Underwater tourism will become a reality in the Yucatan Peninsula with the opening of the Chinchorro coral bank, in Quintana Roo, and the area where the steamship “La Unión” is sunk in Sisal, the ship used for the Mayan slave trade in Yucatán.
Helena Barba Meinecke, head of the Yucatan Peninsula office of the Subdirectorate of Underwater Archeology (SAS) of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), revealed in an interview that in 2021 both sites of natural and historical interest will be opened to the public.
She highlighted the importance of underwater tourism, which will bring benefits to the communities of Sisal, Hunucmá, and San Felipe.
She recalled that the remains of the ship were found two nautical miles (3.7 kilometers) from Sisal, which is the result of three years of investigation in that port village.
“The first site is the Chinchorro coral bank, in Quintana Roo and now it will be Sisal. The underwater cultural heritage is as important as that of the land, only the conservation of the remains is better. In the water, there are also stratigraphic elements as in the land, except that the bones and ceramics are better preserved, and above all, they are intact ”, explained the INAH specialist.
Underwater “treasure” museums
So far, in the Yucatan Peninsula, there is only one Museum of Underwater Archeology and it is located in Campeche.
“Ideally, there is also a museum of this type in Yucatan, given the prevailing cultural richness”, she stressed.
Helena Barba Meinecke revealed that the site where the ship that was used to carrying Mayan slaves captured during the Caste War, is scheduled to open to tourism next year.
The sinking of the “La Union” ship was recorded a century and a half, an incident where the death of 140 crew members and passengers was reported, but not the number of indigenous Mayans, who were transported as “merchandise”.