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Uaxactun

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Uaxactun is in Peten of Guatemala.

Understand[edit]

Uaxactun is an archaeological site and a traditional Peten community that has been dedicated to the responsible extraction of gum, xate and other forest products for many years. The archaeological site is full of stories and millennial buildings. It is the remains of one of the most important cities of the Mayan civilization.

History[edit]

Uaxactun is well known for holding the oldest known Maya astronomical complex yet to be found in completion. It is one of the longest occupied Maya sites with evidence of occupation from 500BC until 900AD. The history is marked by a transcendental event for the Maya civilization: la "Entrada" or the "Arrival" of Siyaj K'ak' in the year 378AD. The astrological complex is currently the most accurate of all in existence. Visit the site on a solstice day to see for yourself.

The town was established 100 years ago as a chicle or gum camp. With the passing of time the settlers became permanent and formed the community. The archaeological site was discovered in 1916. Today they are charged with protecting the surrounding jungle and ruins.

Landscape[edit]

Jungle

Flora and fauna[edit]

Howler Monkeys, Spider Monkeys, Ant-Eaters, Birds, deer, jaguars, coatimundis.

Climate[edit]

Tropical

Get in[edit]

Take a bus from the market in Santa Elena at 2pm (it passes through Tikal sometime between 4 and 4:30pm - times approximate). Cost is 10Q from Tikal. Drive a good off road vehicle. Or arrange with one of the tourist agencies in Flores to get there. If you're driving your own vehicle, you need to get permission from the Tikal administration office first. A mountain bike could be a good option here also, and they are available for rent in Flores. It is 23 km from Tikal. The bus returning from Uaxactun leaves at 6am, so you´ll need to spend the night if you go by bus.

Fees/Permits[edit]

Entry is 50Q which you pay at Tikal. (Nov 2013)

Get around[edit]

Local guides are extremely helpful as you visit ancient Mayan sites. Not only do they provide information and historical facts, they give the insight and perspective of a local Guatemalan. Adventure Life [1] offers packaged tours to Guatemala, including local guide services.

See[edit][add listing]

Mayan Ruins, Animals, Birds. The ruins are on either side of the town which is laid out around an old landing strip. Group E with the astrological center is on the south side. Groups A and B with the palace and main squares are on the north side. There are more groups but you will have to brave the jungle mosquitoes to get to them. The ruins are not as well restored as other ruins in the region, but they are impressive nonetheless. A community of Chicleros (gum collectors) currently live on the site and many of Uaxactun's residents gather chicle, xate palm leaves, and allspice from the forest to make a living. The local community also offers a small archeological museum filled with hundreds of in tact Mayan ceramics. They are housed here to keep them away from looters who would sell them on the black market. It is by Campamento El Chiclero near the road that leads up to groups A and B. They also have informational pamphlets about Uaxactun avaialble there. If you want, you can hire a local guide as well (Spanish speaking only).

Do[edit][add listing]

Take photos, hike in the jungle. You can hire a local tourism guide (inquire at the OMYC office) to show you around or guide you on hikes or other activities.

On Dec 21, 2012 the Maya calendar located at Uaxactun will complete its final cycle. Tourists planning to commemorate the milestone will be camping out on this evening during the winter solstice at the ruins in conjunction with the Guatemala tourism board.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Nothing

Eat[edit][add listing]

There are a few restaurants but there isn't much business for them in town, so be sure to check them out before you get really hungry.

Drink[edit][add listing]

What you bring

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Campamento el Chiclero, (Northeast corner of the landing strip in town).  edit This spot is run by a woman named Neria who will take good care of you. She has rooms with beds, showers with cold water only (though its too hot to really need hot water), and she will feed you delicious Guatemalan home cooking. You can also camp on her property if you so choose. The local ceramics museum is adjacent and there is even an original stela in the courtyard. The total bill for 2 nights in a room and 3 meals was 230Q
  • Alicia's Guesthouse.  edit

Lodging[edit]

Camping[edit]

There are camping sites in the area. You will see signs.

Backcountry[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Carry a hiking stick; if you don´t use it for hiking it might be useful. Wear long pants and log sleeves even though it is hot. The mosquitoes are plentiful.

Get out[edit]

Bus leaves early in the morning. Ask around for the time (probably between 6am and 6:30am) but it will let out a long honk announcing that its making the rounds to pick people up. 30Q to El Remate. Or arrange private transport.



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