Quirigua Visitors' Centre and Site Museum, Izabal
Visit this area for an idea of the power and wealth of the Mayan civilisation.
Very new: opened in 2003.
The region of Izabal, where you'll find the Quirigua Visitors' Centre and Site Museum, is very close to the border with Honduras, at around two hundred kilometres (124 miles) from the capital. The centre was opened in 2003 by the Guatemalan government in an attempt to revive the area after the devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch five years earlier. This museum gives an interesting insight into the pre-Columbian origins of the country; it was here, on the banks of the Motagua River, where the Mayans were able to take control of the trade route between the highlands and the Atlantic coast, making them the most powerful civilisation until the arrival of the Spanish. The Mayans lived in this area from around 900 BC, leaving a huge legacy that has helped their story to survive to modern day.