Yaxh Nakum Naranjo National Park, one of 22 national parks in the Latin American country of Guatemala, features a Mayan city under restoration. Tourists come to Guatemala and to its western neighbor, Belize, to see the stunning pyramids that were built by the ancient Mayan culture. The challenge to the tourist industry centers on the logistics involved in getting people to the remote sites. The primary way that tourists arrive in Guatemala, by cruise ship, limits the choices that tourists have to experience the best sites.
Given that most cruise ships remain in port for about eight hours, tourists must consider the element of time when they choose what they want to enjoy in port. Generally, a drive to a remote site should take no more than 90 minutes. Double that time (and allow for two hours to visit at the site) and the math will show you that you incur a risk of missing your ship’s sailing time, plus you saw no other attractions because of the significant investment of your valuable time. If your cruise ship stops in a Pacific port, likely you must take a commuter flight to see Mayan ruins, or you can take a 90-minute road trip to see active volcanoes. But, you will not have time to do both. If your cruise ship docks at an Atlantic Ocean port, the time-constraint will be more acute.
Non-cruising tourists have more options. The Guatemalan government and many reputable tourist agencies provide information and supporting pictures on all of the national parks. Some parks have lodges and inns that will permit you to remain in the park of an extended period of time. You will enjoy extensive exploration and study of the artifacts that the Mayans left after their civilization waned. So, determine what you want to see, find your options to see that, and plan your trip – a memorable experience that you will cherish.