Guatemala is a nation of both cultural and geological significance and is situated in Central America, bordering the four countries of Mexico, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras. Its small size has often led to it being overlooked as a tourist destination to the likes of Mexico and South American nations, but this 42,000 sq mile area holds a unique array of ancient landmarks that will take your breath away.
The Maya civilisation extends through a large portion of Mesoamerica, with as many as seven million indigenous people still living in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras today. In the 21st century, indigenous people of Maya descent in Guatemala account for 40% of the population and this huge cultural influence has shaped the country throughout history. There are two significant Mayan landmarks in Guatemala which are well worth visiting and Fred.\ Discover can offer a range of tours that can take you to both of them.
Although it may have been dedicated as a site for the responsible extraction of an array of forest products, Uaxactun remains the location of one of the most important cities of the Mayan civilisation. It is significant for holding the oldest-known and most accurate complete astronomical complexes ever found and was one of the longest-occupied Maya sites, having been occupied between 500BC and 900AD.
A series of pyramids and temples are contained within Uaxactun, as well as a main astrological centre and a small archaeological museum. Uaxactun is also surrounded by 47 acres of dense tropical forest, which is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna including howler monkeys, spider monkeys, ant-eaters, birds, deer, jaguars and coati.
A short 20 min journey is all that sits between the Mayan site of Uaxactun and Tikal National Park - a UNESCO World Heritage site. Another of the most important Mayan cities, its remote location and jungle setting both add to the feeling of significance. Dating back to 400BC, it is one of the few UNESCO World Heritage sites to gain its status according to both natural and cultural criteria.
One of the most significant temples is the Great Jaguar Temple – otherwise known as Temple I – which is 144 feet tall and offers breath-taking views of the surrounding area. There are currently six temples in total within the Tikal National Park, with archaeologists strongly believing there may be more which are yet to be uncovered. All of these temples can be fully appreciated by climbing to the top, which will provide a sense of the significance of the Mayan culture.
As well as tours to landmarks of the Mayan civilisation, TravelQuest can also take you on a series of tours within North America, Central America, and South America. Each of our tours offers an unparalleled insight into local culture, geography and history of your chosen destination. For more information, contact us via the freephone number above or complete the online enquiry form.