1. The Belize Travelcast
  2. Episode 39

Sak Tunich: Preserving Maya Culture & Tradition

Ruben Magana 46 minutes

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In this episode, we are joined by Ruben Magana, co-owner of Sak Tunich with his father Jose Magana. Ruben speaks about Maya culture in Belize and how it is passed on and kept alive even today. 

Part of this cultural preservation is Sak Tunich itself. The name comes from the Mayan words for “white rock.” This is because under the topsoil of the property is a layer of pure limestone. The whole place resembles an authentic Maya site, including a plaza, ballcourt, and ceremonial room all carved and decorated traditionally. It is a place where visitors can see and learn more about the culture and traditions of Belize’s Maya people.

The country is unique in part because it is the only nation where people can get married on any archaeological site. This means that traditions such as Maya wedding ceremonies are particularly strong. One practice in these ceremonies introduces the four cardinal points, north, south, east, and west, with their different associated colors and energies.

St Leonard's Tours is family owned and operated by Carla & Rodolfo. Let us make Belize your backyard and lead you to unforgettable places in our comfortable air conditioned vehicles ... morewith your private, professional and knowledgeable local guides.

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One thing Ruben makes clear is that the Maya are not gone. In Belize alone, there are three different branches of the Maya people, of which he is Yucatec. However, ancient traditions are being lost to time and change, such as the language and English and Spanish taking over outside the home, as well as things such as traditional farming practices and rituals.

Take a dive with Ruben into the rich Maya culture in Belize, past, present, and future, and see just how it is showcased throughout the country in both architectures like that of Sak Tunich down to the courting traditions of the people.

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SAK-TUNICH, is a Maya family project that started in 1990. The word SAK TUNICH is a Yucatec Maya word meaning White (SAK) Rock (TUNICH). Sak Tunich is the only Maya site constructed ... moreby living descendants of the Yucatec Maya. Give yourself the opportunity to visit Sak Tunich.

Sak-Tunich Maya site is a modern Maya temple created by Mr. Jose Magana. Mr. Jose, is promoting and preserving the Maya culture. He performs ceremonies and weddings at the site.

The growth of this structure is a result of Mr. Jose and his family's hardwork and self-sustainable funds.

The Mission:
The goal is to educate both local and international tourists about the Yucatec Maya culture, and show them that the Maya people are still striving in today's world.
Account Type:
Travel Agent
Gold Certified:
Service Types:
Tours | Activities, Photography, Destination Weddings
Recommended Activities
CEREMONIAL WEDDING - XUNANTUNICH This is a spectacular Wedding that is held at Xunantunich. Here you will experience what it was like to get married in the Mayan Culture.... more
You can also spice up your wedding by adding Traditional music, Champaign, Photography or Wedding Cake for an additional price.

Here is a list of the Adds On:

Mayan Music: 


Mayan wedding Plaque: 



Wedding Cake:
/ Person
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
The Sak-Tunich Maya site was constructed by a family of Yucatec descent. It includes Plaza A & B, a ceremonial room, a collection of artifacts, and an underground entrance. ... more

At the site, you will also learn about the Safe the Royal Project.

This is a breeding program for the "Royal Rat" or Gibnut. The name "Royal Rat" was given to it after Queen Elizabeth II was served Gibnut meat during her 1985 visit. Gibnut meat is a local delicacy in Belize. 

We also have the 100ft tower at the site. At the top of the tower, you are greeted by panoramic views of mountains, jungle, and small towns in every direction. The view is truly breathtaking, especially for watching sunsets or stargazing.

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Ruben Magana

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