We are Bart and Larissa from the Netherlands – welcome to our Yaxha blog. We have been together for 10 years now, after falling in love at a restaurant we worked at when we were 16/17. In 2016, we bought an apartment but after a year we felt like a couple in their 60s! We both worked full time and were often tired from work on the weekends and in the evenings.
So we decided to sell everything, quit our jobs and book a one-way ticket to New Zealand. After 10 months of traveling in Oceania and Southeast Asia we fell in love with adventure, new cultures and discovering beautiful destinations. We ran out of money so we went back to the Netherlands to work. But we knew one thing for sure: we wanted to see the whole world.
The world is a beautiful place and there is so much to discover in every corner. In September, 2021 we turned our lives around. We sold everything again and quit our jobs. This time we both work online while traveling. It was the best decision ever! We also love to help other travelers with tips and inspiration through our Instagram page: @backpackwereld.
Our Second Incredible Trip to Guatemala
In 2019, we traveled to Guatemala for the first time. The funny thing is that we just wanted to travel around Costa Rica and Panama and never thought of visiting Guatemala. The cheapest plane ticket we could find from the Netherlands was to Guatemala, so we thought let’s discover Guatemala too.
We were there for three weeks and didn’t expect that Guatemala would become our favorite country in Central America. Last March we went back to Guatemala and this time for seven weeks. We visited the following destinations: Antigua, Acatenango Volcano, Lake Atitlan, Semuc Champey, Flores and Rio Dulce. This route can easily be done in three weeks.
Exploring Hidden Temples in Yaxha
We hadn’t heard of the Yaxha ruins before we went on our second trip. Since we had visited Tikal during our first trip in Guatemala, this time we were looking for a Mayan city that was less touristy and more off the beaten path. After some research on the Internet we came across Yaxha.
Since there is no public transport to Yaxha you will always have to take a shuttle bus to reach this destination. You can choose to then discover Yaxha together with a guide. We decided to see this place without a tour or a guide. We have already been to several Mayan cities (with a guide) in Guatemala and this time we wanted to explore the Mayan city ourselves.
But of course, it’s interesting to visit Yaxha with a guide so you can learn everything about the buildings and history. Especially if you are visiting a Mayan city for the first time, it’s highly recommended to go with a guide!
Yaxha is easy to get to from Flores. Everyday in the morning and afternoon a shuttle bus goes to this place. So you get on in Flores and get off again at Yaxha. From Flores it’s about a two hour drive with the last part being over a bumpy gravel road (which adds to the sense of adventure).
We knew in advance that not many people would be visiting Yaxha, so we expected it to be a lot quieter than in Tikal. However, we didn’t expect it to be this quiet! We arrived at an empty parking lot and in the park, except for the people who were on the shuttle with us, there was no one at all.
The temples of Yaxha are super impressive and this, in combination with the dense jungle and monkeys, makes it an amazing place to visit. What we liked most is that you can climb the temples (respectfully). It was so special and amazing to walk on such an old temple and see the fantastic views from the top. Yaxha definitely exceeded our expectations.
Travel Tips for Visiting Yaxha
We recommend staying in Flores when visiting Yaxha. It’s a super cozy place located on the beautiful Lake Peten Itza. There are also many good restaurants around town and you can do more fun things in the area. In our opinion, Flores is the ideal base for a visit to the hidden Yaxha ruins.
For accommodation, we suggest not staying on the island of Flores but just across the street in the town of San Miguel. This is a small village on green hills with a variety of plants and animals such as birds, howler monkeys and iguanas. It’s only a two minute boat trip from Flores Island.
We stayed at Zapote Tree Inn for a total of two weeks and we can highly recommend this hotel to everyone! If you prefer to enjoy peace and quiet in a private house with a great view and a private jetty to the water, then Playa Jocabed is another great option. We enjoyed the peace there so much.
For your Yaxha trip, you can choose to visit in the morning or afternoon. We definitely recommend going in the afternoon so you can watch the sunset from the top of a temple which is really a beautiful moment.
Handy things to take with you to Yaxha are: a cardigan or sweater because it cools down quite a bit once the sun has set, and bring enough water and snacks. There are no stalls in the park where you can buy these items.