Iximche, Panajachel

Popular mentions

336 reviews
Very good

Nadia M
Arad, Bahrain486 contributions
Dec 2019 • Couples
An interesting mayan archeological site, around 2 1/2 hour drive from the cruise port ( port quetzal), and about 2100 m above the sea level.

The site is consist of 4 plazas with few small pyramids. There were few “un even high” steps to move from one plaza to the other but you can walk around if you are not able to climb the steps.

Guided tour is recommended to get as much as possible of history in order to understand what you sea. Our guide ( arranged by our cruise ship ) was kind and knowledgeable, he link the history and the structure of the site with the mayan calendar and ritual. The site still used by local to practice their ritual, we were not lucky enough to witness this but we saw some burning candles which indicate that some one was there before we reach.

There is a small museum near the site displays some pieces found in the location along with some other things.

There is restrooms near the parking area, a soccer field and picnic area. There were some local ladies walking around near the parking area selling some handmade souvenirs.

It was a hot cloudy day but when we reached the site it was little chill, later on with the sun becoming higher in the sky weather became nice. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, carry light jacket with you.
Written July 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Reviewer K
3 contributions
Jan 2020
January of this year was the second time that I had visited this ruins. In addition to the ruins and museum, this time there were indigenous people performing various rituals.Be advised that no food is for sale within the National Park itself, but the Waybi Foundation restaurant in Tecpán is only meters from the entrance to the ruins. It has beautiful gardens and excellent food. Proceeds go toward introducing Guatemalan schoolchildren to the wealth of different animal species, wild and domestic, in Guatemals.
Written February 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Rob C
San Jose, CA2,115 contributions
Apr 2021
The archeological site of Iximche is located near the town of Tecpan about an hour's drive from Antigua Guatemala. The price of admission is 50 Q for foreigners. There are no guides available as far as I saw in April of 2021. Inside you'll find a small museum, which is currently closed due to the pandemic, some vendor stalls, but not too many and all outside the actual park, and very serviceable restrooms. The Site itself is composed of four consecutive plazas that have been excavated to various degrees. Generally, as you head further away from the entrance the less reconstructed the structures. What there is, is well maintained with closely cropped lawns and well-maintained buildings. At the very end of the site, there is a small pyramid used by the modern Maya to make offerings and sacrifices of incents and alcohol.
Written April 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

S E Pennsylvania84 contributions
Feb 2020
I have been to over 40 different Maya ruins in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala and have seen all the major sites. Not much has been reconstructed or preserved in Iximche but there are a few interesting things. First is the location: 3 sides are deep ravines which helped greatly in defending the city. Second is that there are still Maya religious ceremonies going on daily. You can watch at a distance. Third, after President Bush was there, the shamans had a cleansing ceremony to rid the ruins of his bad ju-ju. Most tours originate in either Antigua or Pana and many are priced over $75 per person. The 3 of us decided to hire a taxi in Antigua to visit the site then take us to Pana. The price of $125 (for all three of us) did not include entrance to the ruins. Our driver had no problem waiting the 1.5 hours for us and we ended up saving money over the regular tour and got from one destination to another. Look up taxi driver Santo s Fernandez 48234645 on the main square in Antigua. He speaks some English and is a very funny happy man. Izimche is not frequently visited during the week.
Written March 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Augusta, KS50 contributions
Dec 2019 • Friends
Our mission team stopped here on our way to Chichi to learn about Mayan culture. We had an English speaking guide. He did a great job of explaining the ruins in an interesting way! We learned a lot! We were disappointed to have missed the ceremony that had taken place earlier in the day, as I am sure that would have been fascinating.
Written January 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Grand Bend, Ontario303 contributions
When travelling in Guatamala, if you can fit it in on your way to Panajachel, drop in for a couple of hours to Iximche, the small Mayan archeological site. We were there in Jan 2008. The weather was not too hot, and there were lots of trees and shade. It is a small compact site, easily walked in a couple of hours, very quiet and contemplative. There are washrooms just off the parking lot. The local Mayan people come here even today to make small ceremonies and offerings which makes it more interesting than some sites. While there we were able to witness a Mayan priest, hands raised, doing a ceremony for a small group standing in a circle on the top of one temple just off the central plaza. Then we went down a long pathway at the back of the site, and found another small temple at the back set apart from the rest. This this one is currently being used for offerings, so if you go to Iximche make sure you take the short walk to it. There were small flat round altars surrounding the temple and they were all blackened by recent use. While there we saw a couple of women and some children making offerings of wax candles, flower petals, branches of herbs, foods, and lard on one of the round altars at the base of the temple. They put flower petals all the way down the steps from the top of the temple to the altar they were using. They were singing, praying, adding more items to the pile, stroking one of the young children with herb branches and laying those on top, and crying with emotion. They went on like this for at least a half an hour before lighting the entire pile of stuff and stood watching the smoke rise as it burned up. The image of the god they were praying to was quite clearly carved in the stone at the top of the temple. It was very impressive and moving. All those of us who were tourists watching, as if by agreement stood apart respectfully, and did not go around looking at the temple while the Mayans were doing the ceremony. Occasionally a couple of new tourists would come down the path, see all of us standing still, and would without asking do likewise. Everyone was completely still and did not talk until the Mayans finished and went on their way.
Written January 27, 2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Antigua G
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala130 contributions
Dec 2011 • Couples
Tecpán - Iximche, Guatemala

Tecpán Guatemala (or Tecpang), located about 35 miles (55 kms) northwest of Antigua Guatemala, is best known as the main town right next to Iximche, site of the last capital of the Maya civilization. The Iximche ruins have been dated circa 1493 to 1524. Though relatively junior in the scheme of Maya history, these ruins have their own majesty.

