in Terminal 2 in Mexico City and will be implemented in Terminal 1 and in Cancun International Airport later this year. Los Cabos, Guadalajara and Monterrey will follow in 2018.

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New discovery at Chichen Itza

Archaeologists working for the Mexican Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have discovered that the Ossuary, another of the ancient temples at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Chichen Itza, is aligned according to the precise calculations of long lost astronomers. Like the Pyramid of Kukulcan, famous for the serpent of light and shadow that forms along the staircase on the days of the spring and fall Equinox, the Ossuary is also the site of a light and shadow occurrence twice a year, although less spectacular.

Located half way between the Pyramid of Kukulcan and The Observatory, the Ossuary is a 12-meter-high temple pyramid built over a cave. On May 23 and July 19, when the sun reaches its zenith and objects cast no shadows, the mouth of the cave is illuminated, possibly showing the path to Xibalba, the Mayan Underworld and the home of the gods.

 

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The Mexican Caribbean in Trip Advisor’s Top Destinations

Playa del Carmen has made the Travellers’ Choice list of the World’s Top 25 Destinations 2017 based on ratings from members of the Trip Advisor travel community. Playa Norte on Isla Mujeres is also included in the World’s Top 25 Beaches and Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Tulum and Cancun all appear in the Top 10 Destinations in Mexico.