Discovering the Mayan civilisation of the Yucatan peninsula in the 21st Century

> Journeying 6 weeks on La Ruta Maya in Guatemala, Honduras, Belize & Mexico <



Chichicastenango, Quetzaltenango, and Huehuetenango… or what about: Uxmal, Sololá, Altun Ha, Poptún, Finca Ixobel, El Zotz, Xpujil, Ezdná, or Yaxchilán.These are all exotic places on our 6-week journey through Central America's La Ruta Maya: the ancient Mayan “route” that penetrates the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexica, Belize, Guatemala, and Western Honduras.

We've decided to insert hashtags in “route”. Because we couldn't find the La Ruta Maya on any of our road maps or in the index of any of our geography books. This is because La Ruta Maya is not a single route or itinerary. It is much more than a place. La Ruta Maya is a concept formulated by National Geographic in the late 1980s. They wanted to create a unique travel route that could connect thousands of greater and lesser archaeological sites, and create hiking routes into the untold square meters of pristine jungles, forests, wetlands and wildlife habitats.


The route has not only been publicized by National Geographic – it is also a hot item in Sunday newspaper travel sections. We think this is for good reasons. Travel here still is very interesting and exciting. To us, it is one big show-off of how the Mayans forged a powerful and mysterious empire, thus making it is quite easy to see why this region has captivated historians, archaeologists, and travelers since its discovery. The ancient Mayan civilization is very apparent in the customs, language and dress of the Indian towns and villages across the entire region. We believe that even the most jaded traveler will be rewarded by the strong indigenous culture, grandeur landscapes, colorful Indian markets, and chilly highlands. For such a small region, we would initially think that one month may seem like a lot, but we ended up spending 6 weeks here. Not only because the transport was often slow and hard-hitting, traveling in zigzagging chicken-buses on remote mountain roads. The rather small and compact Mayan heartland simply is one of the western hemisphere’s most exciting and picturesque regions, and it takes time to see the best of it.

If you want more travel content on the slice of Earth, then check out long journey across Central America. Also, check our scaling of the wild Guatemalan Volcanoes, or some of our island hopping pages in the region, .e.g. our trips to the Corn Islands in Honduras, the Bocas del Toro archipelago in Panama, or the Mesoamerican Reef off Belize and Honduras.


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© Anders M. Pedersen & Jakob M. Pedersen. All photos have been taken by Anders & Jakob.