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Caracol

Caracol in Progress
My favorite ruins in Caracol were not necessarily the most grandiose, but the ones least excavated so it felt like you were discovering it yourself.

Encountering Caracol
The massive ruins of Caracol were once a major Maya metropolis in prehispanic Belize, during the Classic Period. The majority of the site is yet to be reclaimed from the forest, but the structures that have been uncovered are truly impressive. The main structure is still the tallest building in all of Belize and places you "on top of the world." The jungle surrounding the site is teaming with wildlife, and a pair of binoculars come in handy. The ruins are located south of San Ignacio along the rough Mountain Pine Ridge Road. There are several worthwhile stops on the way, such as Rio Frio Cave and Rio On Falls, but the best stop is a cool libation at the Blancaneaux Lodge Bar.

Dawn of a New Era: Solstice Sunrise from Caana
Caana, or Sky Temple, at Caracol archaeological site in western Belize, is one of the largest, most impressive pyramids in the Maya world. Even more than a thousand years after it was built, Caana remains the tallest manmade structure in all of Belize. Caracol is located at the end of a long, red-clay road near the Guatemalan border. On December 21, 2012, the Belize Institute of Archaeology issued special camping permits and off-hours access to travelers. The reason? 13 b’aktun: the completion of the Maya Long Count calendar.

A Night on Sky Temple: Honoring the Long Count at Caracol
The black sky sparkles with white-diamond stars, splashed across the universe above me.

I’m lying on my back atop Caana, or Sky Temple, one of the largest, most impressive pyramids in the Maya world — on one of the most important dates in Maya history: 13 b’aktun....

Have the grounds to yourselves!
It's a 2-hour drive on a bumpy dirt road to get to Caracol--but that's what makes it so worth it! Not many people are willing to take that drive so you virtually have the ruins to yourself. In our case, only an archeological team and military guards were at the site with us. Climb to the top of as many ruins as you can and then just listen. If you're lucky, the howler monkeys will scream for you, making your visit even more other-worldly!

Chiquibil Forest Reserve, Belize
+501 822-2106
Sun - Sat 6am - 6pm