Cities of the Mayan World
LOCATIONS NEAR THE RUINS OF THE MAYA
| MEXICO |
Guatemala is located in Central America bordered by Belize and the Gulf of Honduras on
the east, Mexico on the north and the west and Honduras, El Salvador and the Pacific Ocean
on the south. The terrain runs from high volcanic peaks to tropical rain forests and
Caribbean coastal beaches.
Guatemala's appeal to many visitors is its diversity of people,
culture, religion, and landscape. But, to many Guatemala is the Maya heartland of Central
America and home to a large number of impressive ruins. It is with these parts of the
'Mayan World' that hold our interest.
| Guatemala City
| Flores |
| Sayaxché And The Pasión River
The capital, is located in the
south central part of the country and is the largest population center. Of
the 11 million people living in Guatemala nearly 25% live in or near the
capital. The nation's transportation, commercial, financial, and cultural
centers are located in there.
The city is clean and modern, with paved streets
radiating from the town center in the manner of Spanish cities. The National Palace and
the Metropolitan Cathedral are both located in the city center. La Aurora Park is home to
the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology which is quite famous for its collection of Maya
art and objects.
Located on Lake Petén Itzá, Flores is
the capital of the department of Peten. The city is located on the ruins of
the ancient city of Tayasal. The ruins are just across the lake on an island
called the Isla de Flores. Most of the tours for Tikal and many other Maya
ruins located in the Petén start from Flores. Tours for the ruins of El
Mirador and Río Azul also start in Flores, however, the ruins are located in
the very north near the Mexican border.
Located north west of the capital, in the mountains of Quiché,
Chichicastenango is famous for its folk art. Objects like wood carving, hand sewn garments
like the huipil and textile weaving. The city is also famous for its ceremonial and ritual
life which is a mix of Maya Catholic fusion.
The markets to be found in this city are not
to be believed. This is definitely one of the largest trading centers in the country, but
moreover it has a ritual and tradition which is unlike any other where descendants of the
ancient Maya sell vegetables, fruits, grains, lime and soap blend with hundreds of
SAYAXCHÉ and the PASIÓN RIVER
This is the gateway to Ceibal undoubtedly
the best preserved and certainly the best restored of all the sites in this part of
Guatemala. Located nearby are the ruins of Dos Pilas, Aguateca and Alter of Sacrificios.
The area is a basin which stretches along the river and takes in the lagoon called
Cities of the Mayan World
B E L I Z E
Belize is located in Central America bordered by Mexico on the north and northwest,
Guatemala on the west and the Caribbean and Gulf of Honduras on the east. The terrain is
tropical rain forests and Caribbean coastal beaches.
Belize has a population mixed with
descendants of the Spanish, shipwrecked slaves and Maya. The Maya population is quite
large due to the exodus of 1847 during the War of the Castes. Many of the northern Maya
moved to Belize (at that time British Honduras). Belize is also home to a large number of
| Corozal |
Orange Walk | Belize City | Belmopan | San
Corozal is the gateway to Belize
from Mexico. Located on the border between the two is an incredible area
called the free market. Products from Mexico and Belize are sold and traded
without the hassle of import/export, but only in the market place.
Leaving the market and venturing into town one will notices that Corozal is a sea
town. Everything is close to the sea, the parks, the market, hotels, restaurants and part
of the civic center.
There are several museums in Corozol. One is a sea park and another houses Maya
artifacts. Another distinction in this city is the spoken word. While English is the
official language, you will hear Spanish and another language which is not Mayan, but
rather a combination of the three called Creole. Mayan of the Yucatec region is also
spoken by many of the indigenous Maya who live there. The ruins of Cerros is close by and
Santa Rita Corozol is located within the city.
This city is located just south of
Corozal on the New River and 52 miles north of Belize City. Orange Walk is a
sugar cane city and has a largely Hispanic speaking population. This city is
also the starting point for a boat trip to Lamanai. The ruins of Altun Ha
are located east of the town, Cuello and Nohmul to the north, Colha to the
northeast and the Rio Bravo Conservation Area to the south west.
Located on the Caribbean Belize city is a hub for travelers. The
International Airport is located 10 miles north of the city. Travelers from all over the
world enter Belize here or come from Corozol to the north. The city is a embarkation point
for the islands in the Caribbean such as Ambergris Caye, made famous by Madonna's song Isla
Water taxis leave several times a day for several locations off the mainland. Ambergris
Caye can also be reached by air from the airport.
The city also features a Maritime Museum, Baboon Sanctuary and a place called "The
National Handicraft Center". It is a type of market for crafts such as carved
hardwood figurines, slate carvings, black coral jewelry, pottery, essence oils and a host
of other items. The Belize Zoo is located about 28 miles west of Belize City.
The capitol of Belize is located
in land 50 miles southwest of Belize City.
Until 1965 Belize City was the capitol, but due to the devastation caused by Hurricane
Hattie it was moved to the Cayo District. It is said that Belmopan is the smallest capital
city in the world and it may just be true. The city is so small that everything is close
There is a Plaza downtown which houses the Municipal buildings and next to that is
Market Square. In this market vendors sell everything. You can get good buys on bananas,
papaya, pineapples, mangos, coconuts, avocados and Mennonite watermelons and cheese.
The Maya ruins of Cahal Pech, Caracol, El Pilar, and Xunantunich are close at hand and
the best way to get to Tikal in nearby in Guatemala.
20 miles south of the capital in
the valley between the Macal and Mopan Rivers you will find the twin cities
of San Ignacio and Santa Elena. The urban area found here is quite large and
makes up Belize's second largest urban area. San Ignacio is the unofficial
capital of the "Cayo District" of Belize. The Maya ruins of Cahal Pech,
Caracol, Xunantunich (also called Benque Viejo) and the Caves of Chechem Ha
are all nearby. Macal River canoeing is also very popular.
Cities of the Mayan World
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