If you are planning a holiday to Belize, you will probably want to work some time into your schedule to visit one of the many Mayan ruins in this beautiful country. Often nestled away from the cities, surrounded by beautiful jungle and languid trails, they are a great way to steal away from the bustle of the cities and see the natural beauty of the country, as well as learn about its history. Here are just five of the most beautiful Mayan ruins in Belize:
- Xunantunich – Almost universally, this beautiful set of ruins is believed to be one of the best in the country. The name means “stone woman” in the Mayan language, and is only a short trip from San Jose Succotz. Though relatively small, it has some of the best-preserved carvings in the world. The site itself is extremely visitor-friendly and provides lots of opportunities to marvel at the architecture and grandeur of the place.
- Caracol – Unlike many of the ruins in Belize, this temple is still largely intact, right down to the long stair cases up to the grassy plaza atop the temple. While there is a bit of a hike up to this site, it is well worth the time and the effort, especially considering the view from the top. Surrounded by jungle, it is one of the largest preserved Mayan sites in the world.
- Cerro Maya – Near the ocean, this trading center was once the most important in the Mayan civilization. Located between Corocal and Chetumal Bay, part of the area is now underwater. The rest is a bright, white site with plenty to explore.
- Lubaantun – This is one of the most unique Mayan ruin sites available to the public. It was once used for ceremonies and features pyramids of stacked stones. Each pyramid was topped with a building that has since rotted away. The interesting architecture and history behind this site definitely make it worth a visit.
- Tikal – Just inside Belize, right beside the Guatemalan border, is Tikal. While it might not be the largest site, it is definitely one of the grandest, with exquisitely preserved temples, cloaked in beautiful rainforest. It’s a great place for seeing howler monkeys, as well for exploring the ancient civilization and learning about their customs and traditions.