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El Mirador, Guatemala. Source: US Embassy Guatemala / Flickr.

Mayan Jungle Ruins in Guatemala Could Become Major Tourist Attraction (Video)


Deep within the lush, tropical Guatemalan forest lies the ancient Mayan city of El Mirador, a site over 2,000 years old. However, it's not just an archaeological treasure; it's at the center of a heated debate over its future and that of the surrounding jungle – a UNESCO-designated forest called the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR). The question looms: who should dictate the destiny of this precious heritage: local communities, or foreign scientists? Dr. Richard Hansen, an American archaeologist, has dedicated much of his life to El Mirador. Over the past two decades, he's been striving to establish a privately-managed park in the area. His vision is to protect not only the ruins but also the jungle, believing it can be done more effectively than what the Guatemalan state can provide.

This proposal has ignited a fierce battle, pitting conservation against local livelihoods. Hansen's plan would require reclassifying El Mirador from a national park to a wilderness area, potentially disrupting existing forestry concessions that sustain local communities. As the debate rages on, the future of El Mirador and its surrounding jungle hangs in the balance, highlighting the delicate equilibrium between preservation and progress, as well as the complex web of interests and values at stake.

Top image: El Mirador, Guatemala. Source: US Embassy Guatemala / Flickr.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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