10 haggling tips and etiquette for the markets in Mexico

This article is a must read if you are coming to Mexico as a tourist, especially if you are on a cruise ship.  Every day from my perch on the malecon, I watch the cruise ship tourists and the vendors haggle back and forth every cruise ship day.   It is like a kind of art, the going back and forth.  So here are some tips from Mexico Trippa about how to haggle in the markets of Mexico.

10 haggling tips and etiquette for

the markets.

February 5, 2016By JohnnyTips


With haggling comes respect. If you pay their first offer, they will be laughing at you when you leave. It takes a bit of skill. Gringos = $$$

That’s not to say that you should be haggling them down every last penny on something that costs a dollar or two. Or be rude, or argue. Some of the things you will see can take days and even weeks to make. It’s about finding a fair price that both you and the vendor agree on.

There’s so many beautifully hand-made crafts from clothes, rugs, hammocks, paintings, plates, pottery and jewellery. And if you had enough room in your suitcase, you’d buy the lot.

Mexican Markets
Hand made blankets

Wandering around the markets can be some of the best experiences when visiting Mexico.

Have fun with it. Treat it as a game. Haggling isn’t an argument, it’s just a friendly discussion about a good price.

And remember, these hard working vendors are selling things to feed their family, its their livelihood. So although you don’t want to be ripped off, it has to be a win/win.

If you speak a little Spanish, you will be more likely to get a better deal. Have a look at the Quick Spanish guide for some useful phrases, and How to travel in Mexico for $30 a day.


Markets in Puerto Escondido


10 haggling tips

1. First of all, most of the markets in Mexico have a lot of the same stuff. So if you see something you like, walk around and ask a couple of stalls how much something is to get a rough price.

2. Always greet the owner with hello or a good morning/afternoon. Be polite.  The market crew are very friendly and love to have a chat and are happy to help with anything.

3. Take a look at something you like. And you now know roughly how much they’re going to charge. Ask how much. ‘Cuanto cuesta’.

4. Try and hide your excitement for what you want to buy (can be hard sometimes). Showing you are too eager will not help your chances to get a good deal.

5. Tell them politely that their price is too expensive. They will say it’s a good price and ask you how much you want to pay. NEVER say that the item is lousy and you wouldn’t pay that much for it. Often they are the people who made it and can be very offensive.

Mexican Markets - Skulls

6. Make your counter offer. Half to a third of the price of the offer you got. They will laugh and say that’s too low. This is when the fun begins.

7. Come back and forth until you reach an agreement that you are happy with. Sometimes this can take 5 minutes. If they think you are not really interested in buying it, they will keep lowering their price.

8. Don’t pay more than you are happy to part with. There are many other stalls that will sell similar things. So go and try your luck somewhere else.

9. If you can’t agree, walk away. Say thank you and good-bye. This may result in an ‘OK 200 pesos’ a new price, or the price you were willing to pay. This is always a good tactic.

10. Ask if its cheaper if you buy 2 or more. This will always get you cheaper price.


Follow these easy steps to save yourself a lot of money, have some wonderful souvenirs and know that you have given your money to people who really need it.

I hope you these tips help you out.

Happy haggling and happy travels!!


Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina

Costa de Cocos Resort, Xcalak, Mexico

Costa de Cocos Resort - Scuba Diving - Fly Fishing - Photo by Tracy Moore Photographers

If you are a fisherman, and you are looking for a unique and exciting experience, Costa de Cocos is for you.  Costa de Cocos is the premier fly fishing destination in southern Quintana Roo.

Fly Fishing with Costa de Cocos - Photo by Tracy Moore Photographers

Over the years they have found many unexplored bonefish, tarpon, and permit flats in Chetumal Bay, and the mangrove fringed lagoons. Twenty-nine productive flats and lagoons have been mapped, and the local guides continue to locate and explore new ones. Year-round they have Tarpon, Bonefish, and Permit, or you may fish for Snook, Jacks, Tuna, Barracuda, Snapper, Grouper, Dorado, Marlin, Sailfish, and more.

