Set on the banks of the Motagua River 127 mi/205 km northeast of Guatemala City, Quirigua is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Guatemala's most important archaeological sites. Quirigua's main claim to fame is its collection of remarkable stelae (stone pillars covered in intricate carvings and Maya glyphs) that stand in a clearing in the midst of the jungle. The tallest stelae in the Maya world is found there—26 ft/8 m high (with another 10 ft/3 m currently underground).

We recommend seeing the site as part of an organized tour. Many tours combine Quirigua with a visit to the ruins at Copan in nearby Honduras (a two-day trip from Guatemala City) or combine Quirigua, Copan, the Rio Dulce and Livingston (a three-day trip).

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