Mexico Archives – Crown Cruise Vacations
When a shaman wearing a loin cloth and feathered headdress welcomed us, we knew this was not going to be a typical museum visit.
It wasn’t. Our tour of Kakaw Chocolate Factory in Costa Maya, Mexico, was entertaining, informative and delicious. The three guides were excellent actors who seemed to delight in the characters they were playing – the shaman, Sister Rita the nun and Dr. Adamstein the mad scientist.
The cruise ship crowd gathered below gave an audible gasp. The dancers dangled upside down going round and round the pole until they finally reached the ground.
The fifth dancer stayed atop the pole on a platform playing flute and drum as the dancers descended to loud applause.
“I saw it on TV but it is much more exciting to see in person,” said Marilyn Anderson of Florida. “No way would I do that.”
The Mexican Pole Dancers is a popular performance when cruise ships dock in Cozumel. Many of the tours offered as shore excursions include a chance to see the dance and tip the daring dancers.
The Danza de los Voladores (Dance of the Flyers) or Palo Volador (Pole Flying) is an ancient ritual still performed in a modified form in various parts of Mexico.
According to one tale, the dance was originally created to ask the gods to end a severe drought. Supposedly, the dance was done, rain did fall, the drought ended and crops grew again.
The ceremony has been named an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO to help the ritual survive in the modern world.
Story and photo by Jackie Sheckler Finch
“Some people believe that,” says guide Alex Cab. “But neither one of those things is true.”
Nor is it true that Mayans no longer exist.
“I’m a Mayan,” Alex says. “You can’t say that the Mayans are all dead because I’m still here. I am of mixed blood but I am a Mayan. It is the Mayan culture, civilization and knowledge that has disappeared. That is gone.”
They call it a friendly place. In fact, Frommer’s calls Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo the friendliest resort destination in Mexico. Located on the Pacific coast, about150 miles north of Acapulco, and features wonderful beaches and rolling mountains. The generally good weather makes Ixtapa a perfect sun destination as well, with wonderful watersports including great kayaking offshore.