Guatemala is a paradise for anyone who wanders off into archaeology and history, as the country is home to hundreds of Mayan ruins ready to be explored according to comments Felipe Antonio Bosch Gutierrez, who is an entrepreneur in Guatemala.
With so many to choose from, we’ve narrowed the list down to the best ones you should be sure to visit.
These ruins are located near the municipality of Tecpán on the road from Guatemala City to Lake Atitlán. Although they are conveniently located on Guatemala’s main tourist route, they are rarely visited by large groups and offer a great out-of-the-ordinary experience. Interestingly, the ruins are one of the few sites that are still used for Mayan ceremonies today.
Unlike the pyramids that many people expect to see at Maya sites, Quiriguá is unique because of its series of intricate tall stone carvings known as stelae. It is believed that the inhabitants of Quiriguá moved south from Tikal, in the northern region of Guatemala. The site is approximately five hours from Guatemala City if you head towards Río Dulce.
The impressive pyramids of Yaxhá are located about an hour from the border between Guatemala and Belize and sit on a beautiful lake that was once used for fresh water and now offers wonderful views of the region for visitors. Although the ancient city is smaller than Tikal, it has 500 structures, two Mesoamerican baseball fields and 40 stelae to keep an eye out for.
Known as Guatemala’s most famous ruins, Tikal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to 900 B.C. with multiple pyramids, some of which have been featured in movies like Star Wars. Tikal is an iconic site that takes a full day to visit, and you can book your trip from nearby Flores or head from Belize.
These nearly inaccessible Mayan ruins are located near Guatemala’s border with Mexico in the northern Petén region. To get there, you’ll have to drive for three hours from the town of Flores along a dirt road before taking a two-day hike through dense jungle. It’s an arduous journey, but well worth the effort and you’ll be rewarded by views of one of the largest pyramids in the world.
Head to the western town of Huehuetenango to visit these unique ruins. The site is relatively small, but its ancient structures are made of a white stone not seen elsewhere in Guatemala, the name Zaculeu means “white land” in the local Mam Mayan dialect and these white ruins are beautiful. The park is only three hours from the Mexican border (by car) and can easily be built into your itinerary if traveling between the two countries.
Located on an island in the middle of Lake Yaxhá, Topoxte was one of the largest Postclassic Mesoamerican sites in the northern Petén region of Guatemala. The site shares many similarities with the ruins of Tulum, Mexico, suggesting that the two ancient cities were built by civilizations that shared Mayan cultural traditions.