So the Mayans had predicted that the world would come to an end in December 2012 and though going by the present circumstances there does not seem any indication to an impeding catastrophe, this does not in any way take away from the fact that the ancient Mayan civilization greatly shaped the culture, thoughts and ideas in Central America. Even today, the ancient Mayan sites continue to be a huge draw in the region, and while some of the mysteries they contain have been unravelled, there is still much that has to be unearthed and understood in the right context and the right perspective. While there are several ancient Mayan ruins and sites, here are some of the less crowded ones that you may wish to visit.
Calakmul, Campeche (Mexico)
Calakmul was one of the most important cities of the Mayan civilization, home to around 50,000 people. The city dates the Pre-classic period ((300 B.C. to 240 A.D.) but it reached the peak of its existence during the Classic period (250 A.D. to 900 A.D.). While the 6000 structures within the city continue to be the main draw, the surrounding Calakmul Biosphere Reserve also has much to offer. The reserve is spread over 723,000 hectares and is a paradise for the bird watchers and the wildlife enthusiasts. Besides, it also houses some stone monuments in the form of a high-relief sculpture that were popular and characteristic of the Mayan civilization.
This was one of the most important cities during the Classic period and reached its golden era between 600 and 800 A.D. It was the seat of the powerful Pakal dynasty. The architecture found here includes tilted facades on the buildings and stucco-sections, features that are uncharacteristic of that period. The most notable building here is the Temple XIII, where the Tomb of the Red Queen was found in 1994. Palenque is a hot spot with the archaeologists and those interested in the written language and architecture.
Yaxchilán is located on the Usumacinta River Yaxchilán represents a style that was very prominent during the Classic Mayan age with architecture engraved with inscriptions and extensive sculpture. The city, in alliance with Tikal, fought a major battle with Palenque. The city represents strategic planning and was built on a peninsula formed by a bend in the Usumacinta River. Even today, Yaxchilán can only be accessed by taking a small boat up the river.
Besides, there are other sites that visitors can access including Campeche’s Edzná and Ek Balam. Even though they are less crowded than their more famous counterparts, these sites have their share of admirers and are especially revered by the archaeologists, language interest and ofcourse, the history enthusiasts not to forget the tourists. Mexico enjoys a reputation of being a popular visitor destination, which has much to offer than just the Mayan sites. There are plenty of accommodation options which visitors can choose from including private Central America villas for those who wish to stay here for a longer period.