The Nanciyaga Experience in Catemaco, Veracruz

Catemaco, Veracruz is known for its beautiful wildlife and spiritual shamans. Take a trip to discover the mysticism that can be experienced on Nanciyaga Island.

Nanciyaga Kayaks

This year, Mexico hosted their first ‘Adeventure Travel Mexico’ trade show, ATMEX, in Veracruz. Lucky me, I was invited to participate on behalf of the Mexico Tourism Board and because of Journey Mexico’s affiliation with ATTA. Not only was I invited to attend the conference, but also to travel for several days prior! The conference’s theme was “Breaking New Trails” and showing off the adventurous side of Veracruz. The pre-trip included stenurous days of mountain biking, ziplining, and white-water rafting in Jalcomulco with Mexico Verde. After we were all worn out, the group of 50 was transported to the nearby town of Catemaco.
Catemaco is located in la Sierra Los Tuxtlas region and is pretty much the only pueblo that borders the large lake, Laguna Catemaco. It is known for many things: birdwatching, alligator island, monkey island, los brujos (witch doctors) and fishing. Our group had the choice of either kayaking to see wildlife or visiting the nearby island of Nanciyaga, where the witch doctors are. Me, being totally into the universe and psychics and all that, I was totally psyched to visit witches!
Our call time to be transferred to Nanciyaga was at 6:30AM. I was miserable that morning- I hadn’t woken up that early since high school! Thankfully, my grumpiness soon faded as I boarded the lancha (boat) and saw the most beautiful sunrise I had ever seen in my life. The local fisherman were already out on the waters bringing in their nets…. and watching them do this as the water and sky transformed into different colors…. was really just an amazing and serene moment for me. When we arrived to Nanciyaga we feasted on a home-grown, vegetarian-friendly breakfast followed by a tour of the property. We all got purifying mud mask treatment before partaking in the spiritual ceremony.
The spiritual ceremony was intense. The shamans gave us limpias (cleansings) of our negative energies and bad auras. We sang, danced and many of us transformed and healed (no joking– this stuff can be powerful). I recorded it all on tape (yes, VHS ;-)) and put it into a lovely show for you!

This ceremony is open to the public during the Festival de Los Brujos, or better called, “Vive la Magia en Catemaco”.  It happens once a year, the first Friday of March.

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View from El Faro

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Malecon Xiutla Sculpture

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