Michael Trout - May 16, 2016

Central America’s Maya culture is one of the most fascinating ancient civilizations. Many of the incredible archeological sites have stood the test of time, and the Maya landmarks in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador continue to be archeological playgrounds for history fans and curious tourists. brings a list of the top Maya sites that can still be visited in Central America compiled by Visit CentroAmerica.



Lamanai was one of the most impressive Maya cities, both because of its location and impressive architecture, some of which can still be seen. It is surrounded by rainforest overlooking the New River Lagoon. The site is located in the northern region of Belize and is accessible both by boat and by road between November and April.



Also in Belize, Xunantunich, also referred to as Maiden Rock, is one of the classic Maya landmarks. The village of San Jose Succotz is just across the river whose valley. Also there is El Castillo, one of Belize’s tallest buildings, standing 40 meters tall. Maiden Rock, which can be reached by ferry from San Jose Succotz every day, is also close to the Mopan River rapids, that provide a great setting for canoeing and rafting.



Tikal is the most famous Maya site in Central America, and it used to be one of Guatemala’s major villages. The place is located at the heart of the rainforest, among thick vegetation, but it is worth making the trek to see the impressive temples and palaces present in the surrounding area.

El Mirador


Like Tikal, El Mirador, one of the oldest Maya landmarks on this list, is located deep in the jungle of the Peten department. It takes a five-day hike to get from the Maya Biosphere Reserve to El Mirador ruins, and even then you can only get to the site during the dry season. Naturally, the place is not overcrowded by tourists.



Located near Honduras’ western border with Guatemala, Copan was one of the major centers of Mayan civilization. The ruins aren’t as big or as impressive as some of the others, but they are easily accessible from Guatemala, as well as the near villages, and they have some of the most impressive pre-Columbian art of the region, so they attract a lot of travelers. 



Tazumal is a large pre-Columbian archeological site located in Calchuapa. There, visitors can get a good idea of what the daily life looked like in the Maya civilization. The site has a range of different ruins, from tombs, to palaces and temples, as well as artifacts that document Maya trade throughout Central America. You will need to travel approximately 60km from San Salvador to visit the landmark.

Joya de Ceren


Once buried under an eruption from Laguna Caldera volcano, this Maya landmark used to be a pre-Hispanic farmer community in El Salvador. The events of the eruption resemble those of Pompeii, and have thus preserved the village as it was at the time, something which allows visitors to have an incomparable glimpse into the life of Maya people. 


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