Sunset from the top of the tallest of the Yaxhá ruins

Watching the sunset from the top of a Mayan temple was one of those moments to remember. The site of Yaxha is set in the tropical rainforest along the shores of Lake Yaxha and from the top of the temple you have a great view over the forest lake and other temples. We arrived approximately 30 minutes before the sun went down and it was wonderful to just sit here and take in the views and see the sun slowly colouring the sky orange. In the tree tops we could see Howler Monkeys and there were quite a few groups of Howler Monkeys surrounding the Maya Temple giving their own private concert of howling. Hearing the massive sounds of these monkeys calling from all corners in the forest is impressive. The sound they produce is amazing and hard to describe. Maybe something like the combination between the roar of a lion and the howling of a wolf. And it went on for half an hour at times.

Yaxhá

Yaxha is a archaeological site of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. It is considered to have been a ceremonial centre of the region. Yaxhá was the third largest city in the area and had its maximum power & importance during AD 250–600, but it initial settlement is from around 1000 BC. The city was abandoned around 900 AD with the collapse of Maya civilization. Ecological explanations to that are environmental disaster, epidemic disease and climate change. Other theories is overpopulation, invasion, peasant revolt and the collapse of key trade routes.
The ruins of the city were first reported 1904 but restoration work began in the late 1980s. 
ToucanCollared Aracari

Archaeological Museum in Antigua

Jaguar shaped whistle, Guatamalan Highlands, Classic Period (300 AD – 900 AD)
Olmec style sculpture from the south coast of Guatemala
Vessel with personage blowing a shell, Guatemalan South Coast,
Early Classic Period (300 AD – 600 AD)

Ballplayer, Guatamalan South Coast, Classic Period (300 AD – 900 AD)

Archaeological Museum in Antigua

Hotel Cirilo, Antigua


The hotel is located in the ruins of a church (destroyed in the earthquake of 1773) with very serene setting

Christmas Eve we had a lovely dinner at the hotel
 Hotel Garden
 View from our room
 Lobby
 The place where the Altar in the church used to be

We had a fireplace in the room which we used since it was rather chilly in the evenings

Town of Antigua

Trip to Antigua from Panajachel (12$ per person)

Many men wore this traditional blanket around the waist

and also often a bag

We arrived at noon, after a 2-3 hour trip from Panajachel. Wonderful hotel!  (See coming blog entry).
We took a walk around central Antigua before checking in.

Electrical reindeer
 Cathedral Santiago
 Vulcan with a little smoke
We got a tip from a gentleman, living in Antigua but from Michigan, suggesting us to visit the Terrace Hostel bar.
Nice views, cheap drinks and student hangouts (hippie wannabies?)

We visited a a Centre for Local Handicraft

This parrot lives in our neighbours garden. Doing a lot of sounds.

21st of December…. The end of the world as we know it

According to the Mayan Calendar. And it did! For our little laptop……
The charger was over exhausted and stopped working. Panic! But some serious hunting in shops in San Jose we found a replacement and our little laptop is full of life again. And yes, this means our blog writing will continue!
We got some more serious rain and fog on our travels at Arunal Volcano, so we decided to travel early morning in the direction of San Jose. We stopped at a Soda, a type of Costa Rica restaurant serving simple but good food. In this case some grilled Pollo (Chicken). We stopped at a little museum showing pieces from the indigeneous culture of Costa Rica. Amongst other the Boruca, an area we visited earlier during the trip. The Borucas are known for their carved masks, and we bought one from them to hang on our “Wall of Masks”.
Late afternoon we arrived at our Eco Lodge just north of the capital of San Jose for a last relaxing afternoon in the sun in Costa Rica. Dinner was had at a lodge just down the hill with an amazing night view over the lights of San Jose. 
Tomorrow we are off to our next destination, Guatemala, to the beautiful lake Atitlan.