Maya Ruin Tours

Temples & Ruins

It’s an archeological fact that Belize has more Maya ruins than there are modern houses. In the Classic Period (600 AD), Belize had a population that exceeded a million people; today we have just about 345,000 inhabitants. Let us take you on a journey into the past and explore the ancient cities that once thrived in trade and commerce.

Caracol Ruins and Mountain Pine RidgeIMG_3772

Caracol (Snail) is the largest Maya city in the central lowlands covering an area of approximately 177 square kilometers  is 2 hours’ drive south of San Ignacio. The site is nestled in the Chiquibul Rainforest Nature Preserve, a vast protected rainforest managed by Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD). Following several preliminary investigations, archaeological excavations began in earnest in the 1980s with the Caracol Archaeological Project and are continued to this day.

Our tour of Caracol brings together not only the ancient political clashes of primary centers in the prehistoric times but also devastating ecological problems affecting their livelihood, and the vibrant lives of the unscrupulous rulers as they sought after for apotheosis power in their lifetimes. During its height under ruler ship of Lord Water, Caracol became a very influential city, taking control of neighboring sites and eventually dominating Tikal in Guatemala capturing its ruler, Lord Double Bird around 562 A.D.

In the year 2000 the Government of Belize launched the Tourism Development Project (TDP), taking Caracol into a new phase oIMG_0205caracolf serious archeological excavations and consolidation. Today we share with you the rich history of this metropolitan city that thrived for centuries; yet was riddled with warfare, political unrest, and complicated trade relations all under religious rule. The site provides you with a unique opportunity to view a city still engulfed in the thickness of the jungles.

On our return from visiting Caracol we will make a stop at the Rio On Pools where you can enjoy an afternoon of relaxing and swimming in the refreshing pools fed by cool mountain streams.

  • Departs: 7:30 am; Return 5:00 pm
  • Duration: Full day
  • Habitat: Sub-tropical
  • Fitness Level: Moderate to good
  • Dress: Shorts or loose pants, sturdy shoes, sleeve length optional, swim suit for the pools
  • What to Bring: Hat, sunscreen, water, insect repellant, camera, raingear optional.

Tikal from Belize

When you choose the tour of Tikal, we will pick you up from your hotel en route to Tikal in Guatemala, and don’t forget your passport! Tikal is the most famous of all archeological sites in the Guatemalan lowlands. This is the place where Star Wars filmed one of its episodes. More than that, Tikal was a metropolitan city during its peak, having total control and influence over its allies. Once again our guides will take you back in history into a time line of Tikal from its initial settlement to a mighty city and later to its collapse.IMG_8643 This is one of the most famous Maya ruin tours available in Central America, and due to Belize’s proximity to the northern Peten, we provide you with a great opportunity to visit this ancient city while you visit Belize.

  • Departs: 7:00 am; Return 5:00 pm
  • Duration: Full day
  • Habitat: Sub-tropical
  • Fitness Level: Moderate to good
  • Dress: Shorts or loose pants, sturdy shoes, sleeve length optional
  • What to Bring: Passport, hat, sunscreen, water, insect repellant, camera, raingear optional

Cahal Pech

Place of TicksIMG_7300

Cahal Pech is located in the outskirts of San Ignacio, set high on the hill-top. The site extends into the downtown area of present day San Ignacio. Extensive research has uncovered the story of a Maya people who had major influence over the Belize River Valley who enjoyed a healthy relationship with its neighbors. It is one of the oldest sites in Belize and the Maya world. Excavation at the site confirms dates of an early settlement in the Preclassic Period (BC 1000) that thrived to the collapse around 1000 AD. Beautiful architectural renovations at the site have made Cahal Pech a favorite destination for many. The hike is easy, family friendly and almost all visitors can enjoy a leisurely 5-minute walk to the entrance. Come and enjoy the tranquility of the city while our guides enhance your knowledge about this amazing civilization.

This tour is a half-day trip and you can incorporate other half day tours if you wish to make a full day in the outdoors. Suggested destinations are: Cave Tubing, Xunantunich, Chechem Ha, Barton Creek, River Tubing or Ziplining.

  • Departs: 8:30 am or 12:00 pm
  • Duration: HalfdDay
  • Habitat: Sub-tropical
  • Fitness Level: Moderate
  • Dress: Shorts or loose pants, sturdy shoes, sleeve length optional
  • What to Bring: Hat, sunscreen, water, insect repellant, camera, raingear optional.

 

IMG_6901xunanXunantunich

Maiden of the Rock

This beautifully excavated site is the second largest in western Belize, just west of San Ignacio and a couple miles from Guatemala. From atop El Castillo, the largest structure rising 130 feet above the river valley, you can look into our neighbors across the border. Drift back into time and picture what the Maya saw in their time, as well as the layout of the city. Research at Xunantunich reveals an early settlement that first came to the valley in the Preclassic Period (BC 400) and thrived until their collapse around 1000 AD. Interesting politics associated with the rulership of Xunantunich argues the city may have been under influence of the neighboring site of El Naranjo in Guatemala.

  • Departs: 8:30 am or 12:00 pm
  • Duration: Half day (can be combined with river tubing, canoeing, Cahal Pech or Chechem Ha)
  • Habitat: Sub-tropical
  • Fitness Level: Moderate
  • Dress: Shorts or loose pants, sturdy shoes, sleeve length optional
  • What to Bring: Hat, sunscreen, water, insect repellant, camera, raingear optional