As snow continues to fall in many places around the world,
Oceania Cruises’ Riviera is cruising
in the warm waters of the Caribbean on the popular Mayan Mystique voyage. Guests are enjoying not only the beautiful
weather but also the opportunity to explore some of the fascinating remnants of
the ancient Mayan civilization, renowned for its fully conceived written
language as well as remarkable advancements in
architecture, math and astronomy.

Yesterday in Costa Maya, guests were treated to a wonderful day
exploring Kohunlich, the magnificent, multileveled Mayan
ruin best known for its Temple of the
Masks. Kohunlich was settled in 200 BC,
but most of the structures date from 250 to 600 AD.

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Named after the Cohune Ridge where Cohune palm trees grow,
the ruins include a sunken palace, acropolis, ball court and several courtyards. Kohunlich’s broad range of architecture, natural beauty and seclusion set it apart from the more
widely toured sites in the area.

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The main attractions are the large humanized stucco masks that flank the
central stairway of the Temple of Masks. Built around 500 AD, it is one of the
oldest structures at Kohunlich. In the 700s, the temple was covered with another
structure, which protected the masks and left them remarkably well preserved.

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Guests climbed the pyramid-like temple and got an up-close
look at the 10-foot sculpted masks of the Sun God Kinich Ahau, while also
enjoying stunning views of the forest surrounding the ruins.

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After a remarkable day exploring Kohunlich, guests enjoyed a
tasty lunch of regional favorites at the Lagoon Club.

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A few days prior during Riviera’s
call on Santo Tomas, several guests had the chance to explore the famed Mayan
ruins of Tikal. One of the greatest Mayan cities known and
studied to date, the UNESCO World Heritage Site
of Tikal is nestled in the rainforests of Northern Guatemala. The journey to
get to the ruins began on a chartered one-hour flight to the northern region of El Peten, followed by a scenic one-hour
drive along forest-lined roadways.

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After a one-mile hike through the rainforests surrounding
Tikal, the Great Plaza comes into view. The magnificent architecture
is still intact after thousands of years.
Inhabited since the 6th century BC, the city reached its zenith from 200 to 900
AD. During this time Tikal was one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient
Maya.

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It took the University of Pennsylvania 13 years to uncover 10
square miles of the city, and much of it is still buried in the jungle. The
city’s 3,000 structures are largely built with limestone, including temples
that are more than 230 feet high, huge royal palaces, smaller pyramids, palaces
and homes, as well as administrative buildings and inscribed monuments.

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Following a fascinating day at Tikal, guests enjoyed lunch
and beautiful views of Lake Peten Itza and the Island of
Flores at the Maya International Hotel in
Santa Elena.

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Because
of its immense popularity, the Mayan Mystique cruise will be offered several
times in 2014 as well, with departures on January 3, February 2 and March 18.
Don’t miss the chance to explore the magnificently preserved ruins of one of
the greatest ancient civilizations.