In Muna, the highest point in the state of Yucatán, a park called El Mirador is dedicated to the aluxes, those small mythical beings of Mayan lore.
Inspired by ancient lore, artisans, Mayan priests and other locals have set up an ecological park dedicated to their culture.
El Mirador, which borders the Uxmal archaeological zone, is a remote and relatively verdant slice of the Maya world. Its operators hope that these knee-high stone carvings will add a little magic to a park that new highways have bypassed on the Ruta Puuc.
From an overlook, La Sierrita, about 19 meters above sea level, visitors can enjoy the Yucatecan landscape. From there, guests walk or bicycle through a botanical garden filled with “enchanted stones.”
Members of the community consider the aluxes guardians of the mountains and caves. If angered, they can also be vengeful, according to legend.
To appease the aluxes, an altar is strewn with offerings, such as jewelry, coins and candy.
Behind the main altar is access to the Gruta del Alux, a six-meter-high aluminum staircase that leads to a dark grotto. Flashlights are advised.
Nearby, an artisan workshop, where wood and stones have been carved for decades, supplies a small tienda. Mayan-style drums are for sale, like the traditional tunkules, whose musical use dates from the pre-Columbian era, as well as the zacatán or huehuetl, a large drum made with a hollowed-out trunk. Rattles and the popular rain sticks are also fashioned.
A master craftsman, Pedro Ayuso Vela, said in an interview for Notimex news service that the workshop helps keep El Mirador going while word of mouth brings an increasing number of visitors.
The park is a magnet for May culture, growing as a center that promotes the beliefs and rituals of the Mayan people. Last Sunday, the site hosted a ceremony to mark the beginning of the Maya New Year, which was attended by x’menes (Mayan priests) from various points of Yucatán territory.
“Today we went through a complicated time because the changes that have been made in the roads of the state networks have taken Muna out of many of the traditional tours of the Puuc Route,” said Ayuso Vela, “so we hope that this new offer of cultural and adventure tourism also be promoted by tourism authorities at all levels within and outside our borders.”