If you are a cave or archaeology enthusiast and you are staying in Placencia Village and do not want to leave the Peninsula, then you must explore any or all of the following full day tours:
Photo by Richard Seaman
Nim Li Punit is a small site in the Toledo District and is situated on a ridge in the foothills of the Maya Mountains just off the Southern Highway, 25 miles north of Punta Gorda.
The site is regarded as a ceremonial center consisting of two plazas, one higher than the other, and 25 stelae of which 8 are carved. The largest structure is 33-40 feet above the plaza level and is constructed of dry, sandstone typical of sites in southern Belize.
Lubaantun is a Late Classic Maya site near the village of San Pedro Columbia in the midst of the Rio Grande and San Antonio Indian Reservations. Lubaantun means the Place of Fallen Stones and is one of the largest Maya site in Belize.
It is also the only known Mayan settlement in Belize in which the buildings were constructed with limestone blocks with no visible mortar binding them together.
The Maya name for the Blue Creek is “Hokeb Ha,” or “Where the water enters the earth”. Blue Creek is an extremely large cave that begins near the village of Santa Cruz, where the river rushes under ground, resurfacing five mile later near the village of Blue Creek. The cave is classified as a wet cave with dry routes.
Actun Tunichil Muknal or (Cave of the Crystal Sepulchre) was a sacred place to the prehistoric Maya of Belize, who first began to conduct their ceremonies during the later terminal classic period (700-900AD). The cave was named after the sacrificial chamber within the cave where the most famous of the human remains, known as “The Crystal Maiden” was found. This is a skeleton of a teenage girl, probably a sacrifice victim, whose bones have been completely covered by the natural processes of the cave, leaving them with a sparkling appearance.
Xunantunich is located at San Jose Succotz Village in the Cayo District, eight miles west of San Ignacio Town. Here we begin the first leg of our tour with a knowledgeable local tour guide. Xunantunich was a major ceremonial center during the Classic Period (300-900 AD). The site is composed of six major plazas, surrounded by more than twenty-five temples and palaces. The most prominent structure located at the south end of the site is the pyramid “El Castillo”(The Castle) which is 130 feet high above the plaza. This was the tallest man-made structure in all of Belize, until the discovery of “Caana” at Caracol. The most notable feature on “El Castillo” is located on the east side of the lower temple. There you will find a reconstructed frieze, a banded stucco decoration, which at one time extended around the entire pyramid.
Cahal Pech Maya Ruins
Even from its perch high up on a hill, Cahal Pech lives in the shadow of its more impressive neighbors, Caracol, Xunantunich and Tikal. Cahal Pech — which unflatteringly means “Place of the Ticks” in Yucatec and Mopan Mayan — sits on the outskirts of San Ignacio, a popular base for those exploring Maya ruins. Under the cover of an encroaching jungle, visitors can get a glimpse of how the upper crust lived in Maya times through the site’s palace structures. The site is also home to a nice example of a Maya ball court.
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