Mayan Underworld, the Gateway to Hell Belize

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Actun Tunichil Muknal Skeleton

“travelers had to survive passing rivers of scorpions, blood, and pus, then enchanted crossroads that gave misleading directions towards deadly traps.” –National Geographic, Essential Visual History of World Mythology

Xibalba, “Place of Fear” ruled by the death gods in Mayan Mythology. This underworld kingdom of the dead, was thought to be reached only by extreme difficulty through the mortal world.

This is the skeleton of a girl thought to be used for human sacrifice in efforts to please the 12 demons known as the “Lords of Xibalba”, found in the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave in Belize.

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Actun Tunichil Muknal cave, Belize photo by Everywhere Once

It was believed that anyone who died during childbirth, from suicide or human sacrifice would go straight to the gods in heaven and evade having to spend any time in Xibalba before reaching heaven.

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Candelaria Caves Coban, Guatemala by flickriver

It is also believed by the K’iche Maya of Cobán that the Candelaria Caves in the area of CobánGuatemala are the entrance to Xibalba, and that it still holds an association with death.

For a cool story on this location, check out Everywhere Once’s Hell’s Tale of an Empire’s Fall

As always your experience, suggestions and questions are enjoyed. Happy fairytale travels!


About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Senior Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. Christa has been traveling the world since 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day.

“It’s never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams.” -Christa Thompson

3 Comments on this post

  1. This seems opposite of a fairy tale…

    Christopher De Voss / Reply

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