Travesia Sagrada Maya 2018 in Xcaret by Ael Becker Weddings

Travesia Sagrada Maya : Los Elegidos

In an effort to preserve Mayan Traditions, Xcaret has hosted every year, for the past 12 years, The Sacred Mayan Journey. Each one has been special, however, La Travesia Sagrada Maya “Los Elegidos” 2018 came with a twist …

Before becoming one of the most popular attractions in the Riviera Maya, Xcaret (then known as Polé), was a trading port for the ancient Maya. Leaving the small inlet in hand-carved wood canoes, the Mayans traveled over 30 miles to the Island of Cozumel (ancient Kuzamil) to trade and worship Ixchel, the Mayan Goddess of the moon and fertility. The main purpose of the journey was to bring offerings to Ixchel and receive her divine message to be shared with all the villagers.

Travesia Sagrada Maya 2018. Ael Becker Weddings

“Los Elegidos” leaving Xcaret behind, early morning. Travesia Sagrada Maya 2018

The Travesia Sagrada Maya is not a race or a competition but a profound spiritual journey where the “canoeros” become family and depend on each other to make it safely back to land.

Travesia Sagrada Maya 2018. Ael Becker Weddings

Canoeros on their way to Cozumel. Sacred Mayan Journey

For the Mayas, the ever-changing ocean represented a primary food and transportation source as well as the entrance to Xibalbá. The sacred underworld of death and devastation, therefore, can only be entered by those brave at heart and with the utmost respect.

This year, over 300 “canoeros” trained for six long months for their life-changing journey. For some, it’s all about the challenge but for many of them, it has more to do with tradition, healing and even honoring a lost loved one.

Travesia Sagrada Maya 2018 in Xcaret by Ael Becker Weddings

Travesia Sagrada Maya 2018

Travesia Sagrada Maya 2018. Ael Becker Weddings

Canoeros arriving to the Island of Cozumel. Sacred Mayan Journey 2018

So why was this 2018 Travesia different for me?

For one, it’s the first time that La Travesia Sagrada Maya had to change dates last minute due to extreme weather conditions.

It was also the first time in years that I was missing my #CanoEra, my brave sister, Era, who loved the ocean and had completed six Travesias Sagradas Mayas in years past. I remember waking up each year at around two in the morning to watch her leave Xcaret with a smile on her face and excitement in her eyes. I always cried as I watched her canoe disappear into the ocean because I knew how hard she had trained, how much it meant to her and how much she loved being part of this tradition. She always came back safely, exhausted, sunburnt but at the same time renewed and stronger.

Travesia Sagrada Maya 2018. Ael Becker Weddings

My sister Era excited to start one of her Sacred Mayan Journeys.

Era passed away suddenly in May of 2018 and I believe it’s no coincidence that La Travesia Sagrada Maya “Los Elegidos” 2018 (elegidos meaning the chosen ones), was changed to fall on her birthday!

On June 2nd 2018, with a brave heart, my family and I boarded the Pacific Breeze Catamaran (thanks Alex, Adriana and Ana for the invite), with a large picture of Era smiling. Our mission was to give courage and accompany the canoes of La Travesia Sagrada Maya 2018 –  something my sister would have loved to do.

Travesia Sagrada Maya 2018. Ael Becker Weddings

Honoring Era, la #CanoEra during the Sacred Mayan Journey 2018

Travesia Sagrada Maya 2018. Ael Becker Weddings

Era’s fellow canoeros carrying her “remo” and a pink floaty in her honor.

Overwhelmed with emotions, I witnessed over 30 canoeros stop mid-ocean to show respect and appreciation for their fellow “CanoEra”. Carrying one of her “remos” (oars), singing happy birthday (video on Facebook), cheering for her and tossing white, red and yellow petals in her honor is how we said goodbye to a true warrior.

Travesia Sagrada Maya 2018. Ael Becker Weddings

Honoring la #CanoEra on her birthday. Travesia Sagrada Maya 2018

Travesia Sagrada Maya 2018. Ael Becker Weddings

Last goodbye to Era la #CanoEra.

Travesia Sagrada Maya 2018. Ael Becker Weddings

Canoeros finally in Cozumel. Travesia Sagrada Maya 2018

It was a bitter-sweet journey but also a beautiful learning experience. Thanks, Era for being such a great example and thanks Xcaret for keeping this tradition alive.

To learn more about the Travesia Sagrada Maya visit:



  • Adriana Quintanilla June 7, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    querida Ael… que hermosa reseña de esta tan especial Travesía Sagrada Maya 2018… estoy agradecida con Dios por haberme dado la oportunidad de formar parte de esta maravillosa forma de honrar la memoria de nuestra querida hermanita-canoEra… en mi, Era deja el mensaje de como se debe vivir la vida: intensamente… siempre… en todas partes… con todo el mundo… y así la llevaré siempre en mi corazón… ahoy!!!! … espero que el próximo año podamos de nuevo estar en el mar, en el Pacific Breeze, para celebrar un año de su partida y nuestro compromiso de continuar con su legado!!!… un fuerte abrazo a toda la familia!!!

    • aelbeckerweddings June 7, 2018 at 5:12 pm

      Gracias Adriana, por la invitación, tu amor y entusiasmo!!! Tu fuiste una parte fundamental de esta ofrenda y estoy infitimante agradecida de que nuestros caminos se hayan cruzado. Ahoy!!!

  • Ana June 17, 2018 at 5:43 am

    La travesía siempre nos trae mensajes y los de este año fueron muy claros y contundentes: hay que exprimir la vida tal y como lo hacía Era porque solo estamos de paso por aquí! Un honor que vinieran al Pacific Breeze y nos permitieran ser parte de esa ceremonia para la canoEra!! En el mar nis voleremos a ver!😍

    • aelbeckerweddings June 18, 2018 at 12:59 pm

      Asi es!!! Gracias por ser parte del proceso Anita 😉

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    […] A special tribute to my sister #Canoera in our 2018’s Altar de Muertos. Read about her TRAVESIA SAGRADA MAYA.  […]


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