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When in Belize, Don’t Miss Exploring the Majestic Maya Ruins

For centuries the magnificent ruins of the ancient Maya civilization have fascinated mankind. With its intriguing temples and spellbinding architecture, Maya ruins in Belize have attracted generations of vacationers as well as archaeologists, explorers and history lovers.

It is believed that Mayans had discovered and used the zero even before the Europeans. Their magnificent, breathtaking architecture is awe-inspiring. Several archaeological sites are open to the public and four of them are most visited by the public. Let’s discuss some of the more famous Mayan structures in Belize:

Altun Ha

Located north of Belize City, Altun Ha is called water of the rock. The ruins of Altun Ha are famous for various reasons. The largest and unique Jade head sculpture of Kinich Ahau which symbolizes the Maya’s Sun God, was found here during excavations.

During the Classic Period (from 250 to 900 A.D), Altun Ha was the main ceremonial center as well as a key trading center connecting the Caribbean shores with Maya’s prime areas. The largest temple of the Masonry Altars in Altun Ha is 54 feet high. Altun Ha is a favorite to many who vacation in Belize.

El Pilar

Visited by many vacationers, El Pilar is unique in that it has only been partially excavated to intentionally allow visitors to experience the vastness of the jungle that has overcome this once large and important site. The site is on the Belize-Guatemala border with entry to the site being only 7 miles from Bullet Tree Falls, Cayo District.

El Pilar consists of several excavated chambers and court yards that are open to visitors, as well as many temples and mounds left as they were discovered. El Pilar is also popular with birders on a Belize vacation and the Emerald Toucanet is commonly sighted. In the canopy Howler Monkeys can be observed lounging tranquilly. El Pilar is an excellent choice for those on a Belize vacation in or around San Ignacio.

Caracol

This a very popular site with Belize vacationers. Surrounded by jungle, the ruins of Caracol contain enormous structures, haunting tombs and fascinating carvings which give a glimpse of the people who lived in this intriguing city. Caracol, meaning snail, was discovered in 1938 though its excavation started only in 1985. The largest pyramid in Caracol, the Canaa, standing at 140 feet, is the tallest man-made structure in Belize.

Caracol is in the Cayo District. Many tour guides are available to take you to this fantastic Mayan site. If your Belize vacation is taking you to the Cayo District, Caracol would be a great choice to visit.


Lubaatun

This is an interesting site in the south of Belize. It is noted for the curvature of it architecture that was amazingly assembled without mortar. Lubaatun is also in the center of the Crystal Skull controversy. A British explorer allegedly discovered a crystal skull at this site in the 1920’s. To this day modern science is unable to duplicate such a skull. The largest structure at Lubaantún rises 36 feet above the plaza floor. From the summit of this structure there is a beautiful view of the foothills of the Maya Mountains and the Toledo coastal plains. The center of the site lies along a ridge top twenty miles from the sea. In contrast to other sites, the Maya of Lubaantún took to shaping the ridges and slopes of the hilltop rather then leveling it off. The ceremonial center of this site has 11 major structures grouped around five main plazas. While on your Belize Vacation Lubaatun is a must see.

Xunantunich

It is known as Maiden of the Rock. The 135-foot tower "El Castillo" in Xunantunich is the second tallest structure in Belize after Canaa in Caracol. Xunantunich is a short drive from San Ignacio and is near the Belize-Guatemala border. It is a favorite of thousands of Belize vacationers every year. The site is well cared for and a great place to learn of the mysterious Mayan and have a great day exploring. From atop El Castillo you can gaze across miles of beautiful jungle and into Guatemala. Another favorite of visitors to the site is the ride across the Mopan River on a hand cranked auto ferry.

These are many more Maya ruins in Belize. Whenever you are on vacation in Belize make it a point to explore the magnificent structures and architecture of Maya ruins. Allow reliable and efficient Belize Vacation Planners to provide a great vacation packages and to arrange a comfortable hotel or vacation rental in Belize for you.

Belize is very easy to reach. In fact major airlines such as American, Continental, US Air, Delta, and Taca Airlines run daily flights of about two hours from several U.S. cities to Belize International Airport.

Belize is a year around destination.

Edward Wilson is a well-known travel journalist. He has written fascinating articles extensively on Belize vacation rentals and Belize islands have been admired on various online platforms.

 

Learn more about Belize by visiting our other Belize Pages:

Belize National Parks
Belize City Places of Interest
Scuba Diving in Belize
An Introduction to Belize Adventure

 

 

 

 

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Last modified: March 10, 2009