- Location:Belize, Central America.
- Attraction Type: Historical Site.
- Significance: It is the ruins of Maya civilization that to be one of the most endearing enigmas in human history.
- Best time to Visit: November to May. However