Mexico Normal Travels

The Altavista Petroglyphs


Dear Reader,

Once upon a time, 2,000 years ago to be precise, an Aztec tribe called the Tecoxquines resided in the valleys of the Jaltemba Bay. Long before the Spanish arrived, the Tecoxquines inhabited this land and became farmers, fishermen, and traders of cacao and cotton. There, they chipped petroglyph images and signs into the volcanic rock along the stream that symbolised people’s wish of successful crops, the return of the rains, health, etc. Known in Mexico as “La Pila del Rey”, “Chacalán”, “El Santuario”, “Los Petroglifos” or “the Altavista petroglyphs“, this is an archeological and scenic attraction near Jaltemba Bay.

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Stanito found it along with her Travel Buddy. It is a tricky yet lovely walk through jungle, rivers, woods, just woods, rocks and cows before you reach the shrine of petroglyphs.
At the shrine she hoped to find the indigenous community that still uses the site for rituals, but better luck next time…

Ritual stones Petroglyphs Stanito 2

The arrival of the Spanish Conquistadores though marked the extinction of the Tecoxquin, who by the 16th century most of them died of disease or became slave, so what it is left today is the last remaining of the Tecoxquin people, who are the ancestors of now-a-days Huichol natives.

There are about 2000 carvings in the area which is about 80 hectares but visitors can spot without effort about 70 of them.

Petroglyphs Stanito 4 Petroglyphs Stanito 3

Most of the petroglyphs are accompanied by bilingual posted signs that give some explanation and historical context to the site

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Petroglyphs Stanito 2

Petroglyphs Stanito 1

Petroglyphs Stanito 6

Here is a Maltese Cross. When the Spanish arrived were surprised to see how the Tecoxquines considered sacred something that for the Spanish was regarded as a Christian symbol not supposed to be known in the New continent, so much to the their surprise they started believing that the cross served led in fact to the legends of the apostle Matthew.
Truth is that for the Tecoxquines the cross was not a Christian symbol but simply a sign depicting a mental map of the cosmos and its 5 sacred directions: the 4 cardinal points and the Center point. Each direction was associated to certain gods and realms.

Petroglyphs Stanito 7

The entire adventure holds a marvellous landscape walk filled with native palm trees and other stunning flore of tropical forest.

Through the jungle StanitoMind your steps as it is easy to stumble upon fresh water snakes, like this one…

Fresh water snake Stanito

As a promise to my Travel Buddy, I will not  give clear indications on how to get here. Sorry…

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