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2014-11-23  
Yaxha NP Guatemala, WW
mini location map2014-11-23
45 by photographer avatarVolcanoCLMBR
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Yaxha NP Guatemala, WW 
Yaxha NP Guatemala, WW
 
Backpack avatar Nov 23 2014
VolcanoCLMBR
Backpack8.00 Miles 1,129 AEG
Backpack8.00 Miles2 Days         
1,129 ft AEG35 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The Yaxha-Nakum-Naranjo National Park is a group of Mayan arqueological sites also known as the "Cultural triangle." It is located on the Peten region in northern Guatemala near the Guatemala/Belize and Mexico border.
My friend Stephanie's and I adventure started with an 8 hour overnight bus ride from Guatemala City that arrived at the northern town of Flores at 6AM. From then we quickly gathered some supplies, mainly food and water for the overnight camp. We then took a mini bus headed to the Guatemala/Belize border town of Melchor de Mencos, it was a 50 minute ride among a paved road surrounded by dense tropical jungle. We were left off at the dirt road crossing that leads to the park. It was supposed to be an 11 km walk along this road in which we immediately were greeted by the sounds of howler monkeys. After walking about 20 minutes we decided to stop at a shaded area and had breakfast consisting of hardboiled eggs, bread and refried beans and some oranges. We took some photos and continued our walk through the already hot and humid morning.
At about the half way point we were picked up and given a ride on the back of a pickup truck headed to a hotel at the entrance of the park, the guy driving refused to take any money for the 15 minute ride that easily saved us an hour's walk.
My "gringa" friend Stephanie paid the foreigner's entrance of Q80 Quetzales ($11) and because it was sunday all Guatemalan citizens enter free, so i gladly welcomed the free entrance :)
After paying we continued the 1.5 mile walk to the campsite (Free camping, YAY!).....the campsite area was left courtesy of the Survivor Guatemala crew, who filmed the show a few years back. We pitched our tent on the second floor of this cool looking bungalow overlooking the Yaxha lagoon. After having set up all of our stuff we then proceeded to go check out the Mayan site walking along the lagoon, it first took us along a small royal palace complex that didnt leave Steph impressed right away, we then continued walking along the trail to our first pyramid.....an old astronomical observatory that took you above the forest canopy and afforded us a great view of all the other pyramids in the area and the lagoon.......That was our first WOW moment. At that point we had some more food and made our way down and continued our hike among the rest of structures and eventually made it to the main plaza.....a big stone platform on which four big pyramids were built on, being past noon we decided to have lunch on top of the tallest pyramid and enjoyed the amazing view, even one butterfly agreed with us and hung out with us for a while as we listened to the howler monkeys all around.
As the afternoon went on we kept going on the steps of every structure we found, one of those places was the royal ball court in which we laid down and took a nap for at least 30 minutes.
Along the hike we came across a beautiful toucan way above the trees but in open view and posed for us for a while and was able to get some decent shots of it with my camera. At about 5PM we headed back to the campsite and took a quick cold shower before heading out to the tallest pyramid once again and see the main attraction......the sunset above the trees with the sun setting along the lagoon.....the colors and reflections were amazing and that put the cherry on the topping for the already amazing day!
In the middle of the night we woke up and amazedly stared at the millions of stars and milky way in the pitch dark sky......it was easy to see why the Mayans regarded the stars so highly on their everyday life.
The next morning we woke up early to go back to the pyramid and see the sunrise, this time around Steph and I were the only people in the entire place. Seeing the sunrise among the fog filled jungle and hearing it come alive was just another amazing experience that stuck with us and gave us one big smile.
After that was over we headed back down to the campsite and quickly took camp down and made our way out.....we had another 11 km walk back to the road crossing to take another mini bus to take us to Tikal National Park, another Mayan site....one that back in its heyday was the big powerful capital of the region.....its remains arguably the most impressive of ALL Mayan sites to be discovered.
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