El Baúl Hilltop Site

Archaeological Site in Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa

With two great carved stones, this archaeological site has the additional fascination of being an active place of pagan worship for local people. Maya people visit regularly, especially on weekends, and make offerings, light fires and candles, and sacrifice chickens. They will not mind if you visit as well, and may be happy to pose with the idols for photographs in exchange for a small contribution.

Of the two stones, the large, grotesque, half-buried head is the most striking, with its elaborate headdress, beak-like nose and 'blind' eyes with big bags underneath. The head is stained with wax from candles, splashes of liquor and other drinks, and with the smoke and ashes of incense fires, all part of worship. People have been coming here to pay homage for more than 1400 years.

The other stone is a relief carving of a figure with an elaborate headdress, possibly a fire god, surrounded by circular motifs that may be date glyphs.

To get here, leave town northward on the road passing El Calvario church. From the intersection just past the church, go 2.7km to a fork in the road just beyond a bridge; the fork is marked by the entrance to the Ciudad España housing development (signposted from the center). Buses heading out to Finca El Baúl, the plantation headquarters, pass this sign. Take the right-hand fork, passing a settlement called Colonia Maya on your right. After you have gone 1.5km from the Los Tarros sign, a dirt track crosses the road: turn right here, between two concrete posts. Ahead now is a low mound topped by three large trees: this is the hilltop site. After about 250m, fork right between two more identical concrete posts, and follow this track around in front of the mound to its end after some 150m. Then take the path up on to the mound, which is actually a great ruined temple platform that has not been restored.