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Get off the tourist path: visit Yaxhá in Peten

Location:
Guatemala

archaeology,Peten,Guatemala

My first trip to Petén was in December 2005 so I decided to go back to this amazing region during the Semana Santa. We left Flores at 7 am on the Saturday to go to Yaxhá, an archeological site at 30 km southwest from Tikal. I have heard from Yaxhá from a friend and I had planned to go for a while. But going there without an organized tour was a bit complicated. So when the travel agent told us about a new bus going directly to the site for 150 Quetzals per person, I knew it was my opportunity! The bus leaves Flores at 7 am every day with 2 persons minimum and returns at 3 pm. You can buy a ticket in any travel agency in Flores.

Yaxhá is an unique religious and ceremonial archaeological site in Petén, because it’s situated on the Zenith. The temples were built so the Mayas could observe the sun from sunrise till sunset. The name means Green Water.Teobert Maler, a German explorer who devoted his life to the ruins of the Maya civilization, stumbled upon the covered site in 1904 during one of his expedition. The restoration work began in 1989 and over the years, archaeologists have restored and excavated many of the buildings. Today, the former shape of the city is once again recognizable with more than 500 structures.

After a 2 hour drive, we paid the 80Q of entrance fees and arrived at the blue azul Lagoon. After Tikal, we enjoyed the peace of the site while listening to the birds singing and the monkeys howling. Signs explain the history of each temples and places, very useful for a lazy traveler like me who don’t like to read her travel book. You can visit the site in 2 or 3 hours and finish by climbing the temple 216 where you have an amazing view on the two Lagoons Sacnab and Yaxhá and the temples surrounded by the jungle. It’s a good place to see the sunset but we didn’t stay long enough to see one. I definitely preferred Yaxhá to Tikal, less touristy and with its beautiful lagoon. You can camp for free, it’s in my To Do List in Guatemala. See you soon Petén, I have still a lot to see!

For more information on Yaxhá, check this website: www.yaxhanatural.org/eng/eng.htm

Further Information

Travel tips: there is a shuttle everyday leaving Flores at 7 a.m. and back around 3 p.m. for $20/person
Must see/do at this place: camp for the night



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By Claire Bourgin
I have traveled around the world since I'm a kid. Traveling is now part of my everyday life in Guatemala. I have been living in Quetzaltenango for 3...
13 Aug 2009


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