Quiriguá (Guatemala)

While I was exploring the rainforest, my husband visited the archaeological park and ruins of Quiriguá. Here are his observations.

Guest post by the O-man

For my shore excursion, I chose a visit to the Mayan ruins of Quiriguá, which is (normally) about an hour and a half bus ride from the Caribbean port city of Santo Tomas: the largest port in Guatemala. The route was longer than anticipated due to the paving of the highway. It took about 2 hours to arrive at the archeological park. Nevertheless, it was an interesting drive as it offered a glimpse into the rich, thick jungle punctuated by vast, cleared flatlands bordering the Maya Mountains, wherein lay quite a bit of grazing land for cattle as well as enormous banana plantations. To either side of the highway were endless shanties where people cooked and sold food, repaired vehicles, and sold a variety of merchandise. Litter was ubiquitous. Houses also lined the road and had a distinct air of poverty. And yet, there were larger homes made of concrete which provided a strange contrast.

View of mountains from bus

The park, Quiriguá, was small compared to places like Palenque, Uxmal, or Chichenitza; however, there were numerous stele telling the story of the site’s longest and most successful ruler: 60+ years!

Tall stela

Close-up of stela

The area around the acropolis housed around 500 elites, while the surrounding population was estimated to be about 5,000. Our guide was fairly knowledgeable and pointed out various details regarding particular glyphs. I felt the visit was worth it, though 4 hours driving on a bus (round trip) was pushing it a bit.

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