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YAXHA

Yaxha, q'equchi' for green water, is located in the department of Peten, 73 km from Flores. This Maya site, discovered in 1904 by architect Teobert Maler, is situated within the Maya Biosphere Reserve along with the sites of Nakum and El Naranjo. It was occupied from preclassic (800 bc) to postclassic (1600 AD) times and covers 32 km with more than 500 buildings discovered, including the only twin pyramid complex outside of Tikal. It was allied to Tikal and an enemy of El Naranjo, from whom it suffered various defeats. Nearby is Yaxha lagoon, in the center of which was another Mayan site called Topoxte, where building continued after the classic collapse until 1450. The lagoon is home to the Morletti specie of crocodile, endemic to Peten.

There is extensive restoration ongoing at this site, and some areas and temples have wooden stairways to facilitate access. However, facilities are very limited and finding one's way around can be difficult. Due to the lagoon, mosquito activity is intense, so insect repellent is essential.

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