Altun Ha Mayan Ruins

altun ha belize maya ruins

Altun Ha Mayan Ruins: Where the Rich and Famous Once Lived

Altun Ha–Mayan for “Rockstone Pond”—is situated amid one of the richest wildlife areas in Belize, so if you’re eager to spot critters in addition to spectacular ruins, come for the bats, foxes, white-tail deer, tapir, armadillos and ancient buildings. This site is composed of 44 acres of archaeological history. First settled around 250 BC, Altun Ha is a relative newcomer when compared to other Belize ruins that harken back to 1000 BC, but it’s so unique, it’s well worth touring this place. Over 200 species of birds also call the area home, so don’t forget to look up when you visit.

Altun Ha Mayan Ruins

Among outstanding features of this former ceremonial center frequented by wealthy, powerful Mayans are two main plazas and 13 structures including the Temple of Masonry Altars. If engineering impresses you, check out the Maya-constructed water reservoir where crocodiles hang out these days. Once a project that provided settlement water, you may wonder how rain collected here instead of leaching or leaking away. Engineers used yellow clay to seal the ground so water couldn’t escape–yet another testament to Mayan ingenuity.

Why you should visit Altun Ha

Aside from seeing the aforementioned plazas, structures and water retention pond that gave this settlement its name, Altun Ha is a relatively “new” community, so you can compare the architecture, symbolism and progress to others and figure out what separates this era and place from them. Since Altun Ha is close to the Caribbean Sea, topography is different from remote ruins, likely a reason the rich and famous gathered here along a chain of cultural zones that drew Mayan elite. Because prominent people flocked here, area tombs were filled with exotic goods so they could live large in the afterlife.

Where in Belize is it located?

Altun Ha is situated 31 miles north of Belize City along the Old Northern Highway and about 6 miles west of the Caribbean Sea shoreline. If you drive, travel half an hour past Sandhill Village and two miles down Rockstone Pond Road toward the reserve. This two miles isn’t paved, so prepare for a bumpy ride.

When is the best time to visit?

Altun Ha is open year-round and like all open air sites, you’ll be exposed to that season’s weather fluctuations. Take advantage of lower accommodation, airfare and attraction prices during low season and you’ll not only come away from Altun Ha filled with wonder, but your wallet won’t be empty.

Best way to get here

Is your vehicle designed to traverse unpaved road? You’re ready for the trip. On the other hand, you can emulate the lifestyle of the wealthy inhabitants of Altun Ha by letting someone else drive you here. Tour companies, private contractors and resort staff are happy to arrange formal tours that include transport, though budget-minded tourists who don’t mind a two-mile walk can catch a daily bus from Belize City, get off at Lucky Strike village and follow signs to Altun Ha.

Best way to experience Altun Ha Mayan Ruins

A guidebook describing the history, society and lifestyle of Mayans occupying this community from 250 BC forward offers a great foundation for your visit because you’ll understand what you’re seeing as you stroll this site. Imagine this area at its zenith when 10,000 Mayans roamed this community, and learn more about geographic proximity that made it a thriving trading stop where jade, obsidian, flints and skins were commercially exchanged. The temples and tombs—especially the mysterious Temple of the Green Tomb—are fascinating. Wear comfy shoes to climb the single stairway to the top of the Temple of Masonry Altars where community rituals were held, but if you stand in awe of artistic mastery, seeing the jade head of Kinich Ahau the Sun God may thrill you most of all.

Interested in visiting Altun Ha Mayan Ruins on your Belize Vacation? Contact us and we will recommend you with the best tour company in Belize to do this tour.

Top Places to Stay in Belize

Belize Tour Companies and Travel Agents

Belize Real Estate Opportunities

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:
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:
Read More
April 7, 2018

12 Things to Know When You Cruise to Belize

Excited about your cruise to Belize? Well, you should be. Belize cruise port is a growing attraction among cruise-goers with...
Read More
1 2 3 15




Welcome! Login in to your account

Remember me Lost your password?

Don't have account. Register

Lost Password


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!

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