El Mayab road It was born as the first long-distance trail in Yucatan and Mexico designed for hikers and cyclists. A very close, quiet and safe way to get to know this beautiful land of the Mayab, getting closer to its people and landscapes like never before.
Personally, we are fond of walking long-distance trails, we treasure paths such as El Camino de Santiago (Spain), the Jomson Trek in the Annapurnas / Himalayas (Nepal), West Highland (Scotland) or the wonderful GR and PR that pass through Catalonia, where we started walking (they are large and small signposted routes that you can do independently).
For us, walking is a wonderful way to get to know places, vital in many of our trips, where we usually spend a few days walking. Walking the Camino del Mayab has been a great gift of life that we already carry in our heart backpack.
Content of the article
- THE WAY OF MAYAB
- WHERE THE CAMINO DEL MAYAB IS LOCATED IN MÉRIDA, YUCATÁN
- WHO CAN WALK THE MAYAB ROAD
- HOW I GET MY PASSPORT FOR THE MAYAB ROAD
- IS THE PATH OF MAYAB SIGNED?
- MAP OF THE MAYAB TRAILS AND DISTANCES BETWEEN TOWN
- HOW TO TRAVEL THE PATHS OF THE MAYAB
- USEFUL DATA TO PLAN THE STAGES OF THE MAYAB ROAD
- MAYAB ROAD IN A COMPLETE CROSSING OF SEVERAL DAYS OR BY STAGES AT DIFFERENT TIMES?
- WHERE TO SLEEP ON THE CAMINO DEL MAYAB
- WHERE TO EAT ON THE MAYAB ROAD
- THE GREETING OF THE MAYAB ROAD: BIX A BEEL 🙋♀️
- TIPS FOR THE WAY OF MAYAB
- WHO IS BEHIND THE CAMINO DEL MAYAB
THE WAY OF MAYAB
El Mayab road was born as the first long-distance trail in Yucatán (and Mexico) for hikers and cyclists. In Mexico there is very little hiking culture despite having mountains and incredible landscapes for lovers of walking. So when we heard about the Camino del Mayab we were very excited because we believe that the trails and crossings are very attractive tourist activities for those who like sustainable and nature trips.
The project is inspired by the Xacobea route, the well-known Camino de Santiago in Spain, one of the most traveled and special long-distance trails that exists. The Mayab Passport is the Compostela, the document where your passage through the tour will be stamped.
This 115-kilometer path will take you through trails between Mayan communities, haciendas, cenotes and archaeological remains. An opportunity to visit Yucatan as we have never been able to do before, since there is no infrastructure in place.
The team Mayab road made a dream come true for us. We are deeply grateful for your work and very happy to be able to enjoy it. As soon as we knew that the project was going to start working, it was as if the stars were aligned to do the Camino, being the first hikers to do it in the autonomous mode.
They gave us the opportunity to be the first walkers to have made the Camino del Mayab autonomously. And it is something of which we are very proud, not so much for the fact of being the first, but for the confidence and synergy of teaming up with a project and friends with whom we coincide in many aspects. Supporting and enjoying the Camino del Mayab is something that gives us a great smile and happiness.
WHERE THE CAMINO DEL MAYAB IS LOCATED IN MÉRIDA, YUCATÁN
The tour is near the city of Mérida. The first point is the town of Dzoyaxché, which is located within the Cuxtal Ecological Reserve. Cuxtal is a lung of the city just 25 kilometers from Mérida.
The 115 kilometers that have been traced to date, cover an area especially known for its old farms and cenotes. You can enjoy very beautiful landscapes, but the icing on the land are its people, and approaching the Mayan communities on this path is essential.
WHO CAN WALK THE MAYAB ROAD
The Camino del Mayab is designed to:
- and runners
All those people who love nature and adventure who have a minimum of physical shape and desire. Any activity that requires effort is always recommended to have a minimum physical condition. The good thing is that there are many ways to enjoy the Camino del Mayab without being especially demanding challenges. So do not be scared by the adventure because we are going to see the facilities and options of the Camino del Mayab.
