The ancient Maya viewed time as cyclical, and on December 21, 2012, the Maya Long Count calendar will reset itself to zero like a cosmic odometer, thus completing a cycle of 5,125 years. This portentous date may or may not herald a new age of enlightenment for mankind or signal the end of the world as various self-proclaimed prophets and doomsayers predict. But one thing is certain: there are going to be celebrations of all things Maya held throughout 2012 in the region known as the Mundo Maya.
To help travelers plan for these diverse events, Avalon Travel has just released MOON MAYA 2012: A Guide to Celebrations in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize & Honduras. The guide's author Joshua Berman manages to pack an impressive amount of information into this slim volume's 115 pages. There are chapters devoted to all four countries comprising the Mundo Maya. Included are descriptions of Maya archaeological sites, maps and directions, plus sections on 2012 tours, community tourism, and hotel packages. Each of these chapters begins with a first-person narrative -- something seldom found in today's guidebooks -- based on Joshua Berman's extensive travels in the region.
Sprinkled throughout the guide are interviews with archaeologists, authors, and other experts on the Maya. A concluding chapter supplies background on history and the Maya Long Count, as well as lists of relevant books, websites and films. There are even glossaries of words and common expressions in Yucatec and Tzotzil, two of the most widely spoken Maya languages. In short, this innovative and useful guide belongs in the backpack of anyone heading off to experience the Mundo Maya in 2012.
Also check out my post on Ten Places to visit in the Mundo Maya Before December 2012