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Orange Walk | Belize

The Mayans lived in what was then called “Mesoamerica” by the Spanish colonialists. This region is now comprised of Belize, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador. Vestiges of the Maya culture can be found in the entire region, with vast archaeological sites, cultural remnants everywhere.

Orange Walk Town is located 85 km north of Belize City and 48 km south of the border town of Corozal. Back in the days of the Maya civilization, the area was known as Holpatin. This region is home to the largest Maya temple of what is known as the “pre-classic” period of Maya history. When the Maya came in contact with the Spanish explorers in the 1530s, they battled each other for control of the land.

Then, in 1848 a massive migration by the Maya and Mestizos from Mexico, feeing the Caste War of Yucatan (1847-1901) brought more diverse people into the region.

Along with the arrival of Maya and mestizos, came the many traditions that now dominate the region’s culture and history. The Maya and mestizos engaged in growing sugar cane, which has since become Belize’s leading agricultural industry. Other diverse crops along with tourism also play a role in the region’s economy. It’s also worth noting that the region is also populated by Asians and Mennonites, who have set up villages and enclaves here.

San Lázaro itself is located in the Orange Walk District, which is less than a 15-minute drive from Orange Walk Town, the capital city of the district. Its inhabitants are direct descendants of the Maya Yucatec people, who migrated to this region of Belize during the Caste War of Yucatan, in the late 1800’s.San Lázaro is a small community with a population of approximately 1000.

The Carrillo family have lived San Lázaro for several generations. Their forefathers arrived here from Yucatan during the Caste War, and have thrived here ever since. Pedro Carrillo the family patriarch, has been documenting the history of San Lázaro community and its origins for many years, with the help of his son Hugo. It’s widely know that the area’s visitors routinely come to meet the Carrillo family in order to learn more about the history and local culture.

Over the last few years, the concept of a museum has been edging towards reality thanks to the Carrillo family’s willingness to invest resources into the initiative.

The Mayan Museum, which shall be named “U Chan Muul Yaax K’aax” (which means “The small hill on the green field”), aims to be a family-run tourist-oriented business in San Lázaro. The museum will showcase locally-discovered Mayan artifacts, present cultural performances of Mayan music, and of course offer a glimpse Mayas’ everyday life.

U Chan Muul Yaax K’aax Museum


U Chacmul Yax Kahx Museum, San Lázaro’s intended local cultural and historical museum, is oriented to appeal to the regional tourism market, as well as groups of local schoolchildren. This is mainly due to the fact that the museum is located on the main road that leads to Lamanai, which is Belize’s third-ranked Maya site. Most of the locals who visit Lamanai travel do so by car, so the museum’s roadside location is ideal for them.

Conversely, school groups who already routinely visit Lamanai could easily add the museum as an “essential stop”, that fully complements their visit to Lamanai. Another market segment worthy of consideration would be international visitors who stop over in Orange Walk Town for the night, while traveling through Belize overland.

The museum’s goal is to educate foreign visitors, and school groups about the history of the Mayans in Belize, as well as their historical influence. The mission will also include teaching local youth and other members of the greater community about the Maya language and culture. This will be an effort to preserve them for future generations. The museum’s principals are committed to dedicating a significant portion of the revenue generated by the museum to ongoing community cultural activities and programs to bolster pride and awareness.

Mission: The U Chan Muul Yaax K’aax Museum will focus on educating visitors in all aspects of Mayan culture. It will also promote cultural pride and awareness within the San Lázaro community.

Vision: The Carrillo family seeks to position the U Chan Muul Yaax K’aax Museum as a truly unique cultural and historical attraction. One that will provide an unforgettable Maya living experience to its visitors for generations to come.

Tourist experience

The museum aims to offer two main products/attractions:

Museum Tour:

The museum tour will be approximately 1 hour of duration and will be a guided tour with musical performances, a detailed tour of a typical Mayan garden, which will feature a variety of traditional Mayan plants and herbs which have been used for cooking and medicinal purposes for centuries. There will also be showcase of a diverse and growing collection of Mayan artifacts, most of which will be donated by members of the San Lázaro Community.

The musical performances will be conducted by younger community members. They will be dressed in traditional Maya costumes and will perform various music and dances, featuring ancient musical instruments traditionally used by the Mayas.

Well-versed guides will cover the origins of the San Lázaro community, and how their ancestors migrated from Yucatan, Mexico during the Caste War in the mid/late 1800’s.

Target markets for the museum products will be tour operators in Orange Walk and surrounding areas, along with hotels. The other significant target market will be Belizean tourists and weekenders, along with groups from private and public schools across Belize.

