10 Most Fascinating Mayan Ruins in Belize


The Maya have been a robust civilization that originated in the Yucatan round 2600 BC and got here to full energy round AD 250. They lived in an space that stretched from Central Mexico to El Salvador and included Belize. Some imagine that the area might have been dwelling to greater than 2 million Mayas through the peak of their dynasty.

The historic Maya have been identified for his or her superior data of astronomy and for developing giant cities containing pyramids and different constructions. Sadly, their civilization got here to a mysterious finish round AD 900, however the stays of the as soon as grand Mayan ruins may be discovered scattered all through Belize.

10. El Pilar

El Pilar

These Mayan ruins in Belize are situated on the border of Belize and Guatemala in the El Pilar Archaeological Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna. Work on this web site remains to be ongoing and, in reality, a lot of El Pilar nonetheless stays in the early levels of excavation. So this web site is definitely a wonderful instance of what Maya websites appear to be earlier than they’re unearthed and restored.

Its largely un-excavated situation may also provide you with an thought of how simply these Mayan ruins can mix in with the encircling jungle. Another plus? It is pretty distant and nonetheless doesn’t entice many vacationers. So it’s extremely seemingly that you simply’ll have the ability to get pleasure from El Pilar with only a few different guests round. Tours usually are not all the time obtainable to this web site, so some vacationers will hike in or lease an ATV or 4×4 to allow them to discover it.

9. Cerros


Cerros, which was as soon as a significant buying and selling heart, is the one Maya ruins in Belize that’s situated on the coast. Some of this web site’s ruins are literally underwater now, whereas many others haven’t but been excavated. Fortunately, although, there are a number of constructions and ball courts which you can discover in case you do resolve to go to this considerably distant web site.

Though Cerros is small, its location on the coast is gorgeous and peaceable. Cerros may be reached by way of a fast boat experience throughout the bay from the city of Corozal. It will also be reached by automotive through the dry season. But be forewarned, the drive is roughly three hours lengthy on an unpaved highway.

8. Barton Creek Cave

Barton Creek Cave

Barton Creek Cave is without doubt one of the extra uncommon Mayan websites which you can go to whereas in Belize. It is a moist cave that was utilized by the Maya as early as AD 200 to 600 for ceremonial functions. Archaeologists have found 1000’s of artifacts, together with many ceramic fragments, on ledges inside Barton Creek Cave, in addition to the stays of no less than 28 people.

Although researchers usually are not sure, it’s believed that no less than a few of these people might have been sacrificed to the rain god Chac. The cave can also be full of stunning stalactites, stalagmites and bats. If you need to discover Barton Creek Cave, get able to do some paddling. The solely strategy to get to and discover this cave is by way of canoe.

7. Lubaantun


Lubaantun, which is the most important Maya web site in southern Belize, is thought for the weird development of its buildings. Instead of limestone, which was usually used in the area, the buildings at Lubaantun have been constructed from black slate. In addition, no mortar was used in between the blocks, and the corners of the constructions have been rounded.

Lubaantun can also be identified for the massive assortment of small ceramic objects that have been found throughout its excavation. There can also be a well-known and controversial crystal cranium that was allegedly found at Lubaantun, however some researchers dispute that it truly got here from these ruins. Currently, Lubaantun doesn’t entice plenty of guests, so there’s a good probability that you simply may have the ability to discover these Maya ruins accompanied solely by the sounds of the encircling jungle.

6. Cahal Pech

Cahal Pech

Cahal Pech is situated on high of a steep hill, overlooking the Macal River, and is only a brief distance from the city of San Ignacio. It was first settled round 1200 B.C. and deserted round 800 to 900 AD. From this web site, archaeologists have found essential information and details about the earliest Maya settlers.

In comparability to a few of Belize’s different extra well-known ruins, Cahal Pech is small. But it’s price visiting, particularly if you can be in the San Ignacio space. It accommodates a number of ruins which you can climb or enter and discover. You may also discover a small, however very informative museum about Mayan historical past at Cahal Pech.

