Situated high on the Vaca Plateau deep in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, Caracol is the most extensive Mayan site in Belize and was only re-discovered as recently as 1936. The site of Caracol covers over 80 square miles with 30,000 structures, and at its peak supported a population in excess of 150,000. Situated at 1600 feet above sea level (one of the highest located sites of the southern uplands region) with no natural water body close by, it remains a mystery why such a huge population centre like Caracol evolved where it is.
Discover the heart of the Maya World, just a 2 hour drive from Belize’s western border. Covered in thick jungle and discovered in the 1900’s, Tikal represents one of the most fascinating Mayan archaeological sites of the Mundo Maya. It was considered one of largest and most powerful cities of the Classic Period, until it was suddenly abandoned over 1000 years ago and the jungle outgrew the massive temples and structures there.
Driving the Western Highway and through the town of San Ignacio, we head to the village of San Jose Succotz, where we take a hand-cranked ferry over the Mopan River to the site of Xunantunich (Maiden of the Rock). Xunantunich flourished during the Classic-period and appears to have survived the Maya "collapse" to remain an important population centre until around AD 1000.
Cahal Pech is an ancient Maya ruin where Mayan ritual and ceremonies were performed. The center accommodates pyramid temples, palaces and ball courts. Also, there is evidence that it was home to the Stelae cult. Excavations have showed that the Mayas occupied the site from 1000 B.C. to 800 A.D.
Arguably the most interesting Maya Ruin in Belize, Lamanai (also known “submerged crocodile”) is a treat for all adventure and culture seekers. Situated on the banks of the New River Lagoon and bordered by an untouched rainforest, Lamanai is the second largest Pre-classic structure in the Maya world and is located in the Orange Walk district.
ltun Ha (“Stone Water”) was a very significant Mayan city in the Classic Period. Its perfect location made the trading between the water of the Caribbean and the deep interior Mayan Civilization accessible. The site hosts over 275 structures and was home to more than 10,000 Mayas. The Mayas began construction in the city in early B.C. The primer towers centered around the reservoirs, a natural depression in the ground with artificial clay lining and a dam at the south end.
ocated 26 miles northwest of Punta Gorda, Lubaantun (“Place of the Fallen Stones”) is an enchanting Maya site with a magnificent rainforest setting and unique stonework. It was given its name by explorer Thomas Gann, but was formerly called the Rio Grande Ruins.