My experience of Uaxactún in Guatemala
Arriving into Uaxactún, I didn’t really know what to expect. I was told it was one of the longest-occupied Mayan cities, but having already visited Tikal, Guatemala’s best-known Mayan site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, I wasn’t sure how it was going to compare.
Uaxactún exceeded all expectations. My experience wouldn’t have been the same if it wasn’t for Carlos, my guide, who was born in Uaxactún itself. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be shown around by someone who grew up there and knows the remote village like the back of his hand. The ruins themselves are, of course, spectacular, but for me, Uaxactún was so much more than that.
Located, literally, in the middle of the jungle, Uaxactún is unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been. Children run barefoot around the central square, intertwined with chickens, pigs, and horses. Carlos took us into a small village shop, which just so happened to be owned by his mother and back to the house where he grew up. We stood in the kitchen and Carlos told us about his life – from growing up here to how he made it as a guide. What a truly amazing man.
After exploring the village and the ruins, we headed to our campsite and home for the night. Relaxing in our hammocks, Carlos offered us drinks and snacks galore. We were then led through the pitch-black jungle to where we would be having dinner. After some screams from us (we were convinced a jaguar was going to hunt us down) and some laughs from Carlos, we arrived at our dinner spot. I won’t go into too much detail as I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who will be going there in the future – but what I will say is that I have never eaten in quite such a magical setting.
Uaxactún is visited by very few tourists and that’s what makes it so special – it is completely unspoilt. The combination of that, and a world-class guide, made visiting Uaxactún an experience I will never forget.