Top 10 Ruin Sites Of The Maya

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Regardless of whether or not you are passionate about archeology and history, visiting the sites of the ancient Mayan civilizations is one of the things every person should do in this lifetime. Planning a trip to the ancient ruins of a civilization that has managed to flourish when Europe was struggling in the Dark Ages is a safe guarantee that your vacation will be anything but boring. Without further ado, here is a list of the must-see Mayan sites to visit in Central America and Mexico.


1. Chichen Itza

Located in Mexico, Chichen Itza has the most dramatic and intriguing sights as well as the largest known cities ever built by this sophisticated ancient culture. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this site is the fact that it incorporates a plethora of architectural styles indicating the diverse populations that inhabited the city. If you are planning to go to Chichen Itza, then two of the places that should not miss from your itinerary are Cenoto Segrado and the Temple of the Warriors.


2. Tikal

Tikal is by far the largest Mayan site, incorporating approximately 3,000 structures and it is located in Guatemala. The impressive structures discovered so far are stunning and give an overall sensation of stepping into another world. Maybe this is why Tikal was chosen as the movie set for Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto. Given the size of Tikal, tourists are highly advised to purchase the map – normally found at the entrance – and not wander around without a compass. The most impressive sights of Tikal are the five pyramids and the Temple of the Two-Headed Snake.


3. Cahal Pech

Cahal Pech is the most astonishing Mayan site located in the small country Belize. The most impressive thing about this site is its actual location: Cahal Pech is built on a hill overlooking two important Belizean cities, namely Santa Elena and San Ignacio. It is necessary to mention that even though the site only includes a little over 30 structures so far, the panoramic view of the surroundings and the two acres of Cahal Pech are definitely worth the trouble.


4. Altun Ha

Altun Ha is mostly famous among the other Mayan sites because of the abundance of animals and plants you can see there. While this Belizean site is rather hard to reach, the wildlife surrounding it, the 200 species of birds recorded and the large crocodiles living in the Mayan built reservoirs will surely impress you. The most significant sight in Altun Ha is the Jade Head. The Jade Head is the largest object carved by the Mayan from this material and that represents one of their key gods, Kinich Ahua (the sun god).


5. Palenque

Palenque is the second must-see Mayan site located in Mexico. Built in what is now a very dense jungle forest, the site impresses with its fine and sophisticated architecture and the abundance of information about the Mayan knowledge and history. One thing is for sure, Palenque will definitely spark up anyone’s imagination, considering that it is in the middle of the jungle and only 10% of it has been uncovered so far. Despite the fact that there are still a lot of things to be discovered, Palenque includes several amazing sights you should visit (E.G. the tomb of King Pakal, Temple of the Foliated Cross, Temple of the Inscriptions).


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