Xcalak and Chetumal Bay are rated one of the best fishing destinations in the world. As any experienced angler knows, it’s not just about the fishing, it’s the location too. There’s a lot of beauty and tranquility in our remote area of the Caribbean. We know you’ll love fishing with Costa de Cocos.

Permit Caught at Costa de Cocos - Photo by Tracy Moore Photographers

All-Inclusive Fly Fishing Packages!

Our Fly Fishing Packages Include Everything except airfare. Relax in comfort while our Drivers bring you direct from Cancun Airport to Cocos. No rental car needed! Includes Private Cabana, daily Maid Service, all Meals, Transport, all taxes, and open Bar.

Costa de Cocos Resort - Dinning Room - Mangrove - Fly Fishing
Costa de Cocos Dining Room  - Photo by Tracy Moore Photographers Boat Ride through Mangrove Fly Fishing the Flats of Chetumal Bay

Charter flights are available from Cancun Airport to Xcalak.

Fishing at Costa de Cocos

  • All-Inclusive Fishing Packages
  • 1/2 Day Fly Fishing
  • Full Day Fly Fishing
  • Deep Sea Fishing
  • Front Platform Pangas
  • Local Boat Guides
  • Rods & Tackle available

Dive Shop at Costa de Cocos

  • Scuba Diving
  • Snorkeling
  • Diving Instruction
  • Equipment Rental
  • Bird Island Trips
  • San Pedro, Belize Trips
  • Ocean Kayaking
  • Scott with his 54 pound permit caught at Costa de Cocos Resort
  • Costa de Cocos is the only Full Service Fishing and Scuba Diving Resort in Xcalak, Mexico

Available Daily: 1/2 Day Fly Fishing for $175 or Full-Day Fly Fishing for $350.

In Mahahual for the Day – Try Our Day Packages

Or take one of our All-Inclusive Fly Fishing Trip Packages. Come and catch your ‘Grand Slam’.

Our All-Inclusive Fly Fishing Trip Package Rates
All package rates are in US Dollars, per person.

Trip Package

Double Room
 for 2 People Fly Fishing
Single Room
for 1 Person Fly Fishing
Double Room
Non-Fishing Companion
2 days / 3 nights $ 1,620.00 $ 2,030.00 $ 750.00
3 days / 4 nights $ 2,090.00 $ 2,640.00 $ 1,000.00
4 days / 5 nights $ 2,560.00 $ 3,250.00 $ 1,245.00
5 days / 6 nights $ 2,920.00 $ 3,720.00 $ 1,500.00
6 days / 7 nights $ 3,295.00 $ 4,305.00 $ 1,750.00

2016 Off Season Fly Fishing Package
Available June 1st through November 30th

One week, all inclusive for: $2,200.00
per person based on two per room/two per boat Saturday to Saturday trip
these prices are for the continental US.

Our Fly Fishing Packages Include Everything, except your airfare

– Round-Trip Ground Transportation from Cancun or Chetumal Airport.
– Full Days of Fly Fishing with experienced local Guides and our own Boats.
– Private Cabana with bathroom and shower, Daily Maid Service.
– All Meals, Open Bar, and all taxes, are included in our package rates.

Remember no one else in Xcalak includes all that we do, our packages are truly All-Inclusive,
Only Coco’s includes fishing license, park fees, and open bar.
(The only exception is; gratuities are appreciated, but we leave that to our guests discretion)

We recommend travel insurance

Catch and Release at Costa de Cocos - Photo by Tracy Moore Photographers

Charter Flights from Cancun to Xcalak are Available

We can arrange a charter flight from Cancun Airport to Xcalak, for 1 – 4 persons. You can add the convenience of a short flight direct to Xcalak to your Fly Fishing Package.

