Maya culture did not disappear after the arrival of the Spanish. The Yucatán’s mixed cultural heritage is like no other, combining a rich mosaic of ancient culture that continued to thrive in the colonial period and that flourishes to the present day.
Today’s Maya are direct descendants of the people who inhabited the region five hundred years ago—the same ancient people who built the cities and ceremonial centers that still amaze us in the twenty-first century. Their language, cultural particularities, rituals and numerous traditions are still very much alive.
But it’s not just the pre-Hispanic feel one senses in the air. You’ll also find colonial elements, traces of the Yucatán’s early-twentieth-century belle-époque, and even the latest innovations of the globalized world. This rich, historical mosaic is the stage where today’s Maya play out their entire lives. Archaeological sites, seventeenth-century convents and churches, haciendas that began life as cattle ranches, late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century plantations and their grand old houses, and modern-day urban constructions are the physical manifestation of that history.