Explore one of the most interesting Mayan sites in the region, a collection of ancient stone carvings dating from roughly 300 BCE to 100 BCE. These carvings were found at the Izapa Ruins and depict the Mayan ideas of the creation of the universe and their religious beliefs. Among the carvings is a particularly interesting and complex one called Stella 5 that depicts the Tree of Life as well as about a dozen human figures, animals and more. This complex carving has led to many different theories about its subject matter. Most theories concern the Mayan religious beliefs; however some involve speculation about visitors from other continents before the arrival of Columbus. The Tree of Life in the Mayan world is depicted as a Ceiba tree.
This tall tree is commonly found in Chiapas and the Mayan jungles. It is easily identifiable by its extraordinary height, high crown and large, buttressed roots. For the Mayans, the tree represents a connection between the three realms of the universe - the underworld, earth and the heavens. Afterwards, take a short bus ride to Chocolate Discovery. Here, you’ll learn about the discovery and history of the sacred cacao bean and its importance to the Mayan people. Learn how the cocoa beans are transformed into chocolate right at the main square. Also, see a variety of local handcrafts and exotic flowers of the region. Local dances and marimba players will share their skills with lively performances. After a short stop to see the local church, you’ll be on your way back to your ship.