The Maya are an indigenous people of Mexico and Central America who have continuously inhabited the lands comprising modern-day Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Campeche, Tabasco, and Chiapas in Mexico and southward through Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras.
Recent discoveries have led many archaeologists and cultural anthropologists studying Maya history to conclude that the centre of Maya civilization was, in fact, Belize. How exciting!
In this column we’ll be listing the top 5 Mayan ruin sites you’ll want to visit whilst you stay in Belize!
Caracol is probably one of the most important and prominent Mayan ruins in Belize! The impressive city was once home to more than 140,000 maya peoples and stretched more than 70 square miles essentially taking up an area larger than modern-day Belize City. Wow!
2. Altun Ha
Altun Ha one of Belize’s best excavated archaeological sites, it’s also the easiest of the Mayan ruins to visit making it extremely attractive for those seeking a quick excursion without travelling too far! It’s about an hour’s drive north of Belize City and the perfect day trip for tourists on short weekend getaways.
Not only is Lamanai one of the largest Mayan sites in Belize, but it is a true adventure journeying up to it offering tourists excellent opportunities to see wildlife, including iguanas, and fierce crocodiles. So Keep your eyes peeled! Tourists will first venture to Orange Walk Town and then hop on a boat for a fun ride up the winding New River! It’s fair to say that half the fun of Lamanai is the adventure you’re likely to embark on getting there first!
Xunantunich was an ancient Mayan town in the Cayo region of Belize, closest to the towns of Benque Viejo and San Ignacio, and the name means “sculpture of lady”. Originally, it is believed that Xunantunich was little more than a collection of small villages. However, around the year 600, Xunantunich began to grow significantly in size. It is definitely an interesting ruin to admire, and is definitely one of the more popular touri
ng locations! It’s likely that if you visit you’ll make friends, so why not go check it out and release your inner explorer! – Don’t forget to bring a hat!
5. Cahal Pech
Often overshadowed by the more popular Mayan ruins at Xunantunich and Caracol, Cahal Pech is the perfect choice for tourists who want to get off the beaten path and have a more independent archeological experience.