top of page



Every night at Portal Maya in Playa del Carmen, there is a fantastic performance featuring descendants of the Mayan culture. These performers wear traditional costumes and play typical music, creating an immersive experience.

The scent of incense, the flicker of fire, the rhythmic dance, and the evocative sounds transport you to a different place and time. This captivating display takes place against the backdrop of Parque Fundadores, where the iconic bronze Portal Maya statue stands tall, celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the Maya civilization.

While these performances are designed as tourist attractions, in my opinion, they maintain a genuine connection to the cultural heritage of the Mayan people. The rituals, music, and dances performed by the descendants of the Maya manage to transport audiences back in time, offering a deep sense of cultural immersion.

This paradox highlights how cultural preservation and sustainable commercial tourism can coexist, providing both education and entertainment, along with a source of income for young street performers.


The Danza de los Voladores is a ceremonial dance rooted in Totonac culture. It involves performers climbing a 30-meter pole and launching themselves, tied with ropes, symbolizing a connection between the earth and the divine. While it is a tourist attraction, it is also a deeply rooted spiritual practice aimed at invoking fertility and honouring the gods.

I was amazed by the risks the performers take every day to entertain tourists who often don't fully appreciate the cultural significance. Curious about their lifestyle, I spoke with some of the performers and learned that they travel many miles daily to perform in Playa del Carmen, as local living costs have become unaffordable. They sew and tailor their own costumes and this demanding performance is their full-time job, one to which they have dedicated their entire lives.

The Voladores' commitment ensures that this ancient tradition continues, providing both a deep cultural experience for visitors and a livelihood for the performers. 

However, it is important for visitors to recognize the significance of respecting and learning about these diverse cultures. By engaging more deeply, respecting local traditions, and appreciating the dedication of the performers, tourists can contribute positively to the preservation of these cultural practices and support the livelihoods of the people who keep them alive.

bottom of page