Nim Li Punit
Hats Off to Nim Li Punit Mayan Ruins
Belize’s Nim Li Punit is a little Mayan ruin with a big name that means “The Big Hat,” and it’s well worth the trip to see this bit of history for yourself. The ruin is large enough to impress at 121+ acres, and important enough to be called Belize’s stelae capitol thanks to 26 of these monuments, eight of which have been carved to pay tribute to gods and heroes. Why the name Big Hat? Because the longest stelae in the plaza depicts a figure wearing a hat, of course.
Nim Li Punit
Just because stelae is this ruin’s main attraction, that doesn’t mean you won’t find other wonders. In addition to the 26 monoliths, a huge sandstone structure rises around 40 feet into the air and beneath that, two other plazas and a ball court sprawl across the compound. Even the location is exotic: it sits high atop a Maya Mountain ridge in southern Belize, and was once an important ceremonial and ritual center as well as a village that was home to up to 7,000 Mayans at one time.
Why you should visit Nim Li Punit
In addition to seeing the stela, you’ll be impressed by two concrete buildings that serve as visitor’s centers/museums housing precious artifacts and relics. The architecture is worth mentioning: it’s constructed of huge stones, iron railings and glass-paneled wood entry doors, so there’s plenty of harmony between the interior and exterior where jungle and coastal plain provide a fitting setting. Inside, colorful wall displays filled with data and artifacts describe the clothing, cultural history, diet, language, religion and other information about residents over time, so you’ve an accurate picture of thousands of years of history.
Where in Belize is it located?
In the southern area of Belize within the Toledo District.
When is the best time to go?
See Nim Li Punit any time you like since so much Mayan history is housed within the two buildings. At the site itself, the right footwear and a light poncho may be all you need to tour the compound if it rains.
Best way to get to here
Travel the Southern Highway north 25 miles from Punta Gorda, or start your trip in Belmopan and drive 45 miles along the Hummingbird Highway to the Southern Highway exit, then another 50 miles to reach Indian Creek Village. That stated, the very best way to visit Nim Li Punit is to book a tour with your resort hosts so all of these details are sorted by the experts.
Best way to experience Nim Li Punit
Take everything in when you get here! The Maya Mountains. The far-off Caribbean Sea. The visitors centers and the compound itself. Roam emerald moss and thick forest. Bring a picnic so you’re fortified to tour all three groups of ruins: south, east and west. The south group gives you a look at how Mayan royalty lived and died, and that stela plaza is close by. The ball court separates south and east complexes, giving visitors chances to imagine games once staged here. Experts believe that east group buildings served as an observatory from which celestial bodies were observed. Bring your imagination when you visit and you’ll be doubly rewarded!