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Fun and Interesting Facts about El Mirador Guatemala – Mayan Ruins

El Mirador Guatemala

El Mirador Guatemala is the most recently discovered Mayan City in Guatemala and is believed to be the largest one. It is also where you will find the biggest Mayan pyramid ever found. It’s located north of Tikal National Park, but it’s still not as popular because it can only be accessed by helicopter or trekking.

Where is El Mirador Guatemala?

7 kms from the Mexican border, deep in the Petén jungle.

To get there you have to either go on a 5-day hike on the jungle or take a helicopter to it.

Peten Jungle in the El Mirador Guatemala

Facts about El Mirador Guatemala

  • This site is for the adventurous, outdoorsy traveler.
  • You can only go with a trained guide. It’s a 60 Km hike each way, with no facilities or amenities. You have to carry-in and carry-out all your own stuff.
  • Once in, the rewards are endless. El Mirador is a massive metropolis from 200 BC to 150 AD (Preclassic Maya Period).
  • This city has the most amount of buildings of any Mayan site and at one point was believed to be home to over 80,000 people.
  • El Mirador is also home to the largest pyramid of the entire Maya World: El Tigre.
  • El Tigre’s base is over three football fields. The structure is 18 stories (60 meters, 180 feet) tall. It is composed of three pyramids in total, the main structure and two small pyramids that contain gigantic stucco jaguar masks. The base of it covers over 18,000 sq. mts.
  • At the other end of the plaza lies La Danta (the Tapir) pyramid. It reaches heights of 105 meters, simply because it is built on an elevated ground covering.
  • The Central Acropolis is bordered by small buildings.
  • The entire El Mirador city covers 16 sq kms.
  • Dr. Richard Hansen, the director of the excavation, is determined to keep this an eco-archaeological preserve. Hansen and his associates live here in houses with polycarbonate roofs to protect them from rain and UV rays.

Can’t Miss This:

  • El Tigre, the largest pyramid of all the Mayan World
  • La Danta, the pyramid at the other end of the complex facing El Tigre
  • Central Acropolis
  • Monos Complex
  • Climb to the top of El Tigre and look beyond what you see. Most of the site is still hidden under thick jungle since the excavation of this gargantuan place will take eons. It allows you to imagine what it once was.

Keep in Mind:

  • July – November is the rainy season, making the trail knee-deep with mud. But it will still be extra hot and humid, so it might not be the best time to visit.
  • Once you hire the guide, make sure they bring plenty of water and food! Or, if you are strong and experienced as a hiker bring some snacks with you just to be sure.

Would you go into the virgin jungle just to see the largest and most impressive pyramid in the world? I definitely think that taking a tour like this is definitely worth it.

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El Mirador Guatemala Interesting Facts - Travel Experta
Photo courtesy of Sara Fratti | Flickr Creative Commons License

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