Isolated in the dense and humid flora of the mountains of the Lacandon Jungle in the state of Chiapas in southeastern Mexico, and bordered by a yellow lake, the small town of Nahá is a true oasis.
Its population, less than 200 people, is part of the Lacandon community. They are among the few direct descendants of the Mayan people left in the country. Still deeply rooted in the traditions of the culture from which they come, the indigenous people of Nahá continue to keep it alive.
Apart from still using the same language, clothes and some of the customs of their ancestors, the Lacandones of Nahá also have a very special relationship with nature, another legacy of pre-Hispanic civilizations that we need to learn from today more than ever.
The inhabitants of Nahá, last vestiges of the Mayan civilization
Nestled in the middle of the jungle, Nahá is almost isolated from the rest of the state of Chiapas. That situation undeniably contributes to maintain and preserve the ancestral customs and skills and participates in the charm of the place.
For example, in the village of Nahá, men traditionally leave their hair long and attribute magical powers to it. They also wear white tunics like their ancestors. The women’s clothing is similar, but is often embroidered and they add plant seed necklaces.
The inhabitants of Nahá also continue to practice shamanism and other ancestral rituals of the Hach Winik (“Lacandon Maya” in the native language) culture. These ceremonies in homage to the ancient gods take place in temples. With their Mayan chants, the clay censers and the burning of copal and xate palm, those commermorations have unparalleled power of disorientation and relaxation.
In addition, the main activities of the natives are, as they have been for centuries in Nahá, small-scale fishing, light agriculture and clay handicrafts. For this, the natives use techniques inherited from generations. In fact, the milpa is an ancestral way of cultivation that associates three plants used by Amerindian peoples. Although they no longer need them, the Lacandons still know how to make wooden bows and arrows from dried cane.
Ecotourism, the future of the Nahá reserve
Finally, the location of this village and the richness of its environment have always allowed its inhabitants to be in perfect communion with nature. Today, the communities of Nahá still worship some plants and flowers that their ancestors considered as gods.
In fact, the village of Nahá is located in a protected area. The Nahá Reserve was decreed in 1998 as a natural area for the protection of flora and fauna in order to conserve the exceptional natural resources of the area. The Lacandon jungle is home to threatened or endangered species that reflect Mexico’s incredible biodiversity, such as the ocofaisan, the harpy eagle, the quetzal and the jaguar.
Thanks to its piscícolo lake, the exuberant diversity of its flora and fauna, and its cultural richness, Nahá is an ideal place for ecotourism lovers. This term defines a more responsible way of traveling to natural sites that protect the environment and improve the well-being of the local population. A stay in Nahá sums it up. Indeed, for those who dream of hiking in a very dense jungle populated by rare species or for those who want to share moments with indigenous communities, Nahá is the perfect place.
The village of Nahá is a unique place for those looking to disconnect from their daily lives. With its cultural heritage and its legacy of Mayan customs still practiced by the Lacandon people in addition to its exceptional landscapes, Nahá has everything that gives Mexico its charm.
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