Most tourists seek out Tecpán Guatemala as a mere launch pad to get to nearby Iximche, a pre-Columbian archeological site, somewhat overshadowed in allure and reputation by the mighty, more imposing and highly excavated Tikal. Yokobsens got on a series of Saturday chicken buses and headed out with two goals: to explore both Tecpán and the ruins.

To get to Tecpán Guatemala from Antigua Guatemala, allow at least an hour and a half. Total cost of return fare is about 45Q (about $5.50 US). Catch the bus to Chimeltenango (affectionately known and shouted out as "Chimel") and tell the chicken bus wing man when you pay to let you off in Chimel where you can hop the bus to Tecpán Guatemala.

Be warned that Chimel is a dusty and diesel-fumed environment and you'll be on a main thoroughfare as you wait for your connection. However, buses come every few minutes so you won't be standing in the less-than-ideal spot for very long.

Another thing to know is the bus from Chimel will pass Tecpán Guatemala and not let you off until about three to five minutes up the highway. Don't panic; they have not forgotten you. It is very dangerous to pass the busy four-lane Pan American highway at what seems clearly marked as Tecpán Guatemala and the Iximche site. Further up the highway, the traffic flow permits travelers to cross the road in relative safety, and from there, head back via southward bound chicken bus.

Once in Tecpán it's easy to get to the Iximche site. Just hop in a tuc-tuc in Tecpán and 5Q will take you for the five- to eight-minute ride to the archeological site. It's 50Q to get in if you are a gringo. Now, here is where the Do-It-Yourself approach wasn't quite perfect. We expected to find at least one or two English-speaking guides who, for a fee, would take us through the compelling site. Nada. Nobody. A Saturday afternoon found the museum doors locked. And all of the explanations on panels throughout the site are, naturally, in Spanish and Kaqchikel. Our advice is to do your homework before you go.

Unfortunately, there is surprisingly little to be found about this site online. It's relatively unresearched and excavated compared to its flashier cousin sites elsewhere in the country and so doesn't get a lot of online profile. Here are two sites that are helpful to have read or print off and bring with you.

At its height, Iximche had a population of 10,000 and it was not all one homogenous group, but rather a number of clans within the city. The site was chosen for its strategic advantage: a high plateau more or less surrounded by ravines, which still are much in evidence. The palaces, six plazas, temples, stone relics where sacrifice is theorized to have taken place, are there in traces, and though some restoration has take place, the visitor requires some exercise of the imagination to envisage the former glory.

But make no mistake; this is a very spiritual place. The Maya use an area adjacent to the ancient site to perform ritual ceremonies and apparently, on a regular basis. You kind of have to luck out to be there at a time when the ceremonies take place. I've been told it's usually in the mornings, but there is no set time, at least in a way that a gringo can understand it.

A last word about getting back to town. The best thing to do (and actually the ONLY thing) is wait for an enterprising van to come into the roadway that leads to the site. We didn't have to wait long. For 2 Q the van, designed to transport 10 passengers, will pick you and 17 others up along the way. It's a bumpy, cheek to cheek ride with a set of Mayans who know how to make the best of a fun ride back from a spectacular ancient monument.
Written December 12, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Barry H
Antigua, Guatemala273 contributions
Jun 2018 • Couples
Without the long drive to Tikal or Copan, Iximche gives you a look at the Mayan culture. There are signs located near most points of interest but most of them are in Spanish. Make sure to visit the back of the site where you might be able to see a Shamanic ritual taking place. This is one site I highly recommend. About one and one half hour drive from Antigua, roads are good, but make sure you stay within the speed limit. Expect heavy traffic in weekends. During the week, you will probably have Iximche to yourself, but weekend will be busy.
Written July 6, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travellee3126 contributions
Feb 2012 • Friends
While these Mayan ruins can't compare to those at Tikal or Copan, they are easily accessible from Antigua. They also aren't overly crowded with other tourists and at the back of the site is a tree where there are still Mayan rituals being performed. So these are a living ruin. I love the dog who has twice been my tour guide. One thing that is more spectacular about these ruins is that they are surrounded by volcanoes!
Written March 9, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sarah T
Oakland, CA118 contributions
Jun 2018 • Family
We hired a private driver to take our family of 5 from Antigua to Panajachel (on Lake Atitilan). Since our trip wasn't long enough to take in the more popular Mayan ruins in Guatemala, we hoped Iximche would give us a decent taste. We were not disappointed.

The driver we hired was also a guide and spoke English. For this service we paid an additional 150Q (about $20), plus we paid admission fees at Iximche.

The first of several building sites here is nicely excavated. Further on you see some sites which have not been refurbished because they don't have the money yet. We walked all the way to the back and saw Mayan priests in the midst of healing ceremonies. Really neat to watch.

The area is beautiful, cooler (it is higher elevation) and historically important. Bathrooms were clean.
Written July 1, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 203
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Frequently Asked Questions about Iximche

We recommend booking Iximche tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 10 Iximche tours on Tripadvisor

Restaurants near Iximche: View all restaurants near Iximche on Tripadvisor