Get hands on with the local Maya women of San Antonio Village in making their staple corn foods. You’ll be overwhelmed with a timeless feeling evoked by their thatched kitchen, smokey fire hart and ancient tortilla-making methods.
Rio On Pools has gorgeous pools of water running through ancient boulders. You won’t regret stopping by to take a nice cold swim, which you will definitely enjoy.
Starts: 8:00AM Ends: 11:30AM
Getting There: Since this tour is normally done in combination with another tour (in this case Cave Tubing), your journey will commence with a pick up at your hotel and then a 45 minute’s drive onto the Modern Mayan Village of San Antonio near the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve.
At the site: The site’s parking lot is located just off the main road in San Antonio Village just in front of the host family’s house. A little gift shop welcomes you but you may want to contain your excitement to buy the priceless souvenirs until after the culinary tour. Once welcomed and settled in, the leader of the women’s group gives you a brief history of their cultural heritage as well as their personal family history. She’ll explain what the culinary tour will cover before we move on into the kitchen area where the fire hart and Metate (grinding stone) awaits us.
The kitchen is an open thatch-roofed space (made of dried Cohune leaves and bush sticks) reminiscent of a structure from a scene of Mel Gibson’s Apolcalypto Movie. Under its roof there is fire hart made of limestone and sticks, a table with a Metate (ancient grinding stone), a modern “Molino” manual corn grinder, and a dining table with seats.
The Culinary Experience: How to make corn tortillas the Ancient Mayan way.
- The process begins with an explanation of how the corn is prepared and hydrated to get it ready for grinding.
- Next, and this is where the fun starts as you get hands-on in the process, place a cup full of hydrated corn on the Metate (a flat, slightly curved grinding stone made of volcanic rock or granite).
- Next, you proceed to grinding the corn by pressing a “Mano” (almost cylindrical/ flat-ish stone) to crush the corn into a paste.
- An alternative method involves the use of the modern manual corn grinder which is faster and but still strenuous.
- The paste is the collected and then molded by dexterous hands into a flat circular shape of about 4 to 5 inches in radius. It is safe to call this a raw tortilla at this point.
- The tortilla is then placed on the “Comal” (in essence, a metal griddle) previously heated by the open flames of the fire hart.
- Once flipped over and done, the tortilla is then place inside dried pumpkin lined with a cloth to keep it warm.
- When all tortillas are done, they’re ready to be served with a half spoon of coconut oil and a pinch of salt. It’s so delicious it’s to die for.
Another delicacy produced from this corn is the “Atole de Maiz” or Corn porridge. You’ll want to keep asking for more but be polite, you don’t want to seem greedy. Save some space for dinner up ahead.
Once you feel like you’ve master the art of making tortillas the ancient Mayan way and you’ve gotten your fix of tortilla and porridge treats, its time for an early dinner. The food served is a homemade stewed chicken with corn tortilla or rice (menu options may vary). For dessert, a homemade papaya stew (mind you, its extra sweet).
Departure: After having your fill, saying your goodbyes, and purchasing your souvenirs, it’s time to head out of San Antonio Village and onto your second adventure for the day (Cave Tubing).
Duration: Approx. 2 – 2.5 hours (at the San Antonio Women’s Group)
Difficulty level: Easy
What to bring: Bug repellent, cameras, good manners, and an open-minded attitude towards embracing a different culture.
Provided: Lunch at a local Mayan household & waters.
TAKE A REAL LIFE JOURNEY THROUGH THE MAYA UNDERWORLD “XIBALBA”
This tour is normally done in combination with any other half day tour (in this case, with Maya Culinary Tour) If you’re visiting with children or non-swimmers please let us know this ahead.
Starts: 1:00PM (or any time after your other morning tour) Ends: 6:00PM (duration depends on your own pace)
Getting There: The adventure begins soon after you’ve had lunch after your morning tour (in this case Maya Culinary Tour). This is about an hour and 15 minutes’ drive on the George Price Highway (paved road) until arriving at the junction of the Jaguar Paw Cave Tubing outpost. The drive into the site’s parking lot is another 10 minutes or so on paved road.
At the site: Upon arriving at the parking lot, you guide checks you in with the ranger. Here you can use the expansive restroom complex to change into your swimwear if you haven’t as yet done so. Your guide then walks you over to the tube racks where you’ll pick a tube of your choice. We provide you with life jackets, helmets, and headlamps.
Once we’re all geared up, we then embark on a 45 minutes’ hike across the clear blue Caves Branch River. At this crossing there’s a rope across the river to assist you crossing. The water is waist-deep, typically. After the river crossing, we start off along a jungle trail heading upstream alongside the river. Your guide will point out interesting aspects of the local flora & fauna as we trek through – perfect time to take out your cameras (preferably water proof).
Upon arrival at the designated starting point, your guide will brief you on the proper safety techniques for boarding & floating on your tube. If you’re adventurous, you’ll want to dive or splash into the water from a rock at the starting point. From here, your guide will set you afloat through a series of cavers which periodically open up to the sunshine & jungle. When the water current is strong, you’ll be tied up into a cluster (like a train) with ropes so as to avoid anyone straying away. Your guide will occasionally point out various Maya artifacts within the crevices of the caves. Depending on time availability, he may allow you to unboard your tube & walk up for a closer look if you wish.
Departing: Since you’ll be ending back at the river crossing downstream, you’ll only be needing to get out of the river and head back on a short trek to the parking lot. Here we’ll deposit our tubes and then we’re free to change into our dry clothes. Once everyone is all dried up, we board the vehicle and head back onto the George Price Highway and onto San Ignacio, arriving around 5:30 or 6:00PM depending on individual pace.
Duration: Approx. 5 hours (Jaguar Paw Cave Tubing)
Difficulty level: Moderate
What to Bring: Water Shoes (no flip-flops or open toe sandals), lightweight Shorts, Lightweight shirt, change of clothes, Sunscreen, Insect Repellant, Water, Camera (must be water proof).
Provided: we provide you with helmet, head lamp, life jackets, and towels.
Cave Tubing Caves Branch River
Cave Tubing GoMaya
Corn Grinding on Metate
Cave Tubing GoMaya Cave 1 exit
Making Corn Tortillas
Cave Tubing Cave Exploration GoMaya
Fresh Corn Porridge
Cave Tubing Adventure GoMaya
Dinner at a Local Mayan Household
Cave Tubing GoMaya Cave
Learn to make Corn Tortillas
Cave Tubing GoMaya Cave 2 entrance