Home News El Corchito: This is the origin of the famous tourist stop in Progreso, Yuc.

El Corchito: This is the origin of the famous tourist stop in Progreso, Yuc.

by Sofia Navarro
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For decades, El Corchito has become one of the main attractions in the port due to its natural wealth. However, the true origin of this site remains unknown, as it emerged in the late 1980s thanks to a group of fishermen led by the late José María Palomo Castillo.

As is known, this character from the port passed away in May 2022, leaving behind an indelible legacy. Nonetheless, this correspondent took on the task of investigating part of the achievement that most of those who visit the emblematic place unjustly do not recognize.

The social hero arrived in Progreso in the 1950s and, over time, decided to rescue the natural springs where he spent part of his childhood and which inspired him to pursue fishing. Even though the site was covered in water and debris due to Hurricane Gilberto, he decided to rehabilitate the space now known as El Corchito.

From his childhood, he was known for his high cultural and creative level, writing various tales that focused on Mayan culture through its deities.

The story was told by the late José María Palomo Castillo, even though he seldom granted interviews to the media or local political figures since 2015 when the founders left El Corchito. The site became part of the government payroll after the rights were transferred to the new administration.

Before his passing, Palomo Castillo decided to share his feat to keep it alive, since most of the founders are now elderly and retired from the tourism sector.

Later on, along with his brother Limberth Castillo, Jorge Casanova Dzul, a fisherman from Muna, and two other neighbors, they returned to the site in December 1989 to attempt to rescue the place. After several years of neglect, it was only covered in garbage and slowly dying vegetation.

What his neighbors, friends, and relatives remember is that he always engaged in social struggles in favor of culture and citizenship. He was also known for his leadership in his work teams and his affection for the port of Progreso.

El Corchito Ecological Reserve cenote. (PHOTO: Robert Adams)

It’s noteworthy that even though El Corchito is one of the world-famous tourist spots, tributes to the deceased fisherman have been scarce, despite the fact that his initiative to rescue the place that now receives thousands of annual visitors was successful.

The present situation of El Corchito is different from its glory days, but that doesn’t mean it’s no longer popular. The site still draws increasing numbers each year, especially international tourists who have come to know it through media in their respective countries.

Tourist personnel stated that on weekends, lines of tourists even form, and despite enduring high temperatures under the sun, they patiently wait to swim in the natural springs and interact with the raccoons.

According to figures from the Secretary of Tourism Development (Sefotur), in the first five months of the current year, a total of 57,883 people have visited the site. This is over 10,000 more visitors than the previous year. Therefore, by the end of summer, the numbers will surpass those of 2022 by around 40 percent.

In the past three years, the worst percentage was in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From January to the end of summer, only 23,946 people visited El Corchito. In the same period a year before the health crisis, there were 112,580 visitors.

In 2022, from January to the beginning of September, which marked the end of the summer holidays, there were a total of 83,511 visits to El Corchito. In 2021, the number was 57,402, although it’s worth noting that the phase of mass care and restrictions had not yet concluded.

TYT Newsroom

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