“The Mayan Riviera is home to lavish resorts and some of the finest flats fishing on the planet. Unexplored lagoons, saltwater crocodiles and ultra-skinney water cannot keep Trapper Rudd and Daniel Randall from deciphering the secrets of the Mayan lagoons and finding fish. The tropical resort of Costa de Cocos serves as base camp as these two go on a “fish fact-finding mission” in search of new water (and fish) by kayak.”

16 Cabanas, Restaurant and Full Bar…. Xcalak’s largest Resort, and with the best rates.

Costa de Cocos Cabanas, Shoreline, and Dock

Life Under the Coconut Palms at Costa de Cocos.

Set among coconut palms along a serene and secluded stretch of the Caribbean, our resort is located at the ‘end-of-the-road’ less traveled. The Yucatan Jungle, rich with wildlife, is our backyard. The Xcalak Reef National Marine Park, with all the exotic wonders of the Caribbean Sea, is our front yard. The resort itself has a rich Mayan cultural charm. When you are looking for the ultimate destination to scuba dive, fish, kayak, explore, or just relax in the Caribbean Tradewinds to the sound of surf breaking on the reef offshore, Costa de Cocos is your personal paradise.

Inside Costa de Cocos Cabanas

At Costa de Cocos your comfort is very important to us. Our private cabanas have traditional exterior stonework, exotic tropical woods, native thatch palapa roofs, ceiling fans, and louvered windows all around that capture the cooling Caribbean breeze. Each cabana has its own private bathroom & shower, fresh hot water, and daily maid service. Our fully stocked bar and cold cervezas are available anytime. Our large Breakfast Buffet is included with your room price.

The Restaurant is open everyday, offering many dishes with a tasty Caribbean influence, and of course Fresh Seafood. Our Restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating that overlooks the Caribbean Sea and Xcalak Reef. After dinner visit with us, other guests, and perhaps even some of the locals at our charming bar.

Costa de Cocos Restaurant and Bar

Our Menu includes Fresh Ceviches and Fish Tacos, the ever popular Mango-Lobster Pizza, and Four Course Seafood Dinners, and is a hit with guests and locals alike.

Costa de Cocos Breakfast MenuCosta de Cocos Botanas MenuCosta de Cocos Lunch Menu Page 1Costa de Cocos Lunch Menu Page 2
Costa de Cocos Pizza MenuCosta de Cocos Dinner MenuArtisan BeerCosta de Cocos Adult Beverages

The second longest reef in the world is our front yard.

John's Nov. 2012 Scuba Photo
John’s Photos

The Xcalak Reef National Marine Park (Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Xcalak) is visible from our front yard and little more than a stone’s throw away. The reef diving is exceptional, a short 5 to 20 minute boat ride takes you to the several dive sites. With our Dive Masters you will experience walls, canyons, chimneys, “blue holes,” incredible views of coral, fans, sponges, turtles, eels, rays, and a variety of tropical fish. There is something to explore at every depth, whether a beginner or expert, everyone is amazed. Take your diving experience to another level with our on-site instruction; from a first scuba experience, add specialty courses, all the way up to Dive Master. At secluded Cocos, it’s the best way to learn to dive, with the beautiful Caribbean and personalized instruction.

School of large tarpon - Octopus - Queen Angelfish
Photographs by Steven Dramstad

– Exceptional snorkeling and scuba diving is a short swim off our dock, amid incredible coral heads.
– Our reef has over 48 species of hard & soft corals, sponges, and even the exotic black coral.
– Or our local guides can take you on snorkeling boat excursions to other areas of the Reef.

Whether Diving or Snorkeling, our full dive shop is equipped with rental gear for all your needs.

Costa de Cocos is in the small fishing village of Xcalak, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Located 250 miles South Of Cancun. You can easily rent a car at the Airport, and follow these Directions.

Costa de CocosLeaving the Cancun Airport, you will be heading East and come to Highway 307; take the turn Right/South towards Playa del Carmen / Tulum. Highway 307  from Cancun to Playa del Carmen is a busy tourist area; traffic will decrease after Tulum.

