Top Tourist Attractions In Belize

Included among the top tourist attractions in Belize are five Mayan ruins. Namely they are Altun Ha, Caracol, Lamanai, Lubaantun, and Xunantunich. Belize is one of the many countries in Central America where Mayans burgeoned for centuries. Upon their departure, they left behind remnants of their glorious past. Belize shares its western border with Guatemala.

Temple of the Masonry Altars, Altun Ha

Temple of the Masonry Altars, Altun Ha

Altun Ha

The ancient Mayan city located 30 miles north of Belize City. Excavation of the site lasted throughout 1965 to 1970. One of the greatest discoveries in the area is Kinich Ahau or the Jade Head of Belize. The iconic relic is even featured on most of the country’s banknotes.

Caracol

The ruins are located within Cayo District of Belize. The Mayan ruins of Caracol are expansive and equally impressive. They stand on Vaca Plateau which is about 500 meters above sea level. It had regional political power over the Maya Lowlands during the Classic period. Now, it’s one of the top tourist attractions in Belize.

Lamanai

It hasn’t been completely uncovered by archeologists. Still, this doesn’t stop people from visiting it. Tourists can reach Lamanai by going up the New River. Boat rides and cruise trips are available. While traveling upriver, you can see local wildlife including howler monkeys, some exotic birds, and Morelet’s crocodiles. Native people still living in the area may also be spotted. Further up the river are some Mennonite villages which have been around since the 1700s.

By the time you reach Lamanai, don’t forget to drop by El Castillo. You can climb the 100-foot pyramid to get breathtaking views of surrounding jungles. The temples also have carvings of crocodiles and jaguars that are worth checking out.

Lubaantun

The ruins date back to the Late Classic Maya period. Lubaantun which means “the place of the fallen stones” is located near San Pedro Columbia. The site features a unique construction method. If you take a closer look at the limestone and sandstone bricks used to build courts and temples, they have this curved notch. Lubaantun is also known for its stepped architecture, ballcourts, and ceramic whistle figurines. It was also believed that this was where Mitchell-Hedge’s crystal skull was discovered.

"El Castillo" at Xuanantunich

“El Castillo” at Xuanantunich

Xunantunich

Last but not the least is the Xunantunich ruins in Cayo Province. The site dates back to the 9th century and one of the top tourist attractions in Belize. The ancient structures are divided into six groups. Much like the Lamanai ruins, the tallest structure in the area is called El Castillo. It stands 40 meters tall and provides great views of the jungle and ruins.

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