Myths, Legends and Folklore of Cancun, Mexico

Cancun is a city located in the south-east of Mexico. It is situated off the Caribbean Sea and is a world-renowned tourist destination.

The original inhabitants were known as the Mayan people. Many myths, legends and folklore from the area find their roots in the early Mayan people who have passed the stories through the generations. Spice up your Cancun holiday by indulging in some of these myths and legends.

A montage of the fascinating city of Cancun, Mexico.
A montage of the fascinating city of Cancun, Mexico.

La Llorona

The legend of ‘La Llorona’ or ‘The Crying Woman’ has many variations, but whatever the twist on the tale; the people of Cancun use this story as a warning to their children.

The protagonist was a beautiful, yet very arrogant, woman named Maria, who refused to marry a man from the town, as she wanted a wealthy and good-looking man of stature. A wanderer visited the town one day and the lady set her sights on marrying the man, and sure enough she did.

She had two children with him, before his wandering ways returned and he left them. She blamed the children for their father’s departure and threw them both into the river to their death. However, she quickly realised the mistake she had made and threw herself in after them and was never seen again.

The legend goes that on nights of a full moon the local people hear the ghost of Maria shouting ‘my children, my children’ caught in an eternal desperate search.

Leprechauns Cancun-style

Another myth from Cancun, Mexico, is that of the Aluxob. Believed to be small dwarf-like creatures that play pranks and tricks, the Aluxob are much like the Irish leprechaun.

Generally invisible, when they appear they dress in traditional Mayan clothing and they can either frighten a human or bring love and protection. Legend has it that if they are treated well they will look after a family’s farm and crops, but if they are treated badly they are very mischievous and can cause mayhem and bring bad luck.

While some believe that the Aluxob are the result of 16th century interaction with the Spanish or pirates from Britain (where people believed in fairies), the Mayan tradition teaches that they are spirits of their ancestors.

The Chechen and the Chaca Trees

The Chechen tree and the Chaca tree are always found growing next to each other, much like nettles and dock leaves. The Chechen tree is actually poisonous, while the Chaca tree can neutralize that poison.

Legend has it that the two trees are in fact two brothers, Kinich and Tizic. The brothers were completely different in personality and yet both fell in love with the same girl.

To decide who would win the fair maiden, the brothers had a battle, which was worse and longer than anyone could have imagined. They eventually died in each other’s arms and, on entering heaven, begged the gods to send them back to watch over their true love. The gods allowed this and the brothers transformed into the two trees.

Legend has it that the beautiful woman died of grief after the brothers’ battle and was reincarnated as a simple, yet elegant, white flower.

A view of the city at night.
A view of the city at night.


Cancun is a beautiful and popular city today, which attracts many tourists all year long. If you really want to experience the city’s culture and people, reading about the myths, legends and folklore, such as those mentioned above, is an ideal way to start.

Article by Natalie Moody

Image credits: Wikipedia and Wikipedia.

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