5 of Belize’s Most Fascinating Mayan Ruins
The Most Beautiful Ancient Mayan Temples to Visit in Belize
From 2500 BCE to 1697 CE, Mesoamerica was home to an advanced civilization known as the Maya. Constructors of pyramids that rival those of even Egypt, this civilization flourished up until a combination of disease, drought and colonization caused them to vanish. Luckily, traces of their culture still survive in the form of the architectural marvels they left behind.
Here are 5 of these ancient wonders we recommend you visit on your Belize vacation:
Mayan for “stone woman”, this site earned its name from a purported ghost that appears at one of the pyramids. True or not, this location right outside of San Ignacio in the Cayo District was a major ceremonial centerpiece from about 300 to 900 CE.
This is the largest Mayan city in Belize, stretching along the western edge of the Maya Mountains within the famous Chiquibul Forest Preserve. Discovered in 1938, it also houses the country’s largest structure. Known as Canaa, or “Sky Palace”, it measures over 140 feet high.
Settled around 1200 BCE and abandoned around 800 to 900 CE, Cahal Pech, or “the place of the ticks”, is believed to be one of the oldest of the Mayan ruins in Western Belize. Located just outside of San Ignacio Town, the findings of human remains suggest the town followed the ritualistic sacrificial practices so common to the Mayan culture.
Merely 30 minutes outside of Belize City, Altun Ha is one of the most popular ancient Mayan cities to visit. It was named “rockstone water” after the name of the nearby village. It is believed to have been founded about 2000 BCE and reached a population of over 10,000 during its most prosperous years.
“Submerged crocodile” rests in the north of Belize and was a prominent site for the Maya from the 4th Century BCE to the 1st Century CE. It was one of the few Mayan cities to remain occupied up until the Spanish conquest in the 1600s. It is most famous for its collection of distinctively different temples.