Costa Maya > Felipe Carrillo Puerto
Felipe Carrillo Puerto is not officially part of the Costa Maya, but if you fly into Cancun and drive to the Costa Maya on 307 you have to pass through it. Felipe Carrillo Puerto is the modern name of 'Chan Sta Cruz,' shrine capital of the Maya during the war of the Castes. In late 1850, the cult of the speaking cross began, lead by Jose Maria Barrerra. The story goes that there was a cross that allegedly began to speak to the Maya in their own tongue. For many years it inspired and sustained the Maya of the region between Tulum and Bacalar. They came to be known as Cruzob in their struggle against the Spanish and later the Mexicans. The cult itself involved a synthesis of Mayan and Hispanic religious traditions. In May of 1901, the troops of Gen. Ignacio Bravo occupied Chan Sta Cruz and effectively brought to an end the cross' reign. The city is still considered the Mayan capital.
Pronounced: fe-LEE-pay kah-REE-yo PWER-to. Felipe Carrillo Puerto is located at the edge of the Sian Ka'an reserve. Services include gasoline, a Bital bank complete with ATM, which is located adjacent to the gas station in the center of town and a town market that is open most days. The road through town is crowded with cars and bicycles, and contains one roundabout, which is the only opportunity for getting lost. Keep going strait and you will be well along on your way to Mayan Beach Garden.
There are a few decent hotels in town that are simple and clean. Also on the highway is El Faisan y El Venado, or the Deer and Pheasant which serves traditional Mayan fare such as Relleno Negro and Cochinita Pibil.
The town is interesting only because it is very Mayan. It is not unusual to see women still dressed in embroidered dresses.
When you drive south to Mayan Beach Garden, it is worthwhile stopping at the gas station in the center of town where you will find Mayan women offering Salbutes, a Mayan snack (which we also serve at Mayan Beach Garden). We always buy a few for the road.
Most travel guides dismiss Felipe Carrillo Puerto as uninteresting, but its a nice diversion on the drive south -- a combination of traditional Maya culture and modern technology which has recently introduced itself, with a bank and Internet cafe.
market at Felipe Carrillo Puerto is open most days with fresh produce,
cooking utensils, small restaurants and hammocks. There are no traditional
supermarkets in Felipe Carrillo Puerto at this time.
A note about buying from the side of the road: Normally it is very safe. We have never gotten sick from anything eaten from roadside vendors -- in fact every time we have gotten sick, it has been from eating in an American style sit-down restaurant. However, because some Mexicans do not have adequate means to disinfect things, do not buy fresh squeezed orange juice in recycled Coca-Cola Bottles. We suggest buying orange juice in plastic bags or glasses.
This parade was followed by a band as the church of the cross let out after Sunday services. The women are carrying crosses with ceremonial clothing on them.