5. Actun Tunichil Muknal

Actun Tunichil Muknal

The trek to this web site requires a little bit of an adventurous spirit as you’ll have to hike, wade by water — probably swim — and rock scramble to succeed in its distant location. Actun Tunichil Muknal — often known as ATM — is, nonetheless, definitely worth the effort as it’s considered one of Belize’s extra fascinating Maya websites.

It is a cave that accommodates many Maya artifacts and the skeletal stays of quite a lot of sacrifice victims. The most well-known of those was an 18-year-old lady, dubbed the Crystal Maiden, whose bones are actually coated in glittering calcite. Locals known as this cave Xibalba, which was the Mayan underworld, and a few believed that it was the doorway to hell. If you need to go to this fascinating cave, you could have a information or be on an official tour.

4. Altun Ha

Altun Ha

Although Altun Ha will not be an enormous web site, it accommodates among the greatest restored Mayan ruins in Belize, which has made it very fashionable with guests. Surprisingly, this web site was solely lately “discovered” by archaeologists in 1963 and was first excavated between 1965 and 1970. It was throughout that first excavation that considered one of Belize’s most well-known artifacts was found — the Jade Head. It was a carving of the Maya solar god “Kinich Ahau,” and is the most important carved jade object from the Maya civilization each found.

Altun Ha additionally accommodates a man-made lagoon, which you’ll nonetheless see immediately. If you’re an animal lover, make sure that to maintain your eyes open for the prolific wildlife, together with tapir, armadillos, foxes and birds, that reside in the world.

3. Xunantunich


The Maya archaeological web site Xunantunich is situated on the Mopan River in southern Belize, very near Guatemala. While it isn’t an enormous web site, Xunantunich does comprise some fascinating ruins, together with El Castillo, which at 40 meters (130 toes), is the second tallest construction in Belize. Xunantunich, which was a Maya ceremonial heart, was at its top between 600 and 890 AD.

And although excavation work first started in the 1800s on this web site, researchers learning the location are nonetheless making new discoveries. For instance, in 2016, one of many largest royal tombs — if not the most important — in Belize was found in Xunantunich. Remarkably, it nonetheless contained the stays of an grownup male in addition to quite a few artifacts.

2. Lamanai


Because Lamanai is situated on the banks of the New River Lagoon, some vacationers go to the location by way of a “jungle” cruise by the rainforest. This technique of transportation gives you an opportunity to see native wildlife, together with monkeys, crocodiles and iguanas. Once at Lamanai, you’ll discover a well-excavated and delightful web site. Lamanai was as soon as a significant metropolis and was additionally one of many longest occupied Mayan cities.

The important sights at this web site are three pyramids, the Jaguar Temple, the High Temple and Mask Temple. The Jaguar Temple will get its identify as a result of a part of it was constructed to appear to be the top of the massive cat. The masks temple boasts enormous faces carved into the construction. Looking for just a little train? Then climb up the High Temple, the place you’ll be able to get pleasure from a view of the encircling jungle.

1. Caracol

Mayan Temples at Caracol in Belize

Caracol, which dates again to 1200 BC, is the most important Mayan web site in Belize. It is, in reality, bigger than Belize City and was dwelling to roughly 15,000 individuals, although as many as 115,000 might have lived in its “suburbs.” Because Caracol is located in a distant location in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, it is best to put together your self for a protracted, bumpy drive. But when you attain Caracol, you’ll discover a web site definitely worth the effort.

Here, you’ll discover Caana, which remains to be the tallest man-made construction in Belize, standing 43 meters (141 toes) tall. Inside Caana are three temples and 4 palaces. Caracol additionally accommodates many different constructions, together with reservoirs, an astronomic observatory and ball courts. However, it is very important be aware {that a} majority of this web site remains to be being excavated and restored.

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