Unexplored Guatemala: Accidentally East

Part One: From Flores south, to Poptún Most visitors to Guatemala dart diagonally from Tikal’s ruins to colonial Antigua, via the bathing pools of Semuc Champey. Although by accepting a volunteer position at an old farm, I got the chance to linger on the country’s eastern fringes. Over the course of a month, I was treated…

History Repeating In León, Nicaragua

I wasn’t able to spend long enough in León. Nicaragua’s most northern city has long been respected as the country’s seat of intellectual and political challenge. A few days before I planned to cross the border, it started a new and important fight. Stories about the student-led uprising against Nicaragua’s sitting government flooded through to…

The Maya World Of Copán

The borders that encircle the countries we recognise today as Belize, Guatemala and Honduras mean little in the story of the Maya. Copán: A mysterious piece of the Maya jigsaw puzzle Then: Although the Copán Valley is thought to have been inhabited since 2000BC, little is known of its society and rulers during that period.…

The Maya World Of Tikal

The borders that encircle the countries we recognise today as Belize, Guatemala and Honduras mean little in the story of the Maya. Tikal: A centre for political and economical power Then: It’s thought that this site, originally named Yax Mutal, was one of the largest cities of the ancient Maya. Construction of Tikal’s temple complexes and…

The Maya Underworld Of ATM Cave

The borders that encircle the countries we recognise today as Belize, Guatemala and Honduras mean little in the story of the Maya. Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave: Sacrificial ritual at the heart of an impending crisis Then: In Maya belief, ancient ritual sacrifices played an important part in appeasing the gods so that humans could continue to…

The Maya World Of Xunantunich

The borders that encircle the countries we recognise today as Belize, Guatemala and Honduras mean little in the story of the Maya. Xunantunich: A tumultuous battle for Maya supremacy Then: No one knows what the Maya called this city, as the name Xunantunich meaning Stone Maiden was given in 1925 by British explorer Thomas Gann…