San Gervasio A Day Trip On Corumel

Cozumel Travel Blog

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El Cedral

San Gervasio a Maya site that is located on the island of Cozumel, the largest island in the Mexican Caribbean. San Gervasio is in a lush jungle setting in the middle of the island. The area is populated with bright colored iguanas, flowers and lush foliage. This is a real paradise even today, one can see why the Maya did not wanted to abandon this beautiful place. San Gervasio is located 11 miles south of San Miguel de Cozumel and the downtown ferry pier. San Gervasio was first occupied prior to 400 BC and monumental construction began prior to 100 BC. Occupation continued into the late 1500's well after the arrival of the Spanish. San Gervasio was a ceremonial center dedicated to Maya goddess Ixchel ("She of the Rainbows"), deity of midwifery, fertility, medicine and weaving.
El Cedral
Many Mayan women from mainland Mayan settlements made the pilgrimage here to leave offerings and make sacrifices to Ixchel´s shrine at some point in their lifetime. At the entrance to San Gervasio, along the sacbe is a delicate arch spanning an altar. This sacbe leads to the ceremonial center. The archaeological site at San Gervasio has not received much reconstruction of consolidation. however, there are numerous structures to photograph and explore. The beautiful natural setting is enough to visit San Gervasio. It is a welcomed retreat from the busy tourist trade of the main village and resorts. A must see is the Temple of the Hands. Inside the structure are numerous small red hand prints painted on the walls. The significance of the red hands has not been determined.
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El Cedral

El Cedral is on Cozumel, 8 miles south of San Miguel. El Cedral is believed to be an important ceremonial site. It is the oldest Maya site on the island (700 AD) and it is the most accessible. Once the hub of Maya life on Cozumel, was the first site found by the Spanish in 1518 and where they celebrated their first mass in Mexico. The Spanish destroyed most of the site and the U. S. Army Corp of Engineers leveled all but one structure completing World War II airfield. All that remains is a small structure with an arch; be sure to look inside to see the faint traces of paint and stucco. Nearby is a green and white cinder block church, decorated inside with crosses shrouded in embroidered lace. In the early 1900s it saw use as a jail.
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Cedral became the islands first official city in 1847. Today, the area is occupied by a small farm settlement. Cedral hold an agricultural fair each May. The history of this city is explored every year at the Festival of El Cedral. For more than 150 years this event has been held in El Cedral annually in the month of April. The event was first introduced by Casimiro Cardenas, a member of a group of survivors who fled from a mainland village called Saban to El Cedral after the War of the Castes. Legend has it that Cardenas survived a brutal attack that saw the deaths of many villagers all the while holding a wooden cross. This led him to start the annual festival to honor the power of the crucifix. There is a Holy Cross Festival, which makes up part of the El Cedral Festival. The fair includes traditional feasts, rodeos, bullfights, live music and numerous competition. The El Cedral Festival is a village celebration that lasts about five days.
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photo by: sassylassie22