Museo de la Medicina Maya (Mayan Medicine Museum) – San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico - Atlas Obscura
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San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico

Museo de la Medicina Maya (Mayan Medicine Museum)

The displays in this off-the-beaten-path museum highlight the holistic, indigenous methods of healing. 

San Cristóbal de las Casas’s Mayan Medicine Museum is housed in a colonial-style house in the city’s decidedly non-touristic Tlaxcala neighborhood. The institution consists of a large garden bursting with medicinal plants, an herbalist pharmacy, and indoor informational displays that illustrate the modern Highland Maya concept of healing and medicine.

The museum’s displays don’t seem to have been updated much since they won the Miguel Covarrubias National Museography Award in 1998. The current state of the figures and VHS videos exhibited seems dated and dimly lit, giving the museum an unintentionally creepy atmosphere.

Regardless of the outdated decor, the explanations provided still offer a comprehensive understanding of Maya medicine as a holistic approach involving herbs, faith healing, and other rituals. The museum’s admission fees are used in part to fund the on-site herbal pharmacy, used by locals who buy remedies here at a discounted price.

Know Before You Go

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m on weekends. Admission cost is MXN$20. It's located off the main touristic area of Sancris, additional precautions are recommended if visiting. Note that information is only available in Spanish.

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