Location: Nakum, Guatemala
The trip to Nakum involved an hour and a half ride in the back of a pickup truck traveling through the jungle over a dirt road. Let me correct that, it wasn’t entirely a dirt road. It was more like 1/3 dirt, 1/3 mud, and 1/3 swamp puddle. We knew that last week a truck was stuck on this trail and the passengers had to walk back to civilization, and that three other drivers had refused to take us up this road. I can say that in all my sheltered lifetime, I have never been over a worse road in my life. In the swampy places the truck would heave up and down and side to side and buck like rodeo bull.
Meanwhile we passengers in the back of the truck were ducking to avoid the low hanging branches, palm fronds, and vines. Were we distressed? Not at all, we were whooping and hollering like we were on a grand adventure ride. And indeed we were. At the first few slippery areas, we wondered if the driver could make it through, by the end of the trip, we would have trusted him to driven us off road to Tera del Fuego.
The trip was worth it for the adventure ride alone, but the Maya site of Nakum was something wonderful to behold. There were grand structures, with labyrinth-like steps and and surprise trails taking you from one structure to another.
There were circular arches unlike those I have seen at any other Maya site ever. There were astonishing views.
There were towering unrestored temples covered in the green jungle vegetation with fairy-like paths leading between them.
It fulfilled my fantasy as to what an almost perfect archaeological site should look like. I say almost perfect because there is a slight bit of a mosquito problem.
Then, of course, there is the repeat of the adventure ride on the way back, and we arrive shaken, if not stirred at the site of Yaxhá. It was getting late and we did not have much time to explore, but I was able to climb the tall temple pyramid with a picture postcard view of the lake.
We stayed at the Hotel Flores, Flores, Petén, Guatemala. The hotel beds were a bit firm for my taste and it was on the fourth floor with no elevator, but after climbing the pyramids the stairs were a piece of cake. (But, I must admit, I did have the bellman lug my luggage.) On the plus side the hotel was near some interesting craft stores. I ended up with a suitcase full of masks and carvings.