Visit a Mayan community and experience a temazcal
For some coming to the Riviera Maya you look for unique ways to explore the local culture and also for unique experiences. This is a tour that takes you to a Mayan community and to experience a temazcal. This tour is a more authentic look at the culture and will provide you with a memorable experience. Here is our experience on this tour.
Our video of what it is like to visit this Mayan community and temazcal
One thing you are sure to notice in the video is how peaceful this area is. It adds to the experience with the temazcal. This tour also takes place at sunset which makes it even more magical.
What is a temazcal?
In many ancient cultures there are saunas, sweat lodges and the like. The idea of purifying the body, refreshing the mind or for other health benefits, are attributed to the temazcal culture.
In the photo below you will see a temazcal. Usually these are circular stone or cement structures that are about 4 to 5 feet tall in the center. They can very in size but often only have room for 6-15 people.
In front of this temazcal you can see the fire that is used to heat the stones. There is also a circular wall with four entrances. This is used for the Mayan temazcal ceremony. Each entrance represents the four cardinal points.
Learning about Mayan life
If you come to the Riviera Maya you almost forget that the name comes from the people that inhabited this area for thousands of years. The culture is very much alive and you will be able to see some aspects of Mayan culture still used today.
There are traditional houses that you can see and some of the tools and things used in the Mayan homes. You will also get a demonstration of handmaking tortillas. This is a staple of the Mayan diet, and if you have not tasted handmade tortillas, you will be impressed on how much better they are from the machine made ones. We even got to taste this fresh tortillas with a spread made of seeds and it was delicious.
What is it like to be in a temazcal
The temazcal here is for 10 people. Once you enter, you sit around the center on woven mats. In the center is a slight dip in the floor where the hot rocks go. Once all of the heated rocks are added into the temazcal, a cloth flap is placed over the door.
There is only a solitary candle and the glow of the rocks that light the temazcal. Both of which will extinguish during your time in the temazcal. This leaves the inside of the temazcal black. There is verbal communication so everyone knows that everyone is fine inside. There is also verbal interaction so this is not a solitary sitting in the dark and heat of the temazcal.
A bucket with water and herbs is placed in the temazcal when you go in and this is used during your time inside. The water is splatted on the rocks and a steam fills the temazcal with slight aromatic scents.
This temazcal is warm to hot, but tourist temazcal temperature. This is good for beginner or intermediate temazcal people. Your overall time inside the temazcal will be about 30 minutes. You will sweat a lot and this is why you wear a bathing suit into the temazcal.
Is this a religious experience?
Even though this temazcal experience is directed by a shaman, this can be what you want to make of it. Like anything in life you can either view it to observe, participate or take from it what you want. Some people go to temazcals for health benefits, other for the group experience and others for a spiritual experience.
What comes next after coming out of the temazcal?
Once you exit the temazcal you will feel the night air cooler, even though you are in the warm Caribbean air. Once you adjust a little you will go to the nearby cenote for a cooling swim.
You will walk down the wooden steps to the island in the middle of the cenote. The crystal clear waters will refresh you. The remote location will make the experience all the more special as you glance up at the shining stars.
After you cool and refresh yourself, you can climb back up the stairs and change clothes for dinner.
A Mayan cuisine dinner is served
After you come from the cenote, a dinner is served. Here you can have Mayan dishes served with hibiscus flower tea.
How to book this temazcal tour
If this experience sounds like something you would like to do while in the Riviera Maya, then you should enquire about booking by calling either:
- +52 984-147-0606
- +52 984-190-0847
English and Spanish is spoken.
This tour includes transportation to and from your hotel and dinner. This is an evening tour. The approximate time is from 5:00pm-10:00pm. Bring a bathing suit, towel and change of clothes.
Have you been in a temazcal? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below, we would love to hear from you.