Sleep at the base of a Maya temple
Glamping has taken on an ancient air in Guatemala, where a few lucky couples can make camp and dine at the base of a Maya temple each year.
The Ka’ana Resort’s Maya City To Yourself package includes an entire evening exploring the ruins of Yaxha, located on Guatemala’s border with Belize. The exclusive experience starts at dusk when daily visitors clear out, and an archaeological guide leads the couple on a private tour through the ancient city. It was once the third largest in the region, and possibly first settled as far back as 1,000BC.
More than 500 structures still stand throughout the city, and the guide details their different functions. There is a Mesoamerican ballcourt, for example, where sporting events and feasts took place, as well as sculpted monuments dedicated to deities and kings. The tour ends with a hike to one of the tallest temples to watch the sunset over Lake Yaxha.
The night continues at the base of one of the city’s classic tiered temples with a table set for a traditional dinner, cooked by a trio of women from a neighbouring Maya village. The menu changes seasonally, but is always centred around corn, such as handmade corn tamales, corn tortillas and a corn-based drink called atole, along with plenty of fresh vegetables. As the evening winds down, a private tent is set up with open views of the torch-lit plaza, though couples can also choose to climb another temple for after-dinner drinks. The pair also has access to a private butler should any needs arise during the night.
In the morning – after a Maya breakfast that includes corn tortillas served with beans, eggs and chaya (a local green similar to spinach) – the couple can take a private boat across the lake to the unexcavated Topoxte ruins before the city opens back up to the public.
In the two years that the opportunity has been offered, only five couples have done the overnight. The experience costs $3,700 per couple, and also requires a minimum of two nights stay at the Ka’ana resort in San Ignacio, Belize (about 55km to the east), where rooms range from $300 to $1,200 a night.