The geographic extent of the Maya civilization, known as the Maya area, extended throughout the southern Mexican states of Chiapas, Tabasco, and the Yucatán Peninsula states of Quintana Roo, Campeche and Yucatán. The Maya area also extended throughout the northern Central American region, including the present-day nations of Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and western Honduras.
As the largest sub-region in Mesoamerica, it encompassed a vast and varied landscape, from the mountainous regions of the Sierra Madre to the semi-arid plains of northern Yucatán. Climate in the Maya region can vary tremendously, as the low-lying areas are particularly susceptible to the hurricanes and tropical storms that frequent the Caribbean.
The Maya area is generally divided into three loosely defined zones: the southern Maya highlands, the southern (or central) Maya lowlands, and the northern Maya lowlands. The southern Maya highlands include all of elevated terrain in Guatemala and the Chiapas highlands. The southern lowlands lie just north of the highlands, and incorporate the Mexican states of Campeche and Quintana Roo and northern Guatemala, Belize and El Salvador. The northern lowlands cover the remainder of the Yucatán Peninsula, including the Puuc hills.
Geographically, the Mayan civilization covered what is now Belize,Guatemala, Honduras,El Salvador, and part of Mexico.
By far the greatest civilization in Central America before the Spanish Conquest was the Maya. They were outstanding in many different ways. For example, they built magnificent cities with huge stone temples and pyramids. Yet they had no knowledge of the wheel or metal tools. The great Mayans developed an advanced system of writing,mathematics and astronomy, which they used to calculate an accurate calendar. The ancient Maya lived in a society where religion was part of their daily life. The cosmological beliefs of the Maya are not fully known, for the only direct source of knowledge comes from the sculptured, and painted representations from their ceremonie sites. However, it is known that they worshipped hundreds of different gods. According to Benson, the Maya people can be described as short and sturdily built, with broad heads and receding jaws. The ancient Mayans can be long remembered for their remarkable advances of the arts, science, and religion (The Mayan World ).