This December 21, 2012 marks the completion of the 13th b’ak’tun, the last b’ak’tun cycle in the long count Mayan calendar; a calendar that began around 3114 BC. In Mayan tradition, auspicious dates such as this one are marked by events and celebrations, which makes this year the perfect time to plan a visit to Belize and discover the Maya.
Hidden Valley Inn & Reserve, in the Mountain Pine Ridge of Cayo, is near to more than a dozen Maya temples, and sites. Tours range in interest from the historical and cultural to the adventurous. Among the most impressive is the ancient city of Caracol, one of the closest sites to the luxury resort.
At any time of year, Caracol is worth a visit. The ancient city not only contains Belize’s largest man-made structure, but an astronomical observatory, designed to view and chart the skies. On 12-22-2012, the dawn of the Mayan New Year, the sunrise will align directly with the main observatory at Caracol, a testament to the importance of astronomy in the Mayan culture.
As part of a an effort to offer new and unique archeological experiences, Belize’s National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) conducts overnight camping trips to Caracol during the solstices and equinoxes, including this New era’s solstice. These overnights allow visitors to experience the architectural purposes and importance of the site first-hand. The one-night trip can be arranged as part of a vacation stay at Hidden Valley Inn & Reserve.
Hidden Valley Inn & Resort is also offering a Maya Immersion experience available throughout the 2013 season. This package includes 3-nights accommodation at the luxury resort located in the middle of a private nature reserve, all meals and soft beverages, a guided tour of Xunantunich Maya site, a guided tour of Che Chem Ha Cave, a visit to a Mayan Shaman’s home for ceremonial ritual, a tour of the modern Mayan village of San Antonio and a horseback ride to the Maya village and through the surrounding nature reserve. The package is $1,195 per person and includes access to the private reserve and all transfers to and from the resort.
Hidden Valley Inn & Reserve, 866-443-3364, www.hiddenvalleyinn.com