What to Bring Along

  • Good hiking shoes
  • Water
  • Bug spray
  • Hat
  • Camera
  • Intensity: Easy

Altun Ha (“Stone Water”/ “Rockstone Pond”) was a very significant Mayan city in the Classic Period. Its perfect location made the trading between the water of the Caribbean and the deep interior Mayan Civilization accessible. The site hosts over 275 structures and was home to more than 10,000 Mayas. The Mayas began construction in the city in early 250 B.C and the primer towers centered on the reservoirs, a natural depression in the ground with artificial clay lining and a dam at the south end.

You will be shown the central plaza of the city. This building was built in 250 A.D. evidently; the major temples were built on top of one another. The Mayan believed that their temples had a finite life span; this means that the uses of the temples were constantly being changed within time. This continued until the 9th century. Archeologists assert that the final Mayan collapse at the city was as a result of a revolt. Further evidence illustrates that military invasion; famine and pestilence were not contributors of this collapse. Masses of domestic refuse discovered in one of the temples, demonstrates that even after the collapse however, some middle class and lower class Mayans remained.

At the site, seven tombs were excavated from the main temple. The most talked about tomb housed an elderly priest accompanied by bits and pieces of cloth, cordage, wooden articles and numerous jade objects. One of these jades remains the largest jade found in Mayan world. Known as Kinich Ahau, this jade is a giant head of the Mayans sun god.

Come and visit the Maya ruin of Altun Ha and experience the Classic Period for yourself!