Some North Americans seem mighty worried about Dec. 21, 2012. On this date, the Mayan Long Count calendar ends and, according to events in the recent Hollywood flick 2012, many humans will die by earthquake, tsunami and other natural disasters as the world comes to an end.
The Mayans feel a little differently about the approach of 2012, though.
“It’s the beginning of a new era,” Nicole Rohrmann says. She is a native of Guatemala and works with the Guatemala Tourism Board.
Mayan teachings describe 2012 as a time of transition, where humans will have the opportunity to decide how they live and whether they will accept or resist change. If we accept, Mayan prophecy sees a time of great peace. However, if we resist, cataclysmic changes will occur.
Guatemala is the heart of the Mayan world in Central America. The country has more Mayan archaeological sites than any other, while descendants of the ancient Mayan people continue to live here, practice the rituals of their ancestors and speak one of the 22 Mayan languages.
“We have amazing culture and lots of mystery,” Rohrmann says. “People go to Guatemala to experience this.”
The Tourism Board is offering three Mayan routes to tourists, each highlighting aspects of the “Maya Cosmovision,” the Mayan’s view of the universe.
“We have invested money in educating the natives to understand the value of tourism so they have full ownership of their sacred sites,” says Rohrmann. “We are helping them with information on how they can manage sacred sites so they can make their own decisions about tourists.”
The Route of the Mayan Calendar takes tourists to communities alive with culture, festivities, dance and the “religious fervor” of the ancient Mayan civilization.
The Mayan Duality Route is a pilgrimage through the Highlands to confront the spirituality and mysticism of the Mayans. Every community you will visit has its own traditions and special religious rituals.
The Mayan Universe Route lets you explore Guatemala’s nature, whether it’s forests, plants or the animals that live there. Tourists will find this eco-tour especially peaceful.
- Nicole Feenstra