The obvious thing is that if you don't like cycling or walking, this is not a tour for you. If on the contrary you like it, you are on the right path 😁
HOW I GET MY PASSPORT FOR THE MAYAB ROAD
Camino del Mayab was born thanks to the arduous effort and work of a team that is committed to sustainable tourism close to the communities, where it is intended to strengthen community tourism. Part of the communities where the road passes will be able to grow thanks to our passage there, whether it be buying in a store, visiting the cenotes, spending the night or any interaction of cultural exchange. Everything adds up on the Camino, remember that in your walk.
To begin, you must obtain your Camino del Mayab passport, a passport that gives you access to adventure.
- HOW I GET THE PASSPORT: contact directly with Mayab road or on your page Facebook
- WHAT SERVICES DOES THE PASSPORT GIVE YOU: permission to walk the trails of the Camino del Mayab for 1 year, to use the places to spend the night, as well as to access the hydration points in the different towns.
- PASSPORT PRICE: the price is 1000 Mexican pesos. Half of its price is destined to contribute to the conservation of the forest through the Network of Reserves Voluntarily Destined for Conservation (so far 593 hectares). As well as the maintenance of the roads to make them safer and more enjoyable for you.
- PASSPORT STAMPS: along the Camino you can get your stamps at the points that you will see indicated in the same passport. Up to 10 stamps that confirm that you passed through the destination until you reach the end of your journey.
- RULES OF THE ROAD: there are a series of basic regulations that are attached to the passport so that you can follow the directions correctly. For example, it is very important to close the fences that you find in some section of the road, or not to extract or take natural materials. They are very simple, it is a matter of a minimum of environmental education standards. Of course, never leave garbage, let's all row together towards an environmental education that makes us love our Planet better.
- TRAVEL INSURANCE: once you obtain your passport, it is very important that 24 hours before starting the journey you notify the team of organizers that you are going to start your adventure. In this way, the assistance travel insurance will be activated in case you require it at any time.
IS THE PATH OF MAYAB SIGNED?
The Camino del Mayab is signposted in parts, but the signposting is not the best way to guide you. The signs do help, but it is not designed to cover the entire area with signs.
- HOW DO I GUIDE ME ON THE WAY OF MAYAB? Once you go to start your adventure with your passport in hand, the people in charge of the project will give you the application so that you can install it and serve as a guide.
- HOW DOES THE APP WORK? You must activate the location on your phone so that the application will guide you through the satellite signal throughout the tour. This means that even if you don't have an internet signal at points along the way, the application continues to work perfectly guiding you. This also means that you don't have to go with the activated data on your phone. Disconnecting from the internet world is possibly also part of the way 😊
- OUR OPINION OF THE CAMINO DEL MAYAB APP: perfect, you must follow the trails with the application, and that is the fundamental thing. You will see that the asphalt sections are marked in gray, and the trails themselves in blue. With the activation of your location, you will see how a blue ball follows the path: that blue ball is you in motion. Most of the time you do not need to use it, only at some point where there are junctions and at the entrances to the towns it becomes more essential to see if you are following the correct path.
MAP OF THE MAYAB TRAILS AND DISTANCES BETWEEN TOWN
In this map you can see the distances between the towns. Distances help you plan your itinerary. In the section on the stages we give you more information so that you can plan your itinerary properly.
- DZOYAXCHÉ-YAXNIC: 3,7 km In this section you can visit the Dzoyaxché farm and Tebacal cenote (we did not see it because we walked this section at night). The trail is on a dirt road.
- YAXNIC-TZACALÁ: 10,7 Hacienda Yaxnic in the town. Trail on dirt road.
- TZACALÁ-PEBÁ: 7,3 km The Tzacalá farm in the town. Dirt road and a long stretch of compacted dirt road, harder on the ground. The arrival to Pebá by asphalt.
- PEBÁ-YAXCOPOIL: 5,6 km Asphalt section, you will cross the main road for a moment. It is the heaviest point for us, the asphalt and hiking do not fit well. In Pebá is the Sambulá cenote.
- YAXCOPOIL-SAN ANTONIO DE MULIX: 10,6 km Hacienda Yaxcopoil, one of the best known in Yucatan. Leaving Yaxcopoil there is a stretch of dirt trail and then you return to the asphalt by a secondary road to San Antonio Mulix.
- SAN ANTONIO DE MULIX-OCHIL: 4,6 km In Mulix there are two cenotes 2 km from the cabins where they offer lodging. The section to Ochil will be done along a dirt path that is currently not enabled.
