In Guatemala, there are numerous tourist destinations to visit. If you’re going to travel to this beautiful country and you’re not sure what to see in Guatemala, then let us tell you that the Yaxhá archaeological site is a must-see destination. Now we’ll address all the key questions about this important tourist destination in Guatemala.
Tourism in Guatemala at the Yaxhá site
This is a ceremonial site of the ancient Mayan civilisation, located in northeastern Guatemala, in the department of Petén. This site was the capital of a large cultural centre, which had important links with the towns of Caracol and Tikal in Belize, and Calakmul in Mexico.
At this site, you can see pyramid temples and complex walls which join the whole Acropolis, the twin pyramids, memorial centres, palaces, houses and places to play ball games. These features reveal the astronomical and astrological, architectural, urban and social knowledge of this Central American people.
This site is located in the Yaxhá-Nakum-Naranjo National Park, which has a total area of more than 38,000 hectares. This park is an integral part of the Maya Biosphere Reserve.
The focus on this site is the architecture, which accurately represents the identity of this people. Among the buildings, the Royal Palace stands out, as well as the North Acropolis and the Astronomical Complex. There’s another centre of the city, the East Acropolis and the Plaza de Las Sombras. The central feature of the site is the Twin Pyramid Complex, which joins all of the above through a system of paved paths and marked roads.
It’s possible to enjoy more than five hundred structures, which are in different states of conservation. Regarding the relationship of these structures with the astronomical conception and the destiny of the stars, the Maya studied the sun’s behaviour at different times of the year in depth, tracing its path, height and zenith, from dawn to sunset.
The positions in which the Major and Minor Astronomical Complexes of Yaxhá are configured underscore the aforementioned study, especially highlighting the position of the sun on the days of solstice and equinox. This methodical and precise mastery of solar position and the passing of the seasons led them to skilfully plan the periods of sowing, harvesting and ceremonial calendars.
Ancient Guatemala was inhabited between the 6th century BC and 9th century AD, that is to say, for 16 centuries. Yes, it seems surprising to us nowadays. One of the relevant reasons for this population concentration was access to water, which attracted many individuals who subsequently stayed in the city. Be that as it may, you’ll discover all this and more by visiting the archaeological sites of the area.
Factors every tourist should take into account
When travelling to this site it’s very important that you wear comfortable clothes, shorts, a light shirt, a cap to protect you from the sun and comfortable but safe, firm and resistant shoes. And don’t forget to use sun cream, as you will be exposed to the sun for quite some time.
In addition, it’s recommended that you bring water and something to eat. Something light, because the trip from the nearest urban centre takes about two hours and there are no places to eat nearby.
If you want to stay longer and do some activities, you can camp on the shore of the lake; there’s a small campsite there. This is an excellent alternative if you don’t want to be surrounded by tourists in Tikal. Also, the recommended time to travel to the area is spring, as there are fewer tourists and the heat is not so intense.
Central America and cultural tourism
In Central America, countries like Guatemala and, above all, places like the archaeological site of Yaxhá, represent an ancient and unknown history which is worth exploring. This region of Central America with its volcanoes, lakes, landscapes and so on, is much more interesting than it seems; there’s so much to see when travelling to Guatemala.
Its archaeological sites are unique and a living testimony of history. In addition, tourism in Central America is cheap, so visiting all these cultural centres won’t be too expensive if you plan your trip and focus accordingly.
A tour of this archaeological zone may vary in price depending on the number of days it lasts. The standard price can go from USD 70 for a two-day tour, with a round trip to Guatemala City. Other tours, which include a trip through the whole of Guatemala, can range from USD 900. The tourist and the archaeological Central America go hand-in-hand on these routes.
A wonderful country with a vibrant history
In Central America, leisure trips, as well as the cultural ones, are a great way to spend a great vacation. Now you know what to see in Guatemala. And if you have any days left after exploring this site, you can travel to Panama: other landscapes, another culture and another ecosystem just as amazing to visit await you there.