Skip to content

Top 5 Countries To Visit Ancient Mayan Ruins In 2023

share the article

Last update

From ancient citadels to perfectly symmetrical pyramidal temples dedicated to long-forgotten gods, the Maya are an endless source of fascination for both historians and tourists alike, but these enigmatic Wondering where exactly the most impressive examples of man-made can be preserved? In this article Top 5 Countries to Visit Mayan Ruins in 2023and some of their main concerns:

Top 5 Countries to Visit Ancient Mayan Ruins in 2023

Who are the Maya?

First and foremost, who exactly it was Why are the Maya’s past empires so important to us today? Built several cities where a growing trade flourished.

Crowds gather around the historic Mayan fortress of Tulum perched on a cliff facing the Caribbean Sea on Mexico's Mayan Riviera (1)

The first major cities date back to 750 BC, and just three centuries later, enormous buildings and complex social structures were already hallmarks of this civilization. They are complex hieroglyphs, mathematics, advanced knowledge of astronomy.

The Maya also roamed freely in Central America, reaching as far north as the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Naturally, the country as we know it did not exist then. Internal disputes aside, tHey, you’ve held the land for over 3,000 years Until, of course, the Spaniards came and ended the Mayan hegemony.

Top 5 Travel Insurance Plans for 2023 Starting at $10 a Week

Base of Mayan Pyramid in Chichen Itza, Mexico

Having experienced a decline since the 1000s, the Maya really fell apart when they came into contact with warlike European armies. Today, all that remains are the ruins of a formerly glorious and loosely coupled city-state, jumbled apart by his 21st-century borders that didn’t exist thousands of years ago.

But on which side of these redrawn borders Are the best Mayan ruins finally over?

5) El Salvador

El Salvador may have garnered attention as the first sovereign nation to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender and as a hotbed of cartels and illegal immigration, but one lesser-known fact about this Central American gem is that A unique cultural heritageespecially when it comes to ancient history.

A medium-sized Mayan pyramid in El Tasmal, a historical site in El Salvador, Central America

Modern-day El Salvador is the southernmost frontier of the Mayan territory, and while it’s true that many of El Salvador’s Mayan sites lack the brilliance and sophistication of their neighbors, they’re likely the result of less-than-optimal restoration efforts. they are magnificent Nevertheless. There are at least five tourist-friendly ruins.

  • El Tazmal
  • Hoya de selenium
  • Siwatan
  • san andres
  • Casablanca

the most beautiful and best preserved, El Tazmal, tucked away in western El Salvador, near the charming colonial town of Chalchuapa. It is a huge architectural complex dotted with late-classical pyramids, temples and burial grounds.Without a doubt, a tour of El Tazmel Bucket list activity On a trip to El Salvador.

4) Honduras

Honduras has the largest hidden Mayan treasure of any Central American country. these days, Only 26 ancient cities have been excavated, and recent estimates indicate that another 4,000 remain buried. Of the 26 known to historians, there seems to be a prevailing consensus that Copan is a crown jewel of some kind.

Mayan ruins of Copan, an ancient Mayan city-state in Honduras, Central America

Nestled in a scenic valley just a stone’s throw from Guatemala, Copán is known for its Mayan carvings and elaborate processions, and is home to traditional step pyramids, recreational plazas used for social events, and once opulent palaces. It is connected to the central Acropolis, which houses the Mayan elite.

The city was abandoned in the 9th century, Numerous well-maintained monuments standing intactlike that:

  • hieroglyphic stairs
  • Maya Ball Court
  • Rosalia Temple Pyramid
  • ancient amphitheater

Admission is $15 per person and includes access to both the ruins and adjacent ruins. Sepulturas.

3) Belize

Belize ranks among the top destinations, mainly due to the high number of Mayan ruins sightings. country compact size, which makes it possible to reach more historic sites in less time and ensures their perfect state of preservation.Belize has 12 major archaeological zones, but our favorite has to be the mysterious one Karakol.

Mayan Pyramid Temple in Caracol, Belize, Central America

Covering an area of ​​70 square miles (larger than the capital of Belize), it housed 140,000 people at its height and was an important trading center until the 10th century. A walk down a stone-paved path gives visitors access to the ball his court, richly decorated altars to the gods, and even the observatory.

Other Mayan sites not to be missed in Belize include:

  • Lamanaisite of a ritual chamber flanked by a pair of 13-foot-tall masked faces carved out of limestone, adorned with crocodile headdresses
  • Xunantunich,home El Castilloor The Castle, the second largest building in Belize
  • Rubantunthe only Mayan city in Belize with structures built without mortar
  • El Pilara mining site in the early stages of excavation and marketed as an off-road alternative to the much busier Karakol and Lamanai

2) Mexico

Perhaps the country most famous for its Mayan heritage, Mexico, and more specifically the Yucatan Peninsula, is full of centuries-old landmarks. It owes its historic pyramids to the Mayan trade routes that left a lasting impression across the southeastern coast. I could write an entire article based on that historical wonder, but I promise I’ll keep it short.

Chichen Itza, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Mayan ruins in Mexico By far the most visited and most accessible among other sitesIn a way, the Yucatan serves as a gateway to the wider Mayan world, hosting at least 38 direct flights from the United States and the enviable ancient cities of Chichen Itza, Tulum and Coba, to name a few. I have a collection under my belt. , easily overshadows other entries on this list.

Yes, there may be some congestion and occasional littering, but they’re still forces to consider, and exploring the ruins will become even easier when the new Maya Train starts in 2023. enhances connections between cosmopolitan resort destinations such as Cancun and Playa del Carmen and lesser-known and beautiful historic fortresses inland.

Our top picks are:

  • Izamalthe site of a Mayan pyramid with considerable height
  • Muira prime example of Mexican peten architecture
  • Uxmalfeaturing an oval pyramid of magicians
  • Calakmula partially excavated city with up to 6,750 ancient buildings

Guatemala

A little-known fact about Mayan history: Ancient human centers are not found on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, much less in the dense tropical forests of Belize. actually, The empire was mostly centered in modern Guatemalawhere the oldest and richest cityIt was from here that the Mayans ruled over vast territories.

Panorama of Tikal, Guatemala, Central America

Needless to say, there are countless splendid ruins, mighty tikal Might be a good place to start. A UNESCO World Heritage Site of immense historical value, the city was first settled in the 7th century BC and reached its zenith between 200 and 900 AD, and was one of the Maya’s most It was located in one of the powerful kingdoms.

Historians often call “Best understood” of all large lowland Mayan cities, a detailed list of dynastic rules that aid the work of archaeologists. Iximche, Quiriga, Zaculeu, and Nakbe are Guatemalan Mayan open-air museums worth visiting. In fact, Nakbe First Maya City Ever Built.

Young man exploring ancient archaeological Maya city in Mexico

Not sure what the rules are for visiting ancient ruins? Read this article and be prepared.

traveler alert: Don’t forget your travel insurance for your next trip!

↓ Join the community ↓

of Travel Off Path Community FB Group Get the latest reopening news, conversations, and Q&As every day.

Travel-off-Path-group-1-1
Subscribe for latest posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to Travel Off Path’s latest travel news straight to your inbox

This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com.