- OCHIL-ABALÁ: 3,8 km Hacienda Ochil in the town. Another stretch of asphalt somewhat heavy for hikers.
- ABALÁ-YUNKÚ: 13,6 km From Abalá to the Kankirixché cenote detour it is asphalt, from here you return to a dirt path, much better. If you want to visit the Kankirixché cenote, beautiful, you must walk 3 kilometers there, 6 in total. These dirt roads are beautiful, both the one that goes to Kankirixché and the one that goes to Yunkú. Just before Yunkú, the cenote San Marcos is next to the trail, very beautiful despite its horrible cement staircase. Hacienda Yunkú, where you can stay, still has a beautiful cenote on its premises.
- YUNKÚ-MUCUYCHÉ: 5,5 km this section of the road is better to do it with the local guide at present, as it is not yet well signposted. Pass through the Yaal Utzil and Chihuohol cenotes, both very beautiful.
- MUCUYCHÉ-UAYALCEH DE PEÓN: 10,9 km About 2 kilometers after Mucuyché, the dirt trail begins, where you pass some apiary and several cornfields.
- UAYALCEH DE PEÓN-LEPÁN: 10 km You will pass the Hacienda Uayalcech. The section from Uayalceh to Lepán is an old truc road, wagons that moved on rails to transport the henequen product from one hacienda to another. It is a beautiful stretch with natural tunnels made from the trees of the mountain. In Lepán you have the beautiful Ch'a Chaac cenote, ideal to relax at the end of the day.
- LEPÁN-XCANCHACÁN: 11,6 km Another precious trail along the old train track that linked this area of haciendas with Progreso. Enough pebbles of the typical of the train tracks and old wood of the tracks. There is a spectacular cenote on one side of the road, some buzzards may mark the place for you.
- XCANCHACÁN-MAYAPÁN: 5,5 km The Xcanchacán farm. The last stretch of the Camino del Mayab takes you between ranches, so wait for several gifts from the cows in this area, look where you step 😉 Something very important is that you will find several fences, they are the limits between ranches: it is essential that you close the fences once you pass them. Remember that we make the trails together, and this rule is essential for the proper use of the trails and that they are for a long time.
HOW TO TRAVEL THE PATHS OF THE MAYAB
There are two essential ways to travel the Camino del Mayab whether you are a hiker or a cyclist.
- ALL INCLUSIVE PACKAGES: this modality includes all the services that you will require on the way: the guidance of one of the team members, accommodation, transfers to the starting and ending point of the tours, meals. You can put together your package according to the itinerary you propose to do, they facilitate reservations and logistics. The team solves all the logistics for you and provides you with its knowledge so that your path is successful and pleasant, adapting to your condition and desire to do the path.
- AUTONOMOUSLY: in this modality and with your passport in hand (which includes the permits to stay in the indicated places, the accident insurance, the application and the use of the trails) you can do the Camino del Mayab at your own pace . Likewise, the hosting services can be booked through their website, as well as transfers if you are going to require them.
Being the first people to have traveled the Camino del Mayab autonomously gives us tremendous satisfaction. Being a special part of the Camino del Mayab is something that we will always carry in our hearts. These pair of Hobbits are very happy with the experience: it has only been a couple of days that we finished and we want to pass on our experience and information so that your path is great.
USEFUL DATA TO PLAN THE STAGES OF THE MAYAB ROAD
The trails have no unevenness, within the scale of difficulty they are low, of an affordable level. There are sections of hard land and others are soft, there are sections of asphalt, some of stone and earth, and others with pebbles of railway line.
There is no section of more than 11 kilometers long where you will not find assistance. This gives you a great margin of tranquility for those of you who doubt when starting the tour.
- KILOMETERS PER HOUR WALKING: it is estimated that you walk on the flat at about 5 km per hour. We, for example, walk more slowly, at about 4 kilometers per hour with the weight of the backpack. You must have your reference.
- KILOMETERS PER HOUR BY BICYCLE: it is estimated that the speed by bicycle between 10-15 kilometers per hour with normal physical condition in a walk plan.