 Continue South on Highway 307  to Tulum (if it is getting late in the day consider staying the night in Tulum).  100 km/62 miles south of Tulum is Felipe Carrillo Puerto, with 2  Pemex Gas Stations, 1 north of town, and 1 in the center of town that has an ATM.

Continue South on Hwy 307 about one hour. 3 km past the town of Limones is a well marked Left/East turn to Mahahual & Xcalak.

The turn off to Mahahual & Xcalak  is the first Left/East turn, 3 km past the town of Limones. You will approach a large T intersection with a small store. The road is fairly straight and in great shape. At 18 km there is a severe curve; please watch for this and slow down…then at 51 km there is a tope/speed bump in the road.

A little after the large speed bump is the turn off  for Xcalak. You will see a large Costa de Cocos sign. Turn Right/South…But if you need gas, the Pemex Gas Station in Mahahual is straight ahead 1/2 mile. You drive past the Xcalak turn-off and go straight ahead to buy gas, and then reverse back to the turn-off, and Turn Left/South to Xcalak. Follow the paved  ‘Jungle Road’ south 60 km/38 miles. At the end of the road, you are at aT and a Stop Sign. Go Left/East about 2 kilometers into Xcalak Village. As you enter the village drive slowly straight through to the ocean. Turn Left/North along the Beach Road, the ocean is on your right, continue north through town past the lighthouse and town pier. Turn LEFT at the two-story white building that is the Port Captain’s Office, painted in large letters on the building (if you miss that turn you’ll come to a dead end in about 2 blocks, and have to go back), then turn at the next street RIGHT. You will then go over the small town bridge. Cocos is less than 1/2 mile North of the bridge. You will see our large sign, turn right and park.

Google Map Showing Location of Costa de Cocos – Street Views Available

The trip will take approximately  5 hours from Cancun or 2½ hours from Chetumal.

STP Caribe Shuttle ServiceCocos Fishing Group with STP Caribe Shuttle Service
A Shuttle Service is Available For Groups Traveling Through Cancun Airport

Cut Your Drive Time in Half – Fly into Chetumal with Interjet
Cut Your Drive Time, Fly Into Chetumal with Interjet
Fly from Mexico City to Chetumal

Any questions you might have, please send us an email.

 If you are interested in some great fishing in a unique and out-of-the-way place, check out Costa de Cocos website, http://www.costadecocos.com or hit the link on this blog.
Thanks for reading,
Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina




Mexico’s Time Zones

I get searches and questions all the time on this blog concerning what is the time zone in Mahahual and Quintana Roo.  There are also a lot of cruise ship tourists who get confused on what the time is here when they get off of a ship.  So here is all you need to know about the time zones in Mexico.

Mexico’s Time Zones

Clock Time - Watches

Mexico’s land territory, including the Baja peninsula, straddles an area between 23.6345° North, and 102.5528° West.  To give that some time-zone perspective, its longitudinal land mass covers a distance-equivalent starting on the Pacific coast in California USA, and ending near Pensacola, Florida—thus spanning some 1,700 miles.

Mexico used to have three time zones, until February 1, 2015 when a fourth time zone was introduced for the southeastern state of Quintana Roo, home to Mexico’s most popular vacation resorts including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum.

Mexico’s Four Time Zones

Baja California [North] (Zona Noroeste) – Which covers the northeastern reaches of the Baja peninsula, the state of Baja California and is aligned with US Pacific Time. Note that the state’s name is Baja California, not as it’s sometimes referred to as ‘Baja California Norte’.

Mexico’s Pacific Time Zone (Zona Pacifico) – This zone begins just north of Puerto Vallarta (Vallarta itself is not affected) and includes the states of Nayarit, Sinaloa, Sonora, and Chihuahua and is aligned with US Mountain Time.

Mexico’s Central Time Zone (Zona Centro) – This zone covers most of Mexico, including Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara and Merida and is aligned with US Central Time.

Mexico’s Southeastern Time Zone (Zona Sureste) – This is the fourth time zone specifically affecting the state of Quintana Roo. It’s aligned with US Central time in the spring and summer and does not move its clocks backward or forward each year.

