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Uaxactun Overview

Located twenty three kilometers north of Tikal, Uaxactun (pronounced wha-shahk-toon) is another Maya ceremonial center and is believed to be the oldest astrological observatory yet discovered in the Maya world. The name means “height stones” as a reference to a stone dating of the 8th baktun in the Maya calendar It is believed that Uaxactun was built at the same time of Tikal, at the end of the Pre-classic Period. Grand Jaguar, the monarch of Tikal who governed for 62 years between 317 and 379 AJ, kept Uaxactun under his power. The city developed during the Median Classic Period. The Maya improved their writing and made many important discoveries in the field of astronomy. The town was abandoned in the 10th Century and was discovered in 1916 by the American archeologist Sylvanus Morley. In the late 70s a road was opened to get to Tikal and in 1982 the site was included in Tikal protected area. The only access is an unpaved road through the jungle, only approachable by 4 WD vehicle. Open daily 6 a.m. – 6 p.m., the entrance is free if you have been to Tikal before. If not you have to pay the $2 park entrance. Uaxactun village lies alongside an abandoned airstrip. Villagers live off the collection of chicle (natural gum used for chewing gum), pimienta (spices) and xate (leaves of palm trees) in the surrounding forest. There are only two hotels where visitors can spend the night. Campamento El Chiclero ($3-17) On the north side of the airstrip, Campamento El Chiclero has ten small, basic rooms, with mosquito-netted ceilings and windows. You also can camp or string a hammock for $3. They have the best restaurant in town with large portions of good, affordable food ($6 for a soup and main course), and a small museum with local artifacts. The friendly owner can arrange trips to more remote sites such as El Zotz, Rio Azul, Nakbe, la Muralla and El Mirador. (502)7926-1095 Aldana’s lodge ($2.50-4) Just off the street leading to group A and B, it’s the cheapest option. You can camp or sleep in a simple thatched-roof cabana. The owner can arrange trips to more remote sites such as El Zotz, Rio Azul, Nakbe, la Muralla and El Mirador. You can eat in one of three comedores in town: comedor Uaxactun, comedor la Bendicion and comedor Imperial. They all serve cheap local food.

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