Nakum 

Valuably restored city with the only complete Maya Temazcal or sauna in Guatemala.


Nakum, which means "house of pots", is located 17 kilometers north of the Yaxha Lagoon. The city had a continuous occupation of 1,900 years, from the Middle Preclassic to the Terminal Classic Period (700 BC - 900 AD). To date, Nakum is the only Maya site that has a complete Maya Temazcal or sauna, and one of the longest known buildings in Petén, the D building with 42 rooms in a row.

In pre-Hispanic times, the Holmul River was an important and fast means of communication and trade between Tikal and Belize. Therefore monumental Maya cities, as Nakum, were built on its banks. It is believed that Nakum was a small town, independent of political disputes between Tikal and Calakmul, which controlled Yaxha and Naranjo respectively, and its development was connected with the control of the middle basin of the Holmul River.

Approximately 70% of the city is restored and several buildings are in that process, so during your visit you’ll be able to watch archaeological research in action. You can enter the Temazcal where ancient rituals were performed and also appreciate the local wildlife that inhabits the permanent pools that supplied water to the citizens of Nakum in pre-Hispanic times.

 

Access

To reach Nakum, you must get to Yaxha and request guiding services to the Community Tourism Guides Association of Yaxha. During the dry season (March to May), the Community Association for Integral Development of the Yaxha Region provides transportation on four-wheel drive vehicles. Nakum can be accessed on horseback, on foot or by bicycle the rest of the year.
 

Visit duration

To visit Nakum, a local guide must accompany you (we recommend the services of the Community Tourism Guides Association of Yaxha) and you need between one and two hours to see the entire site. If you travel by car, you can get to Nakum and return in one day. If you travel on horseback, on foot or by bike, you need to camp overnight. Travel time on horseback is about four hours; on foot three hours and by bicycle one hour.

 
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Fotografías por: Raúl Noriega, Nelson Carabeo, Sergio Aja y Counterpart International - design (c) by Dimensión Digital