According to these data, if you were by bike it would be 1 hour for 10 kilometers, and walking for approximately 2 hours. We are sure these challenges are within everyone's reach 👌
Once you have your passport, remember that you have the right to travel the Mayab road for a year. You can plan your adventure in several ways: either complete the Camino del Mayab or do it in different stages. There is no problem with it, the question is to enjoy the Camino, it is not a competition, unless you dedicate yourself to compete, of course.
MAYAB ROAD IN A COMPLETE CROSSING OF SEVERAL DAYS OR BY STAGES AT DIFFERENT TIMES?
The way, like life, belongs to one. You plan it and discover it at your own pace and way. Each path is different, make it yours. In our case, we plan to walk the entire route for 4 days. Surely if you have no experience of walking, 4 days is somewhat demanding. The same for cyclists can be in 2 days if you have previous experience.
- COMPLETE CROSSING THE CAMINO DEL MAYAB: many hikers and cyclists like to walk a few days in a row. In this case you must have a higher level of planning and knowledge than if you do it in stages. The Camino del Mayab team has the experience to help you with the logistics. We consider that 4 days walking you must have previous experience and condition. From 5 or 6 days it is more affordable. For cyclists we consider 2 days of previous experience level and physical condition.
- FOR SECTIONS OF DIFFERENT DAYS THE WAY: remember that your passport is valid for 1 year, so you can consider the experience of walking or going out to shoot in several sections of different days. You can choose to do short stretches on weekends that you can. In this way, the demand is not so great and you can take advantage of a stage to visit the cenotes, farms and communities with a break. There is a lot to discover in the stages, it is very entertaining.
In our experience on long-distance trails, hikers do not usually take very long breaks on the way: the idea is to leave early and do it in one go for the day. With the normal breaks during the stage, but they are not longer than 30 minutes.
In this way you have the afternoon to rest, regain strength and enjoy the surroundings of the accommodation. On the Camino del Mayab many lodges are located near cenotes, so it seemed perfect to walk early and arrive after noon at the end of the stage to eat delicious, bathe in the cenote and rest.
Avoid the hottest hours to walk, especially in the hottest months in Yucatan (from April to August)
The Camino del Mayab in that sense is yours, remember it to plan your itinerary, it only depends on you, your time, availability and strength. As simple as that.
It is not intended that we know for people with disabilities. We are sure that the project team will know how to assess case by case and offer the necessary help and information for those people with disabilities who want to do the Camino.
In addition to distances, a key factor is the places with accommodation. In the next section we see this crucial point.
WHERE TO SLEEP ON THE CAMINO DEL MAYAB
There are different populations to spend the night. From the website of Mayab road you can book hosting services. Remember that if you do it with the all-inclusive package they plan all the logistics, including accommodation. If you do it autonomously, I recommend you verify that there is a place to stay.
For those of us who consider doing the Camino del Mayab continuously in stages, the issue of sleeping is right now the most critical point on the Camino del Mayab. We are convinced that more options will appear as the project grows, but keep this point in mind to plan well.
We recommend that if you do the journey in the autonomous mode, book in the lodgings one day before your arrival so that they are prepared
- DZOYAXCHÉ: the tour begins here, and the Kin Balam camp offers you accommodation in a tent or in one of the 5 cabins with bathroom and shower. For us it was perfect because we started walking early in the morning so as not to suffer the sunniest hours in our first stage, which was long in kilometers.
- PEBÁ: in the ecotourism center of the Sambulá cenote in Pebá they offer space for a tent. There are bathrooms, showers and a kitchen. They offer food and you can also enjoy the beautiful Sambulá cenote.
- YAXCOPOIL: the Yaxcopoil ranch offers two rooms. A luxury of place to enjoy the Camino. The night is at 100 dollars, you can see their services on the website of the Hacienda Yaxcopoil if you're interested.
- SAN ANTONIO DE MULIX: here are the Xuux Eek cabins managed by the Caamal family. Just 2 kilometers from the cabins there are two beautiful cenotes, the X-Batún and the Dzombakal. We finished stage 1 here and it was a success. We have known the place for years and it is one of those destinations that we like. We leave you more information so that you know Xuux Eek and surroundings.
- HACIENDA YUNKÚ: here they offer you different types of lodging, from camping, Mayan cabins to rooms. There is also a restaurant service and they have their own cenote that is spectacular. Ideal for spending the night, an excellent option also to rest and take strength to continue the journey.
