THE MAYA AND 2012
The Maya have long been a source of interest and fascination as men have tried to understand this ancient advanced civilization who no longer live in the giant stone buildings in cities they built hundreds of years ago. The Maya civilization is an ancient Mesoamerican culture known for their incredible feats in architecture, sophisticated mathematical systems, and astronomical knowledge for having a fully developed written language.
They are also known for developing a Mayan Calendar that predicted the path of the stars. Currently interest in the Maya and specifically, the Maya Calendar, has been piqued by the realization that the Maya Calendar is coming to the end of a 52,000 year cycle on December 21, 2012. “Doom & Gloom” theories about what will happen on that day and before abound on the worldwide web and in the media.
In reality, the Maya still live all across the Maya world and they are looking forward
to the date as a giant celebration. It will be, according to one writer, “A peace
loving year filled with generous acts of kindness, inspiring cooperation.” December
21, 2012 (188.8.131.52.0 in the Long Count) will be the beginning of a new 52,000-
This date represents a close conjunction of the Winter Solstice Sun with the crossing point of the Galactic Equator (Equator of the Milky Way) and the Ecliptic (path of the Sun) that the ancient Maya describe as the Sacred Tree.
“The astronomer Philip Plait states that the Maya calendar does not end in 2012, that it is like the odometer on your car. As each section of the odometer reaches 9 and then clicks over to 0, the next number to it starts a new cycle, so that when all the numbers again reach 0 all the way across the odometer, the last number will change from 1 to 2 and the new cycle starts all over again.”
Modern Maya are excited about the beginning of a new era and are already planning
huge celebrations. From now until the “big day,” MET is planning special excursions
to Caracol, Xunantunich, Tikal, Cahal Pech, and even some to privately owned and
During your visit to Mountain Equestrian Trails you have access to a number of different Mayan Ruins. Our Mayan Tours will take you to some of the most exciting sites in the Mayan region.
Caracol: Full Day
Caracol is the largest Maya archaeological site in Belize, the inhabitants of which
once defeated the mighty Tikal. Enjoy the drive and vistas of the Mountain Pine Ridge
and the Chiquibul Forest Reserves. The day will be spent touring three main plazas
of Caracol, watching for birds and wildlife, and enjoying a gourmet picnic lunch
on the grounds. A climb up to the summit of Ca’ana, the site’s largest temple, will
reveal a spectacular view of the surrounding rainforest. Caracol has undergone consistent
and extensive excavation and restoration since 1985. The archaeological investigations
at have revealed a number of findings significant to not only Belize but to the entire
Mayan region. Possible wildlife settings are Keel-
Xunantunich Vehicle Tour: Full or Half Day
Xunantunich, "the Stone Maiden" is the primary destination today. After crossing
the Belize River via a hand-
Cahal Pech: Full or Half Day
The ruins of Cahal Pech are located within the township of San Ignacio. Seven plazas
Pacbitun: Half day or combined with any other half day tour for a full day.
Pacbitun, or “stones set in earth,” is a small center flanking the granite Maya Mountains outside the village of San Antonio, only a few miles from MET. This center is compact and undeveloped, but Dr. Paul Healy and Jaime Awe of Trent University did a significant amount of archeological research there. Their research revealed that though the site is located in a moderate agricultural zone, the ancient Maya inhabitants relied on land modifications such as terraces on the hillside to improve the overall productivity of the area. The site, built up in the Late Preclassic and Classic periods, has about 24 major structures, several large open plazas. In addition, plain and carved stela are found in the open plazas.
Tikal: Full Day or Overnight
Tikal National Park is found in the Peten in Guatemala, and is about a three hour drive from Mountain Equestrian Trails. Those wishing to visit for the day will leave at 6:30 a.m. and return by 7:00 p.m. The trip is a scenic venture into the culture of present day Guatemala, and Tikal itself is a wonder to behold. The ruins are located in a rich jungle setting teeming with wildlife. Parrots, Howler & Spider monkeys are seen regularly. The ruins are important for two reasons. First, the techniques and aesthetics of the buildings are so significant as to rival most other Mayan sites. Second, the ruins have undergone extensive restoration and consolidation for more than twenty years. The results are that we can see many buildings in almost the same state they were in during their heyday. The site is huge, covering about six square miles and more than 2,800 buildings have been explored. Tikal is a definite “must” for the Mayan enthusiast. The day is long but well worth it.