A Mayan marvel in Belize’s jungle

Photo by Nine Belize Eco Cultural Tours

It’s not as famous as Mexico’s Chichen Itza. It’s not as tall as Guatemala’s Tikal.

But here in western Belize, the Xunantunich Mayan ruins will make your jaw drop.

And maybe your palms sweat.

Pronounced shoe-NAN-to-nitch (or as some tourists mangle it, Tuna Sandwich) its name means “stone maiden.” The dominant structure, El Castillo, is notable not only for its elegant friezes of hieroglyphs depicting rulers and gods, but for the fact that visitors can still climb to the top of the 130-foot temple, if they dare.

Unlike at Mexico’s Chichen Itza, which was closed to climbers in 2006 after a woman fell to her death, Xunantunich’s climb is done in bits and pieces, with plenty of flat places to stop — and even a handrail staircase for the final descent.

Still, it’s not for everyone.

“I’m afraid of heights,” one tour guide confessed as he stood in the shade on a plaza halfway up, watching the rest of his group ascend to the very top. “The view is still good from here.”

Reached independently by car or as a day-trip excursion for cruise ships docked in Belize City, Xunantunich is one of Belize’s top attractions, although many Americans have never heard of it.

The entrance near the village of San José Succotz is surrounded by small shopping kiosks selling crafts and textiles. From there, every person, vehicle and animal must cross the Mopan River on a hand-cranked ferry to enter the park.

Then it is a 1-mile uphill trudge to the visitors plaza (or a swift ride in a minibus, welcome in this humid climate where the average temperature is 88 degrees.)

From there, you walk a bit farther, past a gift shop, a new visitors center that opened in March, groves of allspice trees, then onto a grass-covered plaza and the striking sight of El Castillo.

In Xunantunich’s heyday, roughly 600 to 900 AD, “the walls would have been whitewashed plaster and almost certainly painted,” says Jason Yaeger, a University of Texas at San Antonio professor of anthropology, who has spent every summer for 23 years in and around Xunantunich. The site spreads out with 26 structures and multiple plazas, many still uncovered.

Read more: http://seattletimes.com/

Top Places to Stay in Belize


Belize Tour Companies and Travel Agents

Belize Real Estate Opportunities






April 23, 2018

Belize’s Ka’ana Resort offers a unique package to ancient Mayan ruins

BELIZE AND GUATEMALA:  Somehow nature always finds a way. Probing dense jungle in northern Guatemala, researchers have discovered an ancient...
Read More
April 20, 2018

Marriott Hotels to debut in Belize with a 203-key oceanfront property

ECI Development today announced plans to introduce the Marriott Hotels’ namesake brand to Belize with a project designed for customers...
Read More
April 15, 2018

7 beautifully convincing reasons why Belize should be your next destination

Perched on the eastern coast of Central America, with beautiful Caribbean Sea shorelines to the east and dense lush jungle...
Read More
April 14, 2018

Belize Tourism Arrivals Continue to Set Unprecedented Records

Belize City, Wednesday, 11th April 2018: The latest tourism statistics for the first quarter of 2018 indicate that Belize’s popularity...
Read More
April 14, 2018

Want to go to Belize? What? Sure!

This was the actual conversation that started the journey for this green commercial pilot. Read more: https://airfactsjournal.com/2018/04/want-to-go-to-belize-what-sure/
Read More
April 13, 2018

Four Seasons Announces New Island Resort in Belize

This spring, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts announced plans for the development of Caye Chapel, a private island that’s right...
Read More
April 13, 2018

Why is Belize considered a Caribbean country?

Aside from geography as pointed out by Shaun, the more important reason for why we are considered a part of...
Read More
April 11, 2018

Cayo Espanto, Private Island Resort in Belize Offers One Free Day In Paradise

Celebrating 20 years of providing an unforgettable experience for every guest,  Cayo Espanto, the private island resort that has redefined...
Read More
April 11, 2018

10 unforgettable things to do in the “forgotten” district of Toledo, Belize

There are 5 major Maya sites in the Toledo district and many others that remain unexcavated. Read more: https://www.tropicair.com/10-unforgettable-things-to-do-in-the-forgotten-district-of-toledo-belize/
Read More
1 2 3 15

Comments

comments

1 Comment

Leave a Comment

Login

Welcome! Login in to your account

Remember me Lost your password?

Don't have account. Register

Lost Password

Register

Close
Please support the site
By clicking any of these buttons you help our site to get better

Get E-mail Updates on Belize!

We will send you the latest information on Belize travel, vacation deals, places to stay, things to see and do and much more to your inbox daily. We promise to send you only the good stuff!

Sign up now and receive FREE information on Belize!
x

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe.

Banner-1