In Mayan Territory: Exploring Earth, Sky & Underworld

| August 13, 2013

Alex and Marko delve into local customs and traditions in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

Jumping for Joy in Riviera Maya (Credit: Vagabrothers)

After a very early start in Vancouver, the brothers jetted down south to discover balmier climes. Headed to the Riviera Maya – a sandy oasis dotted along the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico’s Caribbean coastline – the boys could hardly contain their excitement. Set upon discovering the world of the ancient Maya civilisation, Marko and Alex hoped to penetrate the three layers of their existence – Earth, Sky and Underworld.

Ruins of Tulum (Credit: Vagabrothers)

A Mayan Portrait Credit: Vagabrothers)

A Basking Iguana, Tulum (Credit: Vagabrothers)

As a destination draped in Mesoamerican history and archeological ruins, the boys began their trip by exploring the earthly domain of the Mayan people, starting at the ancient temples of Tulum.  Nestled upon the coast just south of Playa del Carmen – the Riviera Maya’s entertainment centre – this accessible spot proved to be the perfect place to begin their adventure.  After a lengthy dip in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, swimming around with the turtles and marine life of Akumal Bay, the boys set out on their next excursion.

Travelling to Coba, a lesser known archeological dig engulfed by the rugged Mexican jungle, Marko and Alex faced their first challenge: Nohoch Mul. Towering above the whole Yucatan Peninsula, Nohoch Mul just so happened to be the tallest pyramid of the region. Facing his fear of heights, Marko scrambled to the top to join his brother at the panoramic peak of the crumbling structure. Lofty heights once considered to be akin to the heavens by the Mayan people, the Vagabrothers had unwittingly unveiled another strata of ancient civilisation.

Climbing Nohoch Mul (Credit: Vagabrothers)

Beach Bar Bliss, Playa del Carmen (Credit: Vagabrothers)

Discovering Ceviche (Credit: Vagabrothers)

Having worked up quite an appetite during their climb, the boys then nipped across to El Camello Jr to sample some local delicacies. This included an enormous platter of ceviche, a Mexican favourite of raw seafood seared organically in lime juice. Their Cheshire-cat grins in the photo say it all.

Next up on the bucket list agenda was swimming in a cenote – limestone caverns or sinkholes found scattered all across the Maya Riviera region. Believed by the Maya to be sacred portals to the underworld, the brothers delved into the remote pools to explore jagged rock formations, technicoloured fish and dappled light formations dancing across the water’s edge.


Cenote, Riviera Maya (Credit: Vagbrothers)

Post Cave-Dive Smiles (Credit: Vagabrothers)

For their final act the boys made a resounding connection with the Mayan community, taking part in a ceremonial cleansing ritual. Organised by local expert, Keshi, Marko and Alex were invited within a traditional earthen sweat lodge, known as a Temazcal. Bathed by two healing shamans, the boys drank ceremonial wine, paid tribute to their ancestors and then stepped into the lodge for a 30-minute steam session. Ridding the boys of all impurities and negative-thoughts, this cleansing act will undoubtedly put them in good stead for their next destination.

Temascal - A Mayan Steam Room (Credit: Vagabrothers)


The Vagabrothers and the Shaman Brothers (Credit: Vagabrothers)

Stay tuned to find out where Marko and Alex go next…

For more Marko and Alex action, however, here’s a behind-the-scenes sneak peek at their time spent in the Riviera Maya:

Many thanks to  and Aventuras Mayas for showcasing the very best of the Riviera Maya.

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Category: Biggest Baddest Bucket List

About the Author ()

Unfortunately nicknamed the Hoary Marmot after discovering this cute little critter in North America, Emily enjoys the occasional banterous office exchange. Forming a contributing part of the crazy content team, her particular passions lie in art, cinema, theatre and of course travel. Reigning Italy above all else, she dreams of fleeing the country to float upon a cultural cloud on the continent.

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