Discover Mesoamerica’s Beekeeping Heritage At This Polished Yucatan Hotel
Centuries before the concept of Mexico was ever dreamed up, the Maya civilization stretched across North America from modern-day Holbox down to the sparkling shores of the Pacific, with grand cities and tiny villages coexisting with the rich tapestry of native flora and fauna found across Mesoamerica. Though culturally-significant creatures like the jaguar have been largely extirpated from their traditional ranges today, one particularly interesting invertebrate still lives in harmony with the modern Maya just as they did in the recent past.
Known as the Melipona stingless bee, this fascinating insect genus is home to roughly 70 different species, many of which have been farmed for honey by indigenous people of the Americas for centuries on end—and in the heart of the Yucatan Peninsula, the WAYAM Mundo Imperial is offering guests a firsthand introduction to this historic practice. Known as BEE Matters, this experience was made available to guests in September of 2022, first created to shine a spotlight on the property’s deep ties to both nature conservation and the traditions of the Yucatan’s modern Maya.
“The sweet taste of the Yucatan is a culinary souvenir to remember with BEE Matters, just one of our distinct offerings at WAYAM,” says Mauricio Ramirez, Commercial & Marketing Director at Mundo Imperial Entertainment & Hospitality. “BEE Matters is essential to the principles of the hotel: sustainability, connection to nature, honoring the local culture. Guests are enriched and surprised once they complete this one-of-a-kind experience.”
During a BEE Matters excursion, guests will pay a visit to a nearby Maya settlement in the outskirts of Mérida, where indigenous community members have spent years tending to the region’s stingless honey bees. Upon arrival, visitors are welcome to peer into the many hives that are scattered across the complex, with ample opportunity to taste fresh honey and get a close-up view of the bees at work. After a thorough introduction to the hardworking hive, the tour continues with a beehive painting session, ultimately concluding with an opportunity to purchase both honey and handmade souvenirs crafted by Mayan women from the community.
While BEE Matters was created to showcase traditional indigenous culture while simultaneously supporting the region’s beekeepers, it’s far from the only program set up to benefit the surrounding area. The WAYAM Mundo Imperial is a frontrunner within the realm of sustainability as well, equipped with rows of solar panels, a rainwater filtration system, and large swathes of endemic flora cultivated across the property, all of which contributed to its status as the first LEED-certified hotel in the city of Mérida.
The Yucatan is home to a wealth of lavish hotels, but for those seeking accommodations that were designed with sustainability and conservation at the forefront, it’s tough to find a better venue than the WAYAM Mundo Imperial. As you plan your next trip to the scenic city of Mérida, be sure to save some room on the itinerary for a foray into the storied beekeeping industry of the Maya, a cultural legacy that’s been kept alive for eons on end.