Yaxha – Guatemala
Nestled between two gorgeous lakes, Yaxha is one of the best excavated and well preserved Mayan sites in Guatemala. While not as large as its more famous neighbour Tikal, Yaxha is nevertheless a stunning array of ancient Mayan ruins. The sites lesser known reputation adds to the authenticity and works in Yaxha’s favour, with the sound of tourists replaced by the atmospheric jungle sounds of Howler Monkeys and colourful Toucans. The North Acropolis, a painstakingly well excavated complex, is home to three stunning temples which offer unparalleled views of the surrounding mountains, rainforest and lakes. The beautiful lakes Yaxha and Sacnab give visitors a truly magnificent view high upon the temples, which unlike Tikal are all accessible to climb. Yaxha is also home to 40 stunning stelae, or statues, that are typical icons of ancient Mayan ruins, as well as numerous alters and ball courts. These combine to make Yaxha one of the most complete and authentic surviving Mayan sites.
Where is it?
Yaxha is located in the north-east of the Peten district, which itself is the northernmost region of Guatemala. It is close to the country’s border with neighbouring Belize.
What is it?
The ancient city is one of the best remaining examples of the Ancient Maya civilisation. It is the third largest city in the Peten district, which is also home to several other ruins given its centrality and importance to the whole civilisation which thrived nearly 2,000 years ago.
Best time to visit?
Given its tropical Central American location, Guatemala is well renowned for its hot and humid weather. November to March give the most pleasant conditions, with average temperatures around 26 degrees and a decrease in humidity levels.
The highest point of Yaxha is the immense Templo 216. Standing tall in in the Eastern Acropolis over the jungle canopy, the wondrous temple affords magnificent views in every direction. Here you can gaze over the stunning Guatemalan tropical rainforest, the gorgeous turquoise lakes and the other surrounding ruins of the site.