Quirigua – Guatemala
Deep in the tropical rainforest, this is one of Guatemala’s most inspiring remaining sites of the Ancient Mayan civilisation. Quirigua was founded nearly 2000 years ago, and was situated at a conjuncture of major trade routes for the Mayan people, making it a hugely important site historically. The site is now a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its archaeological significance, and contains some truly outstanding 8th-century monuments and intricately carved stelae, or statues, which have all been expertly excavated and preserved. These give a real insight into the Mayan people, especially the sculpted calendars which reveal their astrological fascination. There is also a colossal complex of iconic Mayan pyramids, terraces, and stairways, making this a truly revealing and special place to visit for historians and Mayan enthusiasts alike.
Where is it?
Quirigua lies in the Izabel region of Guatemala, in the south east of the country. The site is reasonably difficult to reach, but with the right planning the rewards of the site are definitely worth it.
What is it?
It is an Ancient Maya archaeological site typical of many in Guatemala, with a plethora of pyramids, statues and terraces providing a striking gateway into the fascinating history of the Maya civilisation.
Best time to visit?
Guatemala is often hot and humid, given its tropical Central American location. November to March give the most pleasant conditions as they miss the rainy season. Average temperatures stay around 26 degrees, as opposed to the summer highs of 32 and increased humidity levels.
The statues in the middle of the settlement are some of the best preserved remaining Mayan structures, and the stunning detail is both inspiring to artists and historians given their intricate beauty.