Welcome to the Marco Gonzalez Maya site|
MISSION STATEMENT: "To unfold the mysteries of a 2000 year old Maya Site on Ambergris Caye, Belize, and provide
education of the ancient Maya island lifestyle to persons of all ages."
GOAL: When the Marco Gonzalez Maya Site is developed and ready for both tourism and educational
purposes, the following programs will be initiated:
Ambergris Caye was home to an estimated 20,000 Maya traders at the height of their occupation of the island. There are
18 sites recognized on the 25 mile long island and none of these sites had been preserved. In 2008, a conversation
between Ex-pat Jan Brown, living here for several years, and a prominent citizen, Winston (Frank) Panton took place
regarding this. An idea was born. Jan proceeded to talk to officials about the selection of the Marco Gonzalez
site to be preserved to become a visitation site. By April 2009, the announcement came forth - Marco Gonzalez
Maya Site was to be the first official location to be preserved. Restoration of the site and a Visitors Center/Educational
Center would be developed for all to enjoy.
- On-site Visitor Center containing artifacts and exhibits of island lifestyles.
- Educational Center with classes and tours for the over 2,000 school children on the island of Ambergris Caye.
- Guided tours through the archaeological site.
- Eco-tours including birding, animals and creatures found within the Site.
A year later, the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) and Belize Institute of Archaeology put the wheels
in motion to declare Marco Gonzalez the first National Reserve on an island in Belize. By April 1, 2011, they also
signed the final paperwork with the Belizean Government in order to make Marco Gonzalez the first Maya Site National
Park on Ambergris Caye. As custodians of all Parks in Belize, but located on the mainland, they recognized the need
for local management and another historical document of Co-Management was generated between NICH/IoA and the Marco
Gonzalez Maya Site Board of Directors.
Local Sanpedranos and visitors have known about the 7.57 acre site for many years. After 2,000 years
of ocean rise, storms and encroachment of mangroves creating marshlands, getting into the site was treacherous at best.
However, in the summer of 2010, an archaeological field school led by Dr. Elizabeth Graham and Dr. Scott Simmons caused
the need to build a temporary footbridge over a quarter of a mile into the site. With the bridge in place, the site is
now open for tours and education.
The development of the site is a huge undertaking. NICH has estimated the cost at $1.5M USD for the Visitor/Educational
Center, footbridge, parking lot, restrooms, security buildings, etc. In the desire to go "green", wind and solar power
is being explored to compliment local electricity. Composting restrooms and recycled plastic "lumber" for the boardwalk
are being discussed. Grants and donations are being sought to make this dream come true. It is a win-win project for
San Pedro and Ambergris Caye.