The ruins can be visited as part of guided day trips from Guatemala City and Antigua—which typically include round-trip transportation, entrance fees, and a guide to talk you through the history of Mixco Viejo. See various restored structures, including palaces and temples. Among the highlights of the site are the twin pyramids, which are believed to have been used for astronomical observation; and the ball court, where the ancient sport known as Mesoamerican ballgame was played.
Things to know before you go
- Mixco Viejo is a must-do for travelers with an interest in Maya history.
- Pack water and a waterproof outer layer in case of showers.
- Bring a camera to capture the views of canyons and rivers below.
How to get there
Mixco Viejo is situated in the Chimaltenango department of Guatemala, about 37 miles (60 kilometers) from Guatemala City. Public transport to the site is nonexistent and signage is minimal, so it’s best to go with a guide who knows the area.
When to get there
Midweek visits are quietest. If you’re visiting during the rainy season (June–October), go early in the day as showers often hit in the afternoon.
Explore Guatemala’s Other Maya Sites
The structures at Mixco Viejo are less imposing and less ornate than those found at some of Guatemala’s other Maya sites. If you have the time, it’s worth visiting one of the larger ancient cities to get a true sense of the power and the might of the Maya empire at its peak. Among the largest and most impressive of Guatemala’s Maya remains are those found at Tikal, a jungle-surrounded settlement in the Peten region of Guatemala.
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- Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana)
- Relief Map (Mapa en Relieve)
- Plaza de la Constitución (Parque Central)
- Iglesia de Santo Domingo
- National Palace
- La Aurora Zoo (Zoólogico la Aurora)
- National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (MUNAE)
- Popol Vuh Museum (Museo Popol Vuh)
- IRTRA Mundo Petapa
- Santo Tomas Church (Iglesia de Santo Tomás)
- Biotopo del Quetzal