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Mayan Sites of Belize

Belize is home to over 600 ancient Mayan sites. Archaeologists believe that Belize was at one time the center of the lowland Mayan Empire, it is entirely possible that at the time of Christ, two thousand years ago a million people  could have been living in what is present day Belize.

Many of these sites still remain unexplored and buried.  They range from small mounds to ceremonial caves which are still being discovered to this day.  Of the sites that have been discovered, here is a list of the major ones that travelers can visit today. 
  • Actun Tunichil Muknal
  • Altun Ha
  • Baking Pot
  • Barton Creek Cave
  • Cahal Pech
  • Caracol
  • Cerros
  • Chaa Creek
  • Colha
  • Cuello
  • El Pilar
  • Ka'Kabish
  • K'axob
  • La Milpa
  • Lamanai
  • Louisville
  • Lubaantun
  • Marco Gonzalez
  • Nim Li Punit
  • Nohmul
  • Nohoch Che'en
  • Pusilha
  • San Estevan
  • Santa Rita Corozal
  • Tipu
  • Uxbenka
  • Xnaheb
  • Xunantunich
OF THESE ARCHaEOLOGICAL SITES, THE MOST IMPRESSIVE ONES TO SEE ON YOUR HOLIDAY INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:
  • Actun Tunichil Muknal
    • Archaeological Cave of great significance.  Many artifacts remain, most famously the "crystal maiden" anongst other remains of sacrifice.
  • Altun Ha
    • The closest, and most accessible Mayan ruin site from Belize City.  The famous "Jade head" was discovered at the site, but now remains in the national archives in Belize City.
  • Cahal Pech
    • The closest site to the town of San Ignacio.  A short (but steep) walk from town, you can walk to the site from the downtown core.
  • Caracol
    • Rumored to be the largest site in Belize, it still remains largely unexcavated.  Its remote setting in the Chicibul Rainforest Reserve makes it one of the more adventurous sites to explore and one of the most popular day trips from San Ignacio.
  • Cerros
    • One of Belize's northernmost sites, there is an impressive relief that has been restored, overlooking the bay of Chetemal.
  • Lamanai
    • One of the most interesting sites in Belize, it was occupied for the greatest length of history.  Lamani is both an ancient Mayan and colonial history site, making it a fascinating day trip. The ruins can be accessed by road, or by taking the more popular river trip down the New River to the banks of the New River lagoon, which sits beneath the site.
  • Lubaantun
    • Meaning "Place of fallen stones", the name reflects that many of the large stones where cut to fit one another, rather than mortared together.  The site is also famous for its large collection of ceramic objects or charms that were found on the site.  It's most infamous find was the Mitchell-Hedges Crystal Skull, which has drawn much controversy on whether it was actually found on the site.
  • Nim Li Punit
    • Is a medium sized site, which has several pyramid structures.  The site's most interesting artifacts include a range of stellae, which remain in both finished and unfinished states.  
  • Xunantunich
    • Is the closest site to the Guatemalan border, and has the second largest pyramid in Belize (next to Caracol).  El Castillo, has been refurbished with a very impressive relief carving, which appears in many photos of Mayan sites of Belize.  Translated into the "stone woman", the name is rumored to be after a ghost that has been seen on the site.