Yaxha (green water) is less well-known than Tikal, yet was the third largest Mayan city in the Guatemalan lowlands. This Mesoamerican archaeological site is one of the most picturesque Mayan ruins due to its location in the Yaxha lagoon. The city of Yaxha was at its zenith during the pre-classical era around 250AD to 600AD. Yaxha was first reported in 1904, and subsequent excavations have uncovered over 500 structures including; 9 temples, 40 Mayan stelae, 2 ballcourts and a network of wide causeways linking the collections of buildings. One of these causeways is the impressive Lake Causeway which was the original entrance to the site from the lake.
Yaxha is particularly pleasing to visit due to its well-restored architecture, its beautiful setting, the wide variety of jungle flora and fauna, and the fact that it is less crowded than the more famous sites. Yaxha has been growing in popularity since featuring as the location for the TV show, ‘Survivor’ in 2005.
The highest structure in Yaxha is the 30m, Temple 216, in the East Acropolis. The top of Temple 216 offers spectacular views of the lake and the stepped pyramids. Watching the sunset behind the lagoon and its islands is breathtaking. Howler and spider monkeys, bat-eating hawks, toucans and parrots may be seen from Temple 216, also called the Temple of Red Hands. Yaxha also features a fascinating astronomical complex.
A boat trip over the lake takes you to the post-classical archaeological site of Topoxte (Ramon tree). Topoxte is situated on a group of islands in the middle of the lake and is one of the largest postclassic sites in the region. Its architecture is slightly different to that of Yaxha, in particular, the steps to the buildings are much smaller, as are the stelae and alters.
We offer a range of tours to Yaxha and Topoxte with knowledgeable, English speaking guides. Why not make combine a tour of Yaxha and Topxte with other Mayan sites, such as Tikal or El Mirador, with one of our multi-day packages? If you don’t find your ideal tour listed then just contact us for a tailor-made travel adventure.