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Located in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, the pre-Columbian Mesoamerican site of Iximche was the capital of the late post-classic Kaqchikel Maya kingdom from 1470 until it was ultimately abandoned in 1524 and then declared a Guatemalan National Monument in the 1960s.
Once in the archeological site, you will see four ceremonial plazas surrounded by tall temples and two ball courts. There is also a small museum displaying sculptures and ceramics found at Iximche during excavations. As you tour the site, look for poorly preserved painted murals and listen to guides as they talk about evidence of human sacrifice found at Iximche.
Originally, the Kaqchikel maintained their capital at what is present-day Chichicastenango but then moved to Iximche sometime around 1470 due to the rampant expansion movement and growing power of their K’iche rivals. Iximche was built along the safer 7,000-foot-high (2,134-meter-high) mountain ridge, surrounded by deep ravines. It took the Kaqchikel only about 50 years to get developed again as a city, and although they were able to ward off some attacks by the K’iche, the Spanish conquistadors soon arrived. An alliance was offered to assist with gaining control of other Mayan kingdoms, so Iximche was then declared the first capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala. Due to overbearing requests from the Spanish, the Kaqchikel broke the alliance and left Iximche, which was ultimately burned two years later by Spanish deserters.
Iximche is located about an hour northwest of Antigua in the town of Tecpán. The site is open daily from 8am until 5pm, and admission is about $10.
Address: Tecpán, Guatemala
Hours: Daily from 8am until 5pm.
2 Tours and Activities to Experience Iximché
Get a glimpse of pre-Columbian life with a visit to archaeological site Iximche. Just 90 minutes from Antigua, this site was once capital of the Kaqchikel Maya Kingdom. Thanks to excellent restoration you can visit former palaces, temples, plazas, ball courts, murals, and a small museum of artifacts. Your guide will share background and point out historical details, such as signs of human sacrifice that linger at the site.
Explore the fascinating Spanish and Mayan history of Guatemala on this family-friendly 8-hour tour to Iximché and colonial Antigua. Wander the atmospheric archaeological site of Iximché to discover the history of the Mayans. Then head to Antigua, former colonial capital, where you’ll visit the San Francisco Church, Calle del Arco, La Merced Church and the central plaza. Your excursion also includes round-trip transportation from your hotel, a guide and all entrance fees.
Price varies by group size
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures
Face masks required for travelers in public areas
Face masks required for guides in public areas
Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are Iximché hours of operation?
Iximché hours of operation: Daily from 8am until 5pm.. Buy tickets in advance on Viator. If you book with Viator, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.
What's the best way to experience Iximché?
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