The Guatemalan government is pissed off because tourists are carving on Mayan monuments.
I see it as nothing worse than what illegal Guatemalans are doing to the US.
The men – who look middle aged – were caught scratching A & P onto the wall of Tikal Temple II.
The pyramid is Mesoamerican, a cultural site from the pre-Columbian societies that flourished before Spanish colonisation of the Americas in the 16th century.
Tikal Temple II is part of Guatemala’s Tikal National Park and in 1979 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Vinicio Alba Ruiz, an environmentally-minded Guatemalan who appears to work for the ancient site, said the tourists were upset when he confronted them about the engraving.
He wrote on Facebook : “I found them carving on the walls of Temple II. When I asked what they were doing they got upset and seemed offended. If you come to this site you have to respect the rules. They do not need further explanation, it is common sense.”
Mr Albar Ruiz added: “We need to recruit more staff to look after our heritage.”
The Guatemalan Tourism Industry (INGUAT) complained about the incident in a public statement and demanded that the Public Ministry of Culture and Sport, which manages the world heritage monument, hold the tourists accountable for the damage, CEN reports.
The Guatemalan Law for the Protection of the Cultural Heritage allows for fines of between £10,053 (100,000 GTQ) and £100 (1 million GTQ) for causing damage to ancient sites, as well prison sentences of between six and nine years, according to reports.
It is unclear whether the incident is being investigated.
Social media users were quick to condemn the men’s actions, urging the park to employ more park wardens.
One person warned Mr Alba Ruiz that his job could be on the line if the visitors complain about him to the park head office.
While another called the men “ignorant” and said parents should educate their children to protect their environment.
National Geographic voted Tikal National Park as a must-do trip in 2020. The country’s rich history has seeped into present day allowing tourists to meet the Mayans of the past and present.
Mayan descendants constitute more than half the modern day population, making the country the only one in Central America with an indigenous cultural majority.