[WORLDKINGS] Exceptional places around the world (P.136) - San Antonio (Belize) : The old Mayan village in the jungle


(WorldKings.org) San Antonio is the largest village in the Toledo District of southern Belize. The village was established by Mopan Maya who fled across the Guatemalan border in 1883 from San Luis, Peten, in order to avoid persecution and military service.

The village sits among several small hills, with traditional thatched houses spread high to low, and intersected by several gently-flowing streams. The village Catholic Church is built of limestone salvaged from surrounding Maya ruins, transported by the villagers, and the stained glass windows were donated from a church in Missouri.

San Antonio is the most developed village in the Toledo District, with electricity, community telephone, a central water system, a new health center, several small shops, and a drying and purchasing center for the Toledo Cacao Growers Association.

Although this Mopan Maya village is the largest in Toledo, Mopan Maya is spoken by only a small number of people (varying sources suggest between 5,000 and 7,000 in southern Belize and Guatemala combined). The language is distinct from Kekchi Maya, but close to Yucatec (Mopan speakers can largely follow the dialogue in Mel Gibson's film Apocalypto without needing to read the subtitles). Most, if not all, the villagers speak English, and many also speak Spanish and Kekchi Maya.

The San Antonio Falls (Noh-sus) is located a mile west of the village, heading towards the village of Santa Cruz - you'll see the sign welcoming you to the falls on your right-hand side. The falls gently cascade 2,5m over limestone rock, and the pool below is perfect for a refreshing dip on a hot day, surrounded by lush vegetation, brightly colored dragonflies, and hummingbirds.

In August and September, a festival is held to celebrate the Feast of San Luis - a harvest festival where the famous Deer Dance is performed. The Deer Dance uses colorful costumes and takes place over several days. The dance of the holy deer represents the important relationship between humanity and nature.

According to wikitravel.org

Mihan (Collect and edit) (World Records Union - WorldKings.org)


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