The Maya of the Yucatán once undertook ritual canoe voyages to the island of Cutzamil (now Cozumel ) to honor Ixhcel, the goddess of the moon. On the third weekend in May, 2012, Xcaret (toll-free Mex. tel. 800/212-8951, toll-free U.S. tel. 888/922-7381, www.xcaret.com  or www.travesiasagradamaya.com.mx ) will host the Mayan Sacred Journey, the sixth annual reenactment of this 34-mile journey by canoe, made by hundreds of costumed paddlers and overseen by Maya priests.
Over a period of three days, canoes depart before dawn, receive their blessing from Ixchel on the island, then arrive on the beach in Playa del Carmen . This impressive event begins with the recreation of a live marketplace filled with Yucatec-speaking vendors and continues with a series of dance, music, and theater productions for each launching and blessing of the canoes.
Xcaret  is an eco-archaeological park built around several cenotes and underground rivers. Xcaret also offers tours to archaeological sites and Maya villages, focusing on Maya cuisine and crafts. Their Cobá Sunset mountain bike tour through the Cobá  ruins includes a Maya crafts break, a traditional dinner with live music, and a Maya ball game inside a cenote.
Just before Christmas 2011, Mayaland Resorts (tel. 800/235-4079, www.mayaland.com ) will begin hosting a year-long series of 50 symposiums conducted by Maya scholars, authors, and religious leaders. Hosted on the doorsteps of Chichén Itzá  and Uxmal  in the Yucatán, these free symposiums are organized for tourists and locals alike and aim to impart a deeper understanding of Maya culture—including the Maya calendar.
Scheduled topics include “What the Future Will Hold Beyond 2012,” “Sex and the Maya,” “Maya Medicine,” and “Cuisine of the Maya.” The wide-ranging symposiums will culminate on December 21, 2012, with an event at Uxmal, a city known as the Mecca of the Maya.
Xcanatun (tel. 888/883-3633, www.xcanatun.com ) also has trips to the villages of Ek Balam and Yaxunah, both close to Chichén Itzá. Eat a traditional Maya lunch with villagers, hit a ceremonial center at Uxmal, swim in a cenote, then tour Chichén Itzá itself. At the end of the day, expect a Maya-theme spa treatment and gourmet meal.
Hacienda Xcanatun (tel. 888/883-3633, www.xcanatun.com , US$260–360 per night) is owned by Jorge Ruz, son of famous Mexican Maya archaeologist Alberto Ruz Lhuillier who discovered King Pakal’s tomb in Palenque . A restored 18th-century sisal hacienda outside Mérida , Xcanatun offers three day trips in honor of the Year of the Maya; each full-day tour is in an air-conditioned vehicle with a trained guide. Guests visit the semi-excavated sites of Mayapan  (35 miles southeast of Mérida) or Chacmultun (90 miles southeast of Mérida); or travel to the ancient Maya salt mines via horseback or kayak and throw in a bird-watching tour of the Río Lagartos Biosphere .
In 2012, Hotel Caribe and La Mision de Fray (tel. 999/924-9022, U.S. tel. 888/822-6431, www.hotelcaribe.com.mx ) are offering a 15–20 percent discount off tours to Uxmal-Kabah, the Uxmal Light and Sound show, and Chichén Itzá. Room rates will also be discounted. Either hotel makes an excellent base for exploration.
Boutique Hotel Quinta Chanabnal (tel. 916/345-5320, reservacion [at] quintachanabnal [dot] com, www.quintachanabnal.com ) is just a few miles from the entrance to Palenque . Owner Raphael Tunesi says his obsession with Maya culture began when he was 12. Since then, Italian-born Tunesi, an internationally recognized scholar and author, has visited nearly every reachable Maya site in the Mundo Maya. Palenque is one of his favorites (maybe because that’s where he met his wife). Starting in the summer of 2012 and running through the end of the year, guests at Quinta Chanabnal will be able to take part in morning workshops on the Maya calendar, religion, and culture led by the multilingual Tunesi. Guests will then tour Palenque, where that morning’s learning will be put to use at the actual site.
Also starting in the summer of 2012 and running through the end of the year, the hotel will offer special tours throughout the Mundo Maya to ruins most connected with the Maya Long Count Calendar and 2012. Tours are open to guests and nonguests and include Tikal , Toniná , Yaxchilán , and Cobá .