The Maya dominated the lands of Guatemala, Belize and Mexico from 1800 BC until around 250 AD. They are famed for their great stone cities and pyramid temples, built deep within the jungles of Central America.
In addition to their architecture, the Maya developed a complex religious society and were accomplished artists, mathematicians and astronomers. They created the first writing system in the pre-Columbian Americas and their elaborate hieroglyphics can still be seen upon temple walls.
Although the cities of the Maya were emptied following the Spanish conquest, many communities remained untouched by colonial influence and kept to traditional ways. This preserved Mayan customs and even the language, which is still spoken by millions today.
So, scroll down and join us on our Mayan journey into the past!
Wanderer-in-Residence Gary Arndt of @everythingeverywhere brings us Tikal Temple I, also known as the Temple of the Great Jaguar, in Guatemala. This temple rises 47m (154 ft) over the Great Plaza of Tikal. In 1962, archeologists discovered the tomb of Mayan ruler Jasaw Chan K'awiil deep within the vaults of the pyramid.
Next we travel to the city of Tulum in Mexico, abandoned completely by the end of the 16th century. Today, the current rulers are the iguanas, who like to sun themselves upon the ruins. This one was snapped by traveller @yuverse.
The mighty El Castillo in Chichen Itza, also known as the Temple of Kukulcan, photographed by @lisa_nicole_xx during her travels in Mexico. This temple was built to honour the Mayan’s feathered serpent deity. During the spring and autumn equinoxes, the late afternoon sun casts a series of triangular shadows against the northwest side of the pyramid creating the illusion of a feathered serpent slithering down the terraces.
For some respite, traveller @amandy10 found quiet among the ruins of Uxmal. Mayan legend says this city was built in a single night by the magic of a dwarf king.
Our last stop is Xunantunich in Belize with @davidhans19148. The name of this Mayan city translates to “Stone Woman”. It refers to a red-eyed female spirit which has been claimed to inhabit the ruins. Will you see her there?
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Follow in the footsteps of the Maya! G Adventures runs a number of departures encompassing a wide range of departure dates and activities to cater for different tastes. We’re thrilled at the prospect of showing you this big blue planet of ours — check out our small group trips to Central America here.