But a growing chorus of archaeologists in Mexico and abroad are now expressing serious concerns regarding the Mexican government’s commitment to preserving these ancient sites.
These voices have only become louder since the government announced the construction of large overpasses over structurally unstable terrain above previously undiscovered cenotes.
What makes matters even more complicated is that within these cenotes, archaeologists have now discovered previously unknown archaeological sites of extraordinary cultural and scientific value.
“Sites like this are not exactly a dime a dozen. We have long known that the Maya built structures within cenotes as symbolic points of access to Xibalba (the Mayan realm of the dead), but the scope of what we are finding now is simply extraordinary,” said an INAH archaeologist who asked to only be identified as Miguel.
These discoveries located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum are now forcing the federal government to consider remapping the path of the Mayan Train’s Route 5 once again after a judge ruled that the original path would cause unacceptable levels of environmental devastation.
During the past week, international attention has turned to preserving these ancient Mayan sites thanks to journalists’ reporting, including Kevin Sieff from the Washington Post.
Critics of the Mayan Train at home and abroad, including Sieff, are now calling for a stop to all construction until the area can be properly surveyed to ensure the preservation of these ancient monuments.
“It may be time to consider the cancellation of the Mayan Train. We should be prioritizing the Mayan way of life and culture, not the interests of the government and business,” said Pedro Uc, representative of the Asamblea de Defensores del Territorio Maya Múuch Xíinbal.