Xunantunich Archaeological Site

Category
Attraction
Type of Attraction
Archaeological Site, Landmark
District/Region
Cayo
Description
Highlights
  • Hiking
  • Ferry
  • Largest Tomb in Belize
  • Scenic Views
About Location
Xunantunich, roughly translated as "Maiden of the Rock" or "Stone Woman" from the Yucatec Maya language, is an astonishing temple constructed by the ancient Mayas. It was an important ceremonial centre built around AD 600 near the end of the Maya Late Classic Period. Located in western Belize on the George Price Highway, eager visitors must first travel on a ferry across the river to view the amazing structure.
 
Features:
Phone Service, Parking
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Available Listings
$
140
/ Person
Departs From:
Hopkins
Xunantunich means the “Stone Maiden” in the Maya language. Since 1892, numerous people have claimed to have seen a ghost here, dressed completely in white with red glowing eyes. Ongoing ... moreexcavations have revealed that the Xunantunich Mayan ruins in Belize probably played an important role in the political power struggle of the Classical period. It seems likely that it joined in an alliance with Caracol & Calakmul in Mexico to bring down Tikal in Guatemala. Xunantunich stands on a flattened hilltop, overlooking the Mopan River in Belize. There are 5 plazas on site, which were once part of this Maya civic ceremonial center. However they are completely overshadowed by the towering El Castillo or The Castle – it’s what makes the Xunantunich Mayan ruins in San Ignacio one of the top destinations in Belize.
$
185
/ Person
Departs From:
Belize City
Start your day Experiencing chocolate making in the most natural and hands-on way. Roasted cacao beans will be grinded into a paste using the traditional tools: mano and matate, then ... moremade into a beverage with added cinnamon, chili, honey, and spice. Sample freshly harvested beans and Belizean made dark chocolate, then take home a paste of your own to create your own recipe. This unique experience is followed by a Visit to the Mayan city of Xunantunich where you get to Climb the second largest Mayan temple in Belize “El Castillo” standing at 137ft off the ground and take in the exciting view off all the other temples that sits below it. Let your guide explain the meaning of the stacco decoration displaying the Sun God flanked by signs of the moon, venus and different days located on the side of El Castillo. Your guide will them take you to enjoy a hot Belizean lunch and a drive through one of the most beautiful parts of the country as you make your way to the cave tubing site. A small hike through the rainforest leads you to a beautiful lazy river where your relaxing cave tubing adventure will begin. Relax as your guide takes through a sacred cave system then on to an open river where the kiss of the sun will simply complete your day as it comes to an end.
$
145
/ Person
Departs From:
Belize City
Climb the second largest Mayan temple in Belize “El Castillo” standing at 137ft off the ground and take in the exciting view of all the other temples that sits below it. Let your guide ... moreexplain the significance of the stacco decoration displaying the Sun God flanked by signs of the moon, venus and different days located on the side of El Castillo. Enjoy a lovely Belizean lunch, but be sure they left space for what’s coming next! Experience chocolate making in the most natural and hands-on way. Roasted cacao beans will be grinded into a paste using the traditional tools: mano and matate, then made into a beverage with added cinnamon, chili, honey, and spice. Sample freshly harvested beans and Belizean made dark chocolate, then take home a paste of your own to create your own recipe.
$
130
/ Person
Departs From:
Placencia
Provider:
As we embark on this 100-mile drive through the hills of the country, you’ll encounter a breathtaking view of the mountains as we make our way to the Western Highway. We’ll pass Maya ... moreand Mestizo communities with their beautifully maintained farmlands and cattle farms.

Once we come to the banks of the Mopan River, we will cross on a hand-operated ferry before arriving across grassy plazas, where you will marvel at the architecture of El Castillo, one of the largest Maya Temples of Belize, and the largest structure at Xunantunich. El Castillo stands 130 feet above plaza level, with its reconstructed East and West friezes representing Gods of the Maya and several inner chambers. We’ll also move through other temples and courtyards where kings, queens and their elite carried out special ceremonies. Xunantunich has an excellent display center at the site, and you will have a chance to climb the “stairway to heaven” on El Castillo. This vantage point provides a breathtaking panoramic view of surrounding rivers and towns as well as Guatemala. After the tour, we enjoy a nice meal at a local restaurant in the town of San Ignacio. We make a stop on the way back on the Hummingbird Highway at St Herman Blue Hole for its natural turquoise pool surrounding by mosses and lush vegetation the perfect spot for an afternoon swim.
$
225
/ Person
Departs From:
Placencia
Provider:
As we embark on this 100-mile drive through the hills of the country, you’ll encounter a breathtaking view of the mountains as we make our way to the Western Highway. Once we come ... moreto the banks of the Mopan River, we will cross on a hand-operated ferry before arriving across grassy plazas, where you explore the architecture of Xunantunich, at its highest point (130ft) it provides a breathtaking panoramic view of surrounding rivers and towns as well as Guatemala. After exploring the ruins we drive to Franks Eddie where we will immediately have lunch, next we gear up and hike 20 minutes (1 WAY ONLY) through the lush rain forest with running streams rich tropical plants and wild diverse wildlife. Arriving, you then descend down below the surface of the earth to Xibalba – the sacred world of caves. There you will begin to explore the mystery of caves and the Maya ritual ceremonies on floating tubes and meander through the cool waters of these Maya caverns with hidden pottery, glittering rim stone dams, waterfall all at your suspense.
$
175
/ Person
Departs From:
Placencia
Provider:
This is Belize’s two most popular attraction combined in ONE fantastic package. Enjoy a full day of hiking, floating, and being immersed in Mayan history.... more