Mayan Cooking Class

The U Chan Muul Yaax K’aax Museum will feature a typical Maya Kitchen, in order to conduct cooking classes and demonstrations. The instructors will be women of San Lázaro community, who are well-versed in ancient Maya cuisine.

One of the main points will be teaching visitors how to prepare “Tamal de Chaya”, arguably the most typical Mayan dish in the region. The cooking class will run approximately three hours, ending with the guests being able to enjoy a full meal with the food that they learned how to prepare. This program will be a unique attraction in the region, giving guests to learn ancient cooking techniques, and even using ancient Maya artifacts such as the grinding stone to prepare the meals.

The cooking class will be just another way for visitors to learn more about Belizean culture, while getting the opportunity to spend time and sharing experiences with local women from the community. It’s guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience for visitors from around the world.

Target markets for the museum products will be tour operators in Orange Walk and surrounding areas, along with hotels. Another significant target market will be Belizean tourists, along with groups from private and public schools across Belize.

The Carrillo family has received a commitment of assistance from the National Institute of Culture and History/Museum of Belize to help develop certain components of the museum, as well as to help set up and stock the artifacts exhibition in the museum hall.

This museum project aims to add another attraction to the Orange Walk District, giving tourists and educational groups alike a reason to stay in the area longer while spending time at Lamanai’s world famous archaeological site.

The U Chan Muul Yaax K’aax Museum will provide a unique opportunity for tourists and other visitors to learn more about the local culture, their food, their history and much more. Conversely, local visitors as well as school groups will gain more awareness of their culture, history and the unique human diversity that exists in Belize.

Tourism with purpose Visit! Live! Give!

The museum aims to offer two main products/attractions:

Museum Tour:

The museum tour will be approximately 1 hour of duration and will be a guided tour with musical performances, a detailed tour of a typical Mayan garden, which will feature a variety of traditional Mayan plants and herbs which have been used for cooking and medicinal purposes for centuries. There will also be showcase of a diverse and growing collection of Mayan artifacts, most of which will be donated by members of the San Lázaro Community.

The musical performances will be conducted by younger community members. They will be dressed in traditional Maya costumes and will perform various music and dances, featuring ancient musical instruments traditionally used by the Mayas.

Well-versed guides will cover the origins of the San Lázaro community, and how their ancestors migrated from Yucatan, Mexico during the Caste War in the mid/late 1800’s.

Target markets for the museum products will be tour operators in Orange Walk and surrounding areas, along with hotels. The other significant target market will be Belizean tourists and weekenders, along with groups from private and public schools across Belize.

Mayan Cooking Class:

The U Chan Muul Yaax K’aax Museum will feature a typical Maya Kitchen, in order to conduct cooking classes and demonstrations. The instructors will be women of San Lázaro community, who are well-versed in ancient Maya cuisine.

One of the main points will be teaching visitors how to prepare “Tamal de Chaya”, arguably the most typical Mayan dish in the region. The cooking class will run approximately three hours, ending with the guests being able to enjoy a full meal with the food that they learned how to prepare. This program will be a unique attraction in the region, giving guests to learn ancient cooking techniques, and even using ancient Maya artifacts such as the grinding stone to prepare the meals.

The cooking class will be just another way for visitors to learn more about Belizean culture, while getting the opportunity to spend time and sharing experiences with local women from the community. It’s guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience for visitors from around the world.

Target markets for the museum products will be tour operators in Orange Walk and surrounding areas, along with hotels. Another significant target market will be Belizean tourists, along with groups from private and public schools across Belize.

The Carrillo family has received a commitment of assistance from the National Institute of Culture and History/Museum of Belize to help develop certain components of the museum, as well as to help set up and stock the artifacts exhibition in the museum hall.

This museum project aims to add another attraction to the Orange Walk District, giving tourists and educational groups alike a reason to stay in the area longer while spending time at Lamanai’s world famous archaeological site.

The U Chan Muul Yaax K’aax Museum will provide a unique opportunity for tourists and other visitors to learn more about the local culture, their food, their history and much more. Conversely, local visitors as well as school groups will gain more awareness of their culture, history and the unique human diversity that exists in Belize.

Tourism with purpose Visit! Live! Give!

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DISCOVER ORANGE WALK

    Tour OperadorAgencia de ViajesParticularVisitanteEstudiante

    Organización Mundo Maya

    7 avenida 1 – 17 zona 4 Centro Cívico, Ciudad de Guatemala.

    Edificio INGUAT, piso 2, oficinas 207-208

    Teléfono: +502 22 90 28 00, ext. 2335