Tikal is most definitely the most impressive of all the Mayan sites in Central America not only for its historical remains but because it is also a haven for wildlife, making the trip to Tikal all the more enchanting.
Yaxha at Sunset
Yaxha at Sunset, Guatemala
Yaxha, q'equchi' for green water, is located 73 km from Flores. This Maya site, discovered in 1904 by architect Teobert Maler, is situated within the Maya Biosphere Reserve along with the sites of Nakum and El Naranjo. It was occupied from pre-classic (800 BC) to post-classic (1600 AD) times and covers 3 square kilometers with more than 500 buildings discovered, including the only twin pyramid complex outside of Tikal. It was allied to Tikal and an enemy of El Naranjo, from whom it suffered various defeats.
Nearby is Yaxha lagoon, in the center of which was another Mayan site called Topoxté, where building continued after the classic collapse until 1450. The lagoon is home to the Morletti specie of crocodile, endemic to Petén.
There is extensive restoration ongoing at this site, and some areas and temples have wooden stairways to facilitate access. You can therefore see the archeologists working away and explore parts which are yet to be uncovered, buried by the vegetation.
Receiving fewer visitors than other sites, Yaxha remains peaceful and there are wonderful wildlife opportunities. The scale of these ruins suggests that it was undoubtedly a very important city during the Mayan reign.
Sunset atop one of the temples on a clear day is simply stunning.
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Photos of Yaxha at Sunset
Other experiences in Tikal & El Petén
These activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences around where you're staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident's eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can suggest tours and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the local ways of life.
A two day / one night excursion visiting the ruins of Uaxactun and the opportunity to enjoy a locally cooked, evening meal.