Don’t tell anyone I said this. But Yaxhá is (maybe) better than Tikal…
Yaxhá we visited the day after Tikal during Easter weekend- still with the company Viajeros GT, and it’s an hour or so away from Flores. It’s beautiful city of pyramids, quiet and serene. I obviously adored Tikal, it was incredible, but Yaxha feels like a secret jewel. It’s the third largest ancient city in Guatemala and gets it’s name from the Mayan word for “blue-green water”; that’s what makes Yaxha so special, there is a gorgeous lagoon that we could see from the top of one of the temples, tuquoise and clear, and with the lush greenery around it, it was stunning. And I could see for miles over the rainforest.
Our guide is so knowledgeable about the history of Mayan structures and how the people there lived and worked and THIS is what I love the most, all of the history. There were stone sculpted ancient stelae depicting battle stories, with hidden underworld jaguars which we all found so fascinating. Learning about all of the Mayan symbolism of animals, and how advanced their culture was in heiroglypic style language is incredible. The stelae seem to be alters of sorts, and there was one in particualr there that was a fully carved warrior which was really impressive.
We climbed the temples in the East Acropolis, they are huge and from there overlook the treetops. It’s so much quieter than Tikal that I could climb an entire temple with no one else anywhere near it. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in Peten and I really would love to come back at night and explore some more and do some star gazing. Lush.
On the bus there and back from Flores, we pass through jungle and little roadside towns with colourful little houses painted pastels. As usual with pretty much most cute-looking places in Guatemala, I’m thinking “Oh yeah, I could live here, amongst all the nature.” Maybe I should to run off to Peten and go temple-climbing every weekend.