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Xunantunich

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Xunantunich San Jose Succotz  Belize
Xunantunich San Jose Succotz  Belize
Explore Mayan Sites  San Jose Succotz  Belize
Xunantunich San Jose Succotz  Belize
Exploring Mayan sites in Belize, Central America San Jose Succotz  Belize
Exploring Mayan sites in Belize, Central America San Jose Succotz  Belize
Mayan Ruins San Jose Succotz  Belize
Zunantunich ruins San Jose Succotz  Belize
Mayan Meditation San Jose Succotz  Belize
Xunantunich San Jose Succotz  Belize
Xunantunich San Jose Succotz  Belize
Explore Mayan Sites  San Jose Succotz  Belize
Xunantunich San Jose Succotz  Belize
Exploring Mayan sites in Belize, Central America San Jose Succotz  Belize
Exploring Mayan sites in Belize, Central America San Jose Succotz  Belize
Mayan Ruins San Jose Succotz  Belize
Zunantunich ruins San Jose Succotz  Belize
Mayan Meditation San Jose Succotz  Belize
Xunantunich
The Cayo District is home to many of Belize’s ancient Maya sites, including one of the largest, Xunantunich. Located atop a ridge near the Mopan River and the Guatemala border, Xunantunich’s "El Castillo," the main pyramid, is certainly the most impressive. Visitors who brave the steep steps to the top are rewarded with unsurpassed views into Guatemala and neighboring areas of Belize. While the climb up can be pretty steep and rough, there are other routes to get down along the backside that make the descent a little easier. It took me multiple visits to finally gather the courage to climb to the top, but I’m grateful I did, as the views were absolutely worth it! Organized tours to Xunantunich often combine with other activities like zip-lining, cave tubing, or even trips to the Belize Zoo. Travelers who wish to explore all of Xunantunich’s six plazas, which contain more than 26 temples and palaces, should plan to book a private tour or visit on their own.

Explore Mayan Sites
Dive into history at some of the country’s many Mayan archaeological sites. Among the best known are Xunantunich and Caracol, where you can wander through ancient plazas, palaces, and temples. Climb steep stone staircases to reach new heights at structures such as Caracol’s Caana (meaning “sky palace”), which is 141 feet high. El Castillo at Xunantunich is a close second in terms of height, at 130 feet. Each visit feels like a time capsule, as the earliest records indicate the Maya were living in Belize as early as 2500 b.c.e., with the civilization reaching its height between 250 and 1000 c.e. It’s best to head to these sites with a tour company that provides transportation and a guide such as S&L Travel and Tours. To learn more about the many adventures waiting in the seven regions of Belize, visit travelbelize.org.

Xunantunich
This is a photo of my wife during our honeymoon. We were atop the main temple at Xunantunich archaeological site, near the Guatemalan border. Saw a double rainbow above the canopy as we climbed down.

Exploring Mayan sites in Belize, Central America
Belizean security atop El Castillo in Xunantunich, a Mayan site in the Cayo District. Tensions with Guatemala, whose border is clearly visible below, means protecting the surrounding rainforest from illegal logging.

Exploring Mayan sites in Belize, Central America
Belizean security atop El Castillo in Xunantunich, a Mayan site in the Cayo District. Tensions with Guatemala, whose border is clearly visible below, means protecting the surrounding rainforest from illegal logging.

Mayan Ruins
Super cool to take the many steps to the top of this ancient Mayan city, 6 miles from the Guatemala border.

Zunantunich ruins
Our day trip from Hopkins, Belize was filled with sights of villages, banana plantations, cities, and a very unique hand cranked car ferry at the Mopan River. At the ferry crossing you can find hand crafts ranging from stiched to carved pieces. The hand carved slate Mayan calendars are beautiful. Craftsmen (and women) carve or more accurately, scrape the reliefs into the slate with old pieces of saw blades. They are slightly polished and colored with shoe polish. Climbing to the top of the pyramids is not for the faint of heart - no guard rails and very steep! Once you are on top you can see all the way to Guatemala with jungle all around. The trip is a full day affair from Hopkins with plenty of photo opportunities. We highly recommend it. Jerry & Cheryl Rowe

Mayan Meditation
If one meditates atop a Mayan ruin, one is certain to ascertain magical, mystical and ancient powers. Cassidy on top of Xunantanich overlooking Guatemala and Belize.

Xunantunich Rd, San Jose Succotz, Belize