What is a Temazcal Ceremony and is it right for me?

Whether a travel novice or expert backpacker, you’ve probably heard of the Temazcal ceremony. But for any of our readers who are unfamiliar, here is a basic rundown! The Temazcal is an ancient Mayan tradition similar to the Native American sweat lodge. Think of the modern-day steam room, but more of a journey with cultural Mayan elements and spirituality. The Temazcal has been practiced by the Mayan peoples for thousands of years and serves as a physical and spiritual cleansing.

Practitioners all lead their ceremonies differently, and last about 2 to 3 hours. You’re taken inside of a makeshift igloo with heated volcanic stones piled in the center. Water is periodically splashed onto them to create steam, and the leader will typically sing traditional Mayan songs or lead different meditations. Those leading are very attentive to newcomers, and thoroughly explain the process, making sure you are comfortable going into your very first ceremony.

So, it’s like a sauna, but how hot does it get?

Nervous about being too hot? Don’t worry! Many joining a Temazcal are doing it for their first time, and the facilitator usually takes this into account. The heat rises gradually so your body can adjust. They’ll accommodate you by allowing 1 to 2 breaks to cool off and hydrate.

Feel free to ask your guide whether the experience is right for you. It’s natural to feel cautious before any new experience, but the adventure starts with a leap into the unknown!

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Photos credited to Botanica Tulum