Visiting Mayan descendants in an actual Mayan village
As I told you on my last posts, I love to discover and explore all Maya ruins that Belize has to offer. It is amazing to get involved in such ancient rich world and to experience and touch the unique pieces from such an antique culture. Belize brings you closer to the daily lives and household of the remaining descendants of the Mayas in a truly authentic Mayan village, to learn directly from them their wisdom and knowledge about the rainforest, nature and traditional way of life. I must say that it was one of the most charming, interesting and funniest experiences from my entire stay in this country.
You can find Maya communities almost all over the country specially in the southern area, the Toledo District. While driving through the Southern Highway you can see plenty of traditional small Maya villages with their usual houses made of mud, wood and palm trees.
During the tour of Maya Ancient and Modern I was intrigue with these Mayan Villages. When we arrived to the village, the entire large Maya family was waiting for us with a huge smile and some fresh coconuts ready to drink. While we were relaxing and re-energizing with our refreshing coconut water, the women introduced us to the rest of the family. The village was rustic with some simple houses and barns, built the same way the ancient Maya people would have built them thousands of years ago. Children were all over, running around and being merry. They were so curious looking at you through the windows! When they invited us to go into the main building where the kitchen and the dining room were located, we saw the women preparing all the ingredients and gear we would need to enjoy a unique experience in their community!
The kitchen was basically a big fireplace in the middle, some rustics counters and shelves with basic cookware utensils. They were cooking some delicious veggies grown and cultivated by them and drying some chillies and sweet peppers.
They then taught us about the importance of the cacao in their culture and the most important thing, they showed us how to make chocolate from the fruit of the cacao tree! You can’t imagine how easily they do it… After a natural process of drying they extract the seeds of the cacao fruit, then they use a special rock to press the seeds to make the chocolate paste! The wonderful smell of raw chocolate was Simply delicious! The women made us a delightful drink made of cacao and corn, it was so tasty!
We also learnt how to make the typical and delicious corn tortillas! They had the fresh corn dough ready for us to start our masterclass of “How to make traditional Mayan corn tortillas”! We sat around a little round table, and five minutes later I was making tortillas like a pro. The secret is in the way they move their hands to shape the tortilla.
Then they put the tortillas on a large woodburning stove, and within minutes they were ready to eat with the veggies they were cooking for us: UHH Yeah! spinach and calabash.
We spent an amazing time eating the food we all cooked with our new Maya friends! They shared with us a lot of fascinating details of their way of life! We never felt like tourists, we felt and were treated like family. I strongly recommend this experience, if you are in Belize, don’t miss the opportunity to meet the friendly descendants of the Mayas!