The Xunantunich Archaeological Reserve will be closed from December 12 to 26, 2012 in order to prepare for the launch of an International Musical Event which will raise funds for the conservation of Belize’s cultural heritage and its archaeological parks. Rumor has it the event is timed to coincide with the Mayan Calendar “ending” on December 21, which some believe will usher in an apocalypse.

Below is a video from Youtube of a typical visitor moment atop the pyramid at Xunantunich. We offer group tours to the site.

Of the many fun and interesting things to do in Belize, either before or after one of our tours, perhaps the most accessible is a visit to the Museum of Belize.

Located at Gabourel and Hutson streets, the Museum of Belize is a beautiful, old brick building that was built as a colonial prison in the 1800’s, and operated as a prison until 1993; one cell has been restored. Originally built to hold one man, each cell held 6-8 prisoners at the time of the prison’s closing.

Many other aspects of Belize prison life are covered in the permanent exhibits. This museum also focuses on the Maya and colonial history of Belize. Highlights include a new exhibit entitled ““The People Who Carved Jades and Their Descendants” which opened in April to celebrate the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012.

About the exhibit, Adventure Traveler Online says it provides “a deeply enchanting and personal look at the Mayas’ work in creating famous Belizean jade masterpieces, “The People Who Carved Jades and Their Descendants” is an exhibit that was revealed in April in order to provide visitors with a deeper connection with Belize’s Maya culture, as people look to uncover the truth about the end of the 2012 calendar. As the first of many celebrations planned for when the world starts anew on December 21, 2012, this exhibit serves as a bridge between ancient times and the future, and sets the tone for a full line-up of Maya-related events, tours, activities and festivals in Belize, scheduled throughout 2011 and 2012.”

 

The World of the Maya, meaning Belize, Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras, made CNN’s list of the World’s Top Destinations for 2012 the network announced Tuesday. CNN’s editors relied on recommendations from four travel experts: Robert Reid, U.S. travel editor for Lonely Planet; Martin Rapp, senior vice president of leisure sales at Altour; Anne Banas, executive editor at SmarterTravel; and Jeanenne Tornatore, senior editor for Orbitz.com.

The Mayan region was second in the list behind England and beat out Myanmar, Chicago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, The Netherlands, Atlantic Canada, Uruguay, and Orlando in the top nine.

“Some see it as an approaching apocalypse, others as the beginning of a new era. Whatever your beliefs are about December 21, 2012, interest is skyrocketing in the Maya, the ancient civilization known for the great cities it left behind in Mexico and Central America.

The date marks the end of a 5,126-year cycle on the Long Count calendar developed by the Maya, and there will be events on the occasion in Belize, Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras, Banas said.

If you want to see incredible ruins, Reid recommended skipping the tourist hordes at Tulum and Chichen Itza in Mexico and instead head to places such as Tikal, Guatemala (which George Lucas used as a location in the original “Star Wars”), and Chiapas, Mexico.

Reid was once exploring a site near Comitan, Mexico, and said he was astonished to discover he was the only person there.

“I had a pyramid to myself,” Reid said. “You’re just looking out over this mountainous valley, and you have the complete Mayan site to yourself. It’s an unreal travel experience.”

Join us on Belize Adventure Week in 2012. We visit a Mayan ruin, two Mayan ceremonial caves, as well as run rivers, and kayak and surf on our island 35 miles off the Belize coast.

According to the Skeptics Dictionary, the world will not come to an end on Dec. 21, 2012 when, as some say, the Mayan Calendar predicts that day will usher us into a catastrophic global collapse or the beginning of some kind of new age transformation.

But you never know! So why not hedge your bet by making sure you’re in one of the most incredible locations on planet earth next Dec. 21. Our Dec. 14, 2012 Adventure Island trip and our Dec. 15, 2012 Belize Adventure Week trip will be out on the island when that final Friday arrives and we do book that far in advance.

The Belize Adventure Week trip ought to be doubly enticing to Mayan calendar folks because it involves a visit to Che Chem Ha Mayan Cave where you’ll see hundreds of ceramic offerings left by Mayan shamans along with a final ceremonial chamber. The tour also visits the amazing ruins of Tikal in nearby Guatemala, the region’s most extensive Mayan archeological site.