The Best Mayan Ruins in Belize
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The Best Mayan Ruins in BelizePosted on February 3. 2015
The young nation of Belize may have only gained independence in the 1950’s, but the history of its land is an ancient one. If you are interested in seeing a bit of this history firsthand, the best way to do so is by visiting some of the Mayan ruins in Belize on your next Caribbean vacation. The land that became Belize was home to millions of Mayan peoples, and exploring the Mayan ruins is a fascinating way to spend a day or two and helps to bring a perfect balance to the fun-in-the-sun days the rest of your holiday in Belize is sure to be chock-full of. All of the Mayan ruins in Belize are definitely worth visiting, but these are our favorites.
A ideal Belize Mayan Ruin to visit first, Cerro Maya is often compared to the famous Mexican Mayan ruins of Tulum. Cerro Maya is not quite as big as Tulum, but it is located near the beach and offers a stunning backdrop of teal blue waves. Like Tulum, Cerro Maya was a powerful trading town along the coast, and a trip to the top of the ruins offers a sweeping view of Corozal Town located along the coast.
The biggest of all the Mayan ruins, Caracol is located near the border with Guatemala, and is with the jewel of Belize’s Mayan crown. Caracol is famous for the Sky Palace, which is the the tallest Mayan structure anywhere in Belize. What makes Caracol unique is the fact that it is almost as well known for what hasn’t been discovered there yet. Huge swaths of Caracol are still covered by jungle, with new discoveries being made all the time, and if you are lucky maybe there will be one on the day you visit.
Meaning “stone woman” in Mayan, Xunantunich is located atop a grassy panoramic hill, and is easily accessible by the rustic hand-cranked ferry located on site. El Castillo is without a doubt a highlight of this ruin, and until Caracol was discovered, it was the tallest part of any Mayan site in Belize. El Castillo soars 130 feet above the ground and offers breathtaking views of the entire area.
Most well known for being the longest occupied Belize Mayan ruin, Lamanai was home to Mayans from 500 B.C.all the way into the 1800’s. This unique history offers visitors a chance to see how life changed throughout the century, especially when Mayans came into contact with explorers and missionaries from the Old World. These ruins are known to take the breath away from a first-time perspective as they leap out at you from the dense jungle they are hidden in. It is recommended to arrive at Lamanai by jungle cruise to get the full experience.
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