Pac Chen – Image courtesy of Alltournative
Introducing Pac Chen
Located in the forest near Cobá sits the village of Pac Chen, where more than 120 people exist much as their ancestors did, living in round thatch huts with no electricity, indoor plumbing or paved roads.
The villagers primarily make their living farming pineapple, beans and plantains, and still pray to the gods for good crops.
The only way to visit Pac Chen is to sign up for a tour with Alltournative (www.alltournative.com), an ecotour company based in Playa del Carmen. The company shares the profits and works with villagers to help them become self-sustaining, and has given them an alternative to hunting and logging. No more than 80 tourists are allowed to visit on any given day.
The half-day tour also includes a trek through the jungle, where you can zip-line through the forest canopy, rappel down the cavelike sides of a cenote into a cool underground lagoon, kayak across a lagoon full of wild birds and eat Mayan dishes such as grilled achiote (annatto seed) chicken, fresh tortillas, beans and watermelon.
Location: 168km southwest of Cancún and 44km northwest of Tulum
Admission: Pac Chen Maya Encounter Tour US$129
Hours: Daily 8am-5pm