you spend the day learning about the ancient Maya people, their history and culture but you'll also tour the mystical Iximche ruins, the last capital city of the Mayas. It's recommended that you wear comfortable shoes, and clothes including a hat. Don't forget to put on sunscreen and bring along a camera to capture all the fascinating sights.
Sit back and relax as you travel north through green mountains and leafy forests while your informative guide provides commentary. Be amazed at this tranquil site. Rising 7,500 feet above sea level, Iximche, which means "place of the sacred trees of corn," is lush and vibrant. Although any remnants of corn or other crops have long disappeared, many amazing architectural sights still remain. During your tour your expert guide will walk you through the site and explain the many myths, legends and facts surrounding the Maya.
The Maya Empire excelled at agriculture, pottery and calendar making. In fact, the Maya calendar dates back to at least the 5th century B.C. Many people believed that the calendar predicted that the end of the world was going to take place on December 21, 2012. Many disagreed about what humankind should expect when the Maya's "Long Count" calendar marks the end of a 5,126-year era. Feel free to ask your guide any questions about this much debated topic. Much of Iximche remains buried but on your tour you'll see a number of pyramid temples, palaces, a small altar, which features faint traces of murals, and two ball courts where athletes competed in the death-defying game of ôllamaliztli.
Founded by the Kaqchikel Maya in 1470, the city served as the region's capital and welcomed the Spanish who arrived in 1542. However, the conquistadors' constant demands for gold led to Iximche's abandonment, and in 1526, the Spanish burned the city to the ground. During your tour you may be able to witness, from a distance, an authentic Maya ritual. Although it is not a part of the tour, it's performed regularly and is quite a sight to see. After your tour, you'll climb back aboard your transportation and head to a restaurant where you can indulge in a delicious lunch featuring many Guatemalan favorites. At the end of the day, you'll head back to port along the same scenic route with a deeper understanding of the mystery and majesty of the Maya.