Planning Your Time
Mundo Maya International Airport (FRS) in Santa Elena, near Flores, is the only domestic airport in the country and is important for anyone exploring the sites of Tikal, Uaxactún, and Yaxhá. Santa Elena is also a good base for side trips into Belize.
The sprawling, hectic capital of Guatemala City makes a perfect starting point not only for Maya-focused travels within the country, but for multi-country tours as well. Many groups fly into Guatemala City and make side trips across the border to Copán, Honduras; to sites in Belize; and across the western border to the important but remote site of Izapa, Mexico.
From la capital, many travelers head straight to Lake Atitlán and the Western Highlands. The natural beauty of this area—with its soaring volcanoes, tranquil lake, and lush highlands—would be enough, but the region is also renowned as an indigenous stronghold, where Maya shamans and families still keep the calendars and ancient ways in villages like Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango, and Momostenango. This is the Cuchumatan Mountains, the highest range in all of Central America, where there are sure to be numerous celebrations in 2012, all the way through the winter solstice.
Guatemala’s Comité 2012 Guatemala (www.2012guatemala.com) is a multi-agency government entity with the mission of leading a national movement around the ending of the 13 b’aktun Maya calendar cycle. Goals include the appreciation of Maya culture and the positioning of Guatemala as the true heartland of the Maya world and “fountain of spiritual inspiration for all of humanity.” Amen. Events include Waqxaqi’ B’atz’: Día del Guía Espiritual (Day of the Spiritual Guide), a celebration of the end of the 260-day calendar, and B’eleje’ B’atz’ (Celebration of the Maya Women) in the Western Highlands.
© Josh Berman from Moon Maya 2012