In 1741, the Spanish ship El Matancero sunk in a reef near Akumal. Most of the crew were enslaved by the Mayans and soon died. However, Gonzalo Guerrero thrived among the Mayans, married a priestess and taught the Indigenous people how to defend themselves. The merchant ship was discovered in 1959 by Pablo Bush Romero. He was so enthralled with the area that he purchased extensive land around the bay and founded the Centro Ecológico Akumal. These cannons from that shipwreck aim towards Akumal Beach near their headquarters.