More than 2,500 years ago it was an important salt and trade center . It emerged in the Preclassic period as a permanent settlement of Mayan families engaged in fishing and obtaining salt.
Carlos Álvarez, archaeologist attached to the Center for Mayan Studies of the UNAM, explains that this site stands out as one of the oldest Mayan populations that have records . Xcambó is known to be the main source of salt in Mesoamerica , it even managed to control several ports in the area. It is considered by experts as one of the largest areas on the peninsular coast.
The Mayans took advantage of the shelter provided by coastal marshes, a significant port for commercial and salt development in pre-Hispanic times. Its name means " celestial crocodile " or " place where bartering takes place ".
The salt flats of Xcambó are an unusual landscape. They are located on the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, between the Chicxulub Crater and the Flamingos Route. Its geology is the result of the giant impact of an asteroid that caused a great cataclysm 66 million years ago, creating the " Ring of the Cenotes " and natural pools of limestone in the open sky.
The cenotes formed for the Maya the basic element for the sustenance and growth of their ancestral civilization, managing to have a cosmic relationship between the effects of the meteorite impact and the surprising development of the Mayan civilization .
This unusual ecosystem allowed the Mayans to obtain this peculiar salt by means of the solar evaporation of rainwater contained in large pools systems. They had the habit of collecting it, 4 or 5 months after the rains. The marshes are flooded, the salt is crystallized in large lumps, even forming small pyramids .
Xcambó: Mayan Ancestral Sales
Salt is the oldest and most used additive in food. Salt played an important role in their daily lives. Besides being an essential ingredient of daily food, it was used as a preservative in fish preserves, leather tannery, medicine, and in rituals.
Xcambó controlled the production of extensive salt areas known as Salinas de Xtampú. There are archaeological and also ethnohistorical data in the General Archive of the Indies, such as the document entitled " Salinas de Yucatán " (year 1605) indicating that the salinas in that period were still in production.
Despite the centuries, the same situation continues today. Some work is done to retain the rainwater and let it evaporate. When the Xcambó salt flats are crystallized , the nearby population assists in collecting the salt and distributes it to the community.
Xcambó, magical land, where the past becomes present . Land of stories and eternal wonders, friendly people and customs that contrast with modernity.