- UAYALCEH: there is a camp with restrooms. You must notify for meals if you go on your own and bring your own tent
- LEPÁN: the ecotourism camp offers tent huts or sleeping in a hammock. We took the option of hammocks because there were no mats in the tent. We miss a good shower to clean the day of effort, there is only one outdoor shower and little water comes out. They offer food and access to a very nice cenote.
We will tell you about all the places if we can in detail so that you also take into account the type of situations that you are going to find. We will update the information as the Camino del Mayab grows and takes on more shape and body. We insist that accommodation for those of us who plan the route on an ongoing basis is vital.
WHERE TO EAT ON THE MAYAB ROAD
We have seen that all accommodations offer food, but you can also take the option of stopping for breakfast or eating in the different Mayan communities that you cross. If you do not know this land I tell you that it is very easy to find homemade food in the towns. The Mayab road team offers you different alternatives where you can consume in the villages.
We recommend if you make the trip to take energy-type foods with you such as peanuts, fruits such as bananas (which you also find in the greengrocers of the towns) or the energy bars that many cyclists and walkers use. We would go out very early to walk, and we had to plan what to bring for the forces.
If you do the all-inclusive route, you shouldn't worry about the food because they plan for you. Although it is always good to be informed to know your alternatives.
THE WAY OF MAYAB GREETING: BIX A BEEL 🙋♀️
There are many emblematic roads that have their particular greeting. Just as on the Camino de Santiago the pilgrims we greet each other with the well-known Good Pilgrim Way, or as we use the Namaste (literally means I revere you) on the mountain roads of the Himalayas in Nepal, here in the Mayab we have a greeting in the Mayan language: BIX A BEEL.
Bix a beel is the usual greeting among Maya speakers when they meet, it literally means how is your way? or how are you? Although we do not know how to speak Mayan, it is courteous to know not even a few expressions for when you come across people. Yucatec Mayan is one of the most widely spoken languages in Mexico, the communities you cross on your way are Mayan speakers.
And if you learn this language a little more on your way, it is always something that will enrich you.
TIPS FOR THE WAY OF MAYAB
Four more things to add to the video:
- WALKING CANE: there are hikers who find it very comfortable to carry walking sticks.
- DRESSINGS or ANTI-BLISTER CURITES: it is a kind of silicone bandages (plasters) to cover wounds. Once you remove the liquid from the sore you put it on top and it makes you second skin. It sticks for a few days, it doesn't move like a band-aid, it sticks to your skin. It makes a difference for you to walk, highly recommended, really. In Mexico they sell in Decathlon and through Amazon: we give you the link of the anti-blister band-aids in case you are interested in purchasing (highly recommended).
- DIRTY CLOTHES BAG: we forgot in the video, but it is very important that you separate the dirty clothes from the clean well to enjoy the clean change.
- LAMP OR FLASHLIGHT: our option was a small headlamp since we did some sections at night.
Always do stretches before you start walking and at the end. This detail will ensure that you do not have muscle pain (stiffness) in your walk, and you will appreciate it. A few good stretches avoid being stiff, there is no trick 👌
WHO IS BEHIND THE CAMINO DEL MAYAB
Camino del Mayab is a project that arises from the team that makes up Eco warriors, who offer sustainable tourism with a vision of conservation of natural and cultural heritage. These young entrepreneurs have been growing in ideas and projects. Thanks to them we can enjoy the Camino del Mayab, a project where there is a lot of work behind the scenes.
The agreement of the roads between communities, the training, the agreements and a myriad of details that have been overcome, has led them to this project that has just started openly to all those who want to enjoy it this November 2020. Not everything this bad year had to be bad.
We believe that the communities where the Mayab trails run will be greatly benefited. The close knowledge of the Mayan culture is one of the great qualities of this long-distance trail in Yucatan.
Once again we want to thank you for your work on a project that benefits many of us. It has been a pride and a pleasure to join paths in this experience. Personally, dear Beto, we send you a warm hug, what a great reunion friend, to remember ❤ Let's go for more equipment, our support and affection for all the successes that await you.
Fausto and I just had a great time on our walk. Happy to form a team with him, our complicity, our effort and our steps. I can't imagine a better life partner to share so much. I estimate life Fausto, he has been fantastic for a month.
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