Visiting the stingless Melipona bees at the Mayan Bee Sanctuary was both an educational and a fun afternoon. Your admission ticket provides a guided tour through the grounds where graphic displays are set in nature along an unevenly packed gravel path. While NOT considered to be a wheelchair-accessible path, we are a determined family and made it work with my manual chair and extra pushing hands from friends. There was one portion of the path that had a step, but our guide was able to direct me to an alternate path and we don’t think I missed any features.
The Mayan Bee Sanctuary is outside of the town and just off the main road that you take to get to the East or “other” side of the island. Transportation there can be a challenge. We were sharing a rental car with friends. If you were to need to use a taxi, I would suggest paying them to wait there for you, as it would be difficult to call one from this remote area. Now that I have a Freewheel attachment for my wheelchair, I would take it along on my next visit to the sanctuary. Even though it can sometimes make turning on tight paths trickier, it does help me with the bumps. You can best evaluate how well you have managed on gravel paths before.
Our tour began with a Mayan blessing ceremony involving the smoke from burning copal resin. The trail was lined with limestone sculptures made by a local artist and passed by a small cenote. These sacred Mayan bees build their hives in hollow trees. While the honey is certainly tasty, in Mayan culture it also has a wide range of health benefits. From stimulating the immune system to treating wounds, stings, or bites to treating eye diseases like cataracts. There was a honey-tasting station towards the end of the trail. Our guide explained how to taste and evaluate the samples of different varieties of honey. A little like a wine tasting would be. A gift shop finished the experience and we purchased some medicinal honey to take with us.
ProTip: This is the jungle. Wear supportive shoes. Bring an extra hand or two, Wear insect repellent. Call ahead to make certain they will be open their full hours.
You can find the Mayan Bee Sanctuary at Carretera Transversal KM 10 San Miguel de Cozumel, but any cab driver will know where to find it.