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Xtabay-The Legend That Brought Xtabentun Liquor Alive



The Mayan world is full of unique treasures; food, places and people, most of them already known by tourists. Very few have discovered the great legends the Mayans where imaginary beings and creatures are brought to life every time a person tells their story. One of the greatest legends in Mayan culture is about a mysterious woman named X´tabay. If you are lucky enough one of the locals will narrate it for you.

The Story of Opposite Sisters


X´tabay (nicknamed Xkeban which means woman who practices illicit love in Mayan language), had a sister named Utz-colel. Both used to live in a village in the Yucatan Peninsula and both were very different. X´tabay was very giving, help needy people, animals in disgrace and the homeless. She was very beautiful but gave herself to every man, either single or married. People in the village used to criticize and insult her on a daily basis. Despite the criticism X´tabay would remain humble and kind to every person in the village. Her sister Utz-Colel was the opposite. She was virtuous and honest, she never entertained men nor committed any sin but her heart was harsh, full of pride and she turned her nose up to the poor.

One day a beautiful smell came from X´tabay´s room. The whole village filled with this beautiful smell and they went to X´tabay´s to find out what or how this was created. They found her dead, but her body smelt of soft perfume. Utz-Colel was furious and claimed it was not possible that such a great smell came from a sinner like her sister and assurde people she would smell even better when dead. The next day X´tabay was buried. Her grave was full of beautiful flowers with delicate perfume and the flowers were given the name of Xtabentun.

When Utz-Colel died everyone in the village attended her funeral but with amazement saw that from her grave had a terrible smell, not the sweet smell she had promised. Not only was the smell intolerable but the next day her grave was covered with Tzacam, a spiny cactus flower with a horrible odor. Utz-Colel wanted to return to earth to be like her sister, so she asked evil spirits to get her returned back to earth. But unlike her sister, she seduced men with  evil love and killed them after she had intimate relations.

From The Legend to The Mayan Drink

If this is not your first time in the Mayan Riviera you have probably tried at least one cocktail preapared with Xtabetun, the legend´s  liquor. In the south part of Mexico and specially in Merida, Xtabentun is very popular. The famous Mayan Coffee served at various restaurants is made with the delicious Xtabentun Liquor. It all starts with the flower named Xtabentun which has a beautiful legend behind it.

The Legend of X´tabay Continues in Mayan Communities


The story of  X´tabay continues through the spirit of her sister. The legend says  that if a man passes a Ceiba tree at night, he will see Utz-Colel disguised as her sister X´tabay. Utz-Colel waits by the Ceiba tree, combing her beautiful hair with the spiny needles of the Tzacam, waiting to seduce a man with the intention to kill, not love.  

If you want to try the unique flavor of Xtabentun liquor with iconic drink Mayan Coffee, we suggest some of the best places in Mayan Riviera that are experts in this drink:

Carboncitos Restaurant

Ah Cacao

Lol Ha Restaurant


Paulina is a crazy animal lover who has been living in the Riviera Maya for over 9 years. Her expertise is designing unique vacations for travelers and visitors. This comes from her desire to share her area knowledge, local restaurant secrets, and cool cultural experiences that have been a large part of her life on the coast. Paulina never sits still on her day off as she feels there is always something to see, a new beach to check out or a new restaurant to try. She loves answering questions and helping you plan your next vacation. [email protected]

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