Seasonal Time Changes

To complicate matters, not all Mexican states move their clocks each year, and those that do, don’t necessarily synchronize with dates that other Mexican zones change their clocks, nor the dates that the USA, Canada and Europe move theirs.

For example, Mexico’s relatively-new Southeastern time zone aligns with Mexico’s Central time zone in the spring and summer, but shifts to be one hour ahead when Mexico’s Central time zone moves its clocks back in the autumn (the Southeastern time zone doesn’t move its clocks).  And because the Northeastern time zone synchronizes on the date that US Pacific clock-times change, and not the date of the Mexican Central clock-time change, there can be further clock-time disparity for some weeks each year in the spring and autumn.


Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina

Just Another Week in the Paradise known as Mahahual.

We have a saying here in Mahahual when someone asks you how you are doing, or how are things?, “Just another day in paradise” is usually the response.  There are not too many tourists, or expats for that matter in town, so things are slow.  Last Sunday the town was full of tourists, but besides cruise ships, not much going on now.  So this past week was “Just another week in paradise”.

Monday in Mahahual, ghost town, nobody in town.

Monday in Mahahual, ghost town, nobody in town.

Rained Tuesday off and on.

Rained Tuesday off and on.

Beaches empty Monday and Tuesday.

Beaches empty Monday and Tuesday.


Tuesday afternoon I just sat on balcony in Mahahual and watched rain, nice change, cooled things down.

Tuesday afternoon I just sat on balcony in Mahahual and watched rain, nice change, cooled things down.

Wednesday we had a CMR, Costa Maya Rumor, become a CMF, Costa Maya Fact.  Tuesday I was on my bike on the malecon and someone shouted to me they heard there was a ship being diverted here the next day, because of the weather.  I said sure, and did not think more of it, and what do you know, a ship showed up the next day.  A ship was diverted here from St. Thomas and St. Martin because of the bad weather in the eastern Caribbean.  So that was a nice surprise.

Ship diverted here Wednesday.  CMF

Ship diverted here Wednesday. CMF.

I was riding my bike from Barrio 55 to the malecon on Wednesday after the cruise ship docked.  Well I was riding on the main road towards the lighthouse, when I heard a golf cart pull up right behind me, and it kept following right behind me.  I could hear them speaking Chinese or something, and I kind of pulled over to the side, and they did also.  So I am kind of looking over my shoulder, and I see a golf cart full of Chinese I think.  They all were dressed like tourists and had cameras around their necks, and were shooting photos and talking like crazy.

We got to the road to go into downtown Mahahual, and you have to go right to go into town, and straight to get on the malecon, which is what I do.  I slowed down to let them pass so they could go into town, and kind of waved them ahead.  Before I knew the golf cart almost hits me, and has to swerve, to avoid me.  No acknowledgement or anything, and the golf cart full of Chinese keep going.  So I keep riding towards the lighthouse to the malecon, and stop at the curb to jump over it to get to the malecon.  Next thing I knew the golf cart full of Chinese come from around the corner and almost hit me again, and again had to swerve to keep from hitting me.  (I have always heard jokes about Asian drivers, but never have experienced it up close).  I thought to myself, “Just my luck, come to Mexico and get killed by some Chinese tourist with a golf cart.”

Golf cart that almost hit me at lighthouse.

Golf cart that almost hit me at lighthouse.

Tourists who almost hit me, taking photos as soon as they got out of golf cart.

Tourists who almost hit me, taking photos as soon as they got out of golf cart.

Thursday we had a ship here from 6am to 1pm, a short day, good weather but not a lot of cruise ship tourists this time of year.

20160825_100139 20160825_100144.jpg

20160825_100228 20160825_100244

New sign put up yesterday at t

New sign put up yesterday at the lighthouse.

So as you can see, just another week in paradise here in Mahahual.

Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina



Quick travel Spanish to get you started

Today I am having internet and computer problems.  My Dell computer will not keep an internet signal for some reason.  I am looking into what the problem is now.  So today another installment from Mexico Trippa.