We will visit one of the most impressive Mayan Ruins in Belize, Xunantunich! After your guided excursion of The Ruins, enjoy A local lunch before gearing and head for a 10-25 minutes hike to the caves for a tube ride that will awaken your sense of excitement. Float through mysterious limestone archways beckoning you into the mouths of centuries-old caves, holding untold stories of Maya rituals. Explore the many breathtaking formations designed by only nature and learn about the ancient rituals and ceremonies that are a part of their mystique and magic.
$
185
/ Person
Departs From:
Belize City
Start your fun-filled day climbing the second largest Mayan temple in Belize “El Castillo” standing at 137ft off the ground and take in the exciting view off all the other temples ... morethat sits below it. Let your guide explain the meaning of the stacco decoration displaying the Sun God flanked by signs of the moon, venus and different days located on the side of El Castillo. This adventure is followed by a hot Belizean lunch and a drive through one of the most beautiful parts of the country as you make your way to the cave tubing and zip line site. Make your way through the lush green forest to the platform where you will be safely strapped into a seating harness and fasten to the transverse lines. 6 Lines extending from 400ft to as long as 1,000ft through the rainforest and across open rivers will definitely leave your mind blown. A small hike through the rainforest will take you to a beautiful lazy river where your relaxing cave tubing adventure will begin. Relax as your guide takes through a sacred cave system then on to an open river where the kiss of the sun will simply complete your day as it comes to an end. 

Kids Must be 40" or older for Cave Tubing
$
140
/ Person
Departs From:
Belize City
Climb the second largest Mayan temple in Belize “El Castillo” standing at 137ft off the ground and take in the exciting view off all the other temples that sits below it. Let your ... moreguide explain the meaning of the stacco decoration displaying the Sun God flanked by signs of the moon, venus and different days located on the side of El Castillo. This adventure is followed by a drive through one of the most beautiful parts of Belize as you make your way to the cave tubing site, after a delicious Belizean lunch of course! A small hike through the rainforest will take you to a beautiful lazy river where your relaxing cave tubing adventure will begin. Relax as your guide takes through a sacred cave system then on to an open river where the kiss of the sun will simply complete your day as it comes to an end.
$
225
/ Adult
Departs From:
Hopkins
You will be picked up in Hopkins and head to Xunantunich with a local guide. The site was a major ceremonial center for the ancient Maya, and it was the first Mayan site in Belize ... moreto be open to the public in 1954. From the top of Xunantunich, you will get a spectacular panoramic view of the Cayo District and across the border in Guatemala.

Getting to Xunantunich includes riding a hand-cranked ferry to cross the majestic Mopan River.

After exploring Xunantunich and having lunch ( not included in the price), you will head to the Belize Caves. Heres where you start with a hike through the exotic rainforest to the mouth of the cave. The view is stunning as you float away from the cave entrance to your inner tube with only your headlamp to lead the way.

Afterward, you will return to your hotel.
$
80
-
$
100
/ Adult
Departs From:
Belize City
Your destination Xunantunich lays some 70 miles on paved highway takes 1hour and 45min. to reach the site, east of Belize City, among the northern foothills of the Maya Mountain Range. ... moreAlong the way, one gets to enjoy a detailed history of our country and the Maya Civilization while passing through the many villages along the Western Highway. This journey takes us to the twin towns of Santa Elena and San Ignacio, then onto the village of San Jose Succots where we will be crossing a river on a hand-cranked ferry.

Xunantunich’s name means “Stone Woman” in the Maya language (Mopan and Yucatec combination name), and, like many names given to Maya archaeological sites, is a modern name; the ancient name is currently unknown. The “Stone Woman” refers to the ghost of a woman claimed by several people to inhabit the site, beginning in 1892. She is dressed completely in white and has fire-red glowing eyes. She generally appears in front of “El Castillo”, ascends the stone stairs, and disappears into a stone wall.
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