Quick travel Spanish to get you started

Here is a quick guide to your travel Spanish. Learning a few words and sayings will help you on your travels in Mexico.

It’s fun to try and speak a little Spanish with the people, and you will have a few laughs with it along the way. The locals will also appreciate it too. If you wander away from the main tourist areas, you will need to bring out all the Spanish you know.

If you want a compact book to travel with, Mexican Spanish phrasebook and dictionary by Lonely Planet has it all.

And check out other pages on MexicoTrippa – Mexican slang and How to learn Spanish.

  • Greetings
  • Language troubles
  • Directions
  • Eating out
  • Transport
  • Shopping
  • Time and dates


Hello – Hola

Goodbye – Adiós

Good morning – Buenos días

Good afternoon – Buenas tardes

Good evening/night – Buenas noches

See you soon  – Hasta luego

Please – Por favor

Thank you – Gracias

You’re welcome – De nada

What is your name? – Cómo se llama?

My name is.. – Me llamo..

Nice to meet you – Mucho gusto

Where are you from? – De dónde eres?

I’m from.. – Soy de..


Language troubles

Do you speak English? – Habla inglés?

Does anyone here speak English? – Hay alguien aquí que hable inglés?

I don’t speak Spanish – No hablo español

I don’t understand – No entiendo

Can you please repeat that? – Puede repetirlo por favor?



Where is… – Dónde esta…

Is it far? – Está lejos?

Left – Izquierda

Right – Derecha

Turn left – De vuelta a la izquierda

Turn right – De vuelta a la derecha

One block – Una cuadra

Here – Aquí

There – allá


Eating out

Are you open? – Está abierto?

Do you have a table for four? – Tienen una mesa para cuatro?

I’d like to see the menu – Quisiera ver el menú

Do you have chicken/beef? – Tienen pollo/res?

Do you have beer/soda/water? Tienen cerveza/refresco/agua?

I’d like…. please – Quiero …. por favor

What is in this dish? – Que lleva este plato?

Can you bring me Ketchup/salt/serviette please. – Me trae ketchup/sal/servilleta por favor

The bill please – La cuenta por favor



Where is the bus station? – Donde está  la terminal de autobuses?

Where is the bus stop to…? – Donde está la parada de camiones a ….

A fare to…. please – Un boleto a …. por favor

Whats the fare to…? – Cuánto cuesta hasta…?

What time does the bus leave? A qué hora sale el autobus?

How do i get to the airport? – Cómo llego al aeropuerto?



How much is it? – Cuánto cuesta?

I’m just looking – Soló estoy mirando

May i look at it? – Puedo verlo?

Thats too expensive for me. – Es demasiado caro para mi.

What is your best price? Cuál es tu mejor precio?

I’ll take it – Me lo llevo.

Do you accept American dollars/credit cards? – Aceptan dólares americanos/tarjetas de crédito.


Time and dates

What time is it? – Qué hora es?

It’s one o’clock – Es la una.

It’s five o’clock – Son las cinco.

Half past five – cinco y media

Noon – Mediodía

Midnight – Medianoche

Now – Ahora

Tonight – Esta noche

Today – Hoy

Yesterday – Ayer


I hope you enjoyed the Quick guide to Travel Spanish.

Check out the Mexican slang page too.

Happy Travels!!


Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina


The Chechen Tree and Chechen Rash in Costa Maya

I got a call last night from a new expat who just moved here.  He told me he was laid up with the Chechen rash, and had to go to the doctor to get a shot.  Well I did not think much of it, and I did not think much more of it.  We were supposed to go to Xcalak this week, so I said no problem, let me know when you are better.  I did not quite understand what he meant by his rash, and where it came from, and I had never heard of the name of the rash.  I thought maybe he just misunderstood, or was some Spanish he was trying to say.

Well this morning I go into town for the cruise ship today, and when I get there, Kane, one of the waiters at the Tropicante, comes up and asks if I heard about “so and so” having the Chechen rash.  I said yes, he called me last night and mentioned something to me, but I did not quite understand what he was talking about.  He then showed me his legs, and said this is what happens when you get the “chen chen” rash.  He had scars on his legs where he had gotten it a couple of years ago.

Now I have been down here almost seven years now.  I have trampled through jungles in Belize and Mexico, and brushed up against a lot of plants and stuff, but I have never heard of the “chen chen” rash.  I was told it was ten times worst than poison ivy in the USA, and the itching drives you crazy.  Kane told me he got it one time going hunting in the jungle, and it took forever for it to go away.  He then told me the only cure is the tree that grows right next to it.  I thought to myself, this must be some kind of Maya myth, or old wives tale.  But he swore up and down, what he was saying was true.

So me with my new Samsung Galaxy device, did a quick Google search on the beach, and damn, he was right.  I can’t believe I had never heard of this before, or that nobody had ever warned me about this tree and rash.  So me, being me, I have done a bunch of research on this rash and tree, and here is some of it.  You might find this interesting and informative if you ever plan on living or retiring down this way.

Image result for chen chen tree



Posted by cancuntravel in UncategorizedApril 1, 2009

The Chechen Tree and the Chaca Tree are often found growing near each other and are most commonly found in Cancun and the Riviera Maya.  The Chechen tree is poisonous and the Chaca tree has a nectar to neutralise the poison if you happen to have touched the Chechen tree.  There is a famous Mayan legend that explains the appearance of these trees and why they are found together.


The Mayan legend tells of two great warrior princes who were brothers of enormous strength and skill but of completely different nature. The younger brother, named Kinich, was kind and merciful and loved by all, while the elder brother, named Tizic, was sullen, and drew strength from the hate and anger nursed in his heart. As legend has it, they both tragically fell in love with the beautiful Nicte-Ha.  The brothers declared a battle to the death to see who she would choose.


The battle was longer and more hideous than the world had ever seen.  The Earth was torn and the Heavens went into hiding.  Eventually both brothers died in each other’s arms. In the afterlife, they begged the gods for forgiveness, and a chance to return to the world of the living and see their beloved Nicte-Ha once more.


The gods granted their wish and Tizic was reborn as the Chechen tree, which seeps black poison from its branches and burns anyone who touches it, and Kinich was reborn as the Chacah tree, whose soothing nectar neutralises Chechen’s venom. They solemnly watch over Nicte-Ha, who having died of grief, was mercifully restored to life as a beautiful white flower.


There is a garden in Xel Ha called The Chacah Garden which was designed to commemorate movie, radio, television, literature, and sports celebrity visits to Xel-Ha. They are invited to plant a Chacah seedling and leave a brief manifest for posterity, engraved in stone.


Image result for chechen tree

The Black Poisonwood tree (Metopium Brownie or Metopium Toxiferum of the familyAnacardiaceae) is also known as Chechen, Chechem (Mayan name), Coral Sumac, Caribbean Rosewood, and Cedro Prieto. It is found throughout Central America, the Caribbean and the West Indies. This tree produces beautiful decorative wood used for carving, wood turning, furniture etc. But it has a very powerful defense mechanism against people!

This form of defense is a highly irritating sap, and when human skin comes in contact with it, the result can be quite an ordeal. It starts with a redness, (like a bad rash similar to poison ivy, poison sumac, poison oak and the rest of them…) but often will develop into itchy and burning blisters, and is extremely painful. Depending on the amount of sap and how quickly you treat it, it can remain a rash and be gone in just a few days, or it can develop into a 1st to 2nd degree burn(s).

The cure for a Chechen rash is the most fascinating part about the tree: Chechen can only be cured by the Chacah tree, which always grows nearby. The tall Chacah is easy to spot with bright red bark, and its nectar has the only antidote for a Chechen rash. Chacah and Chechen always grow within a few yards of each other.

So you learn something everyday, and he was right about the Chechen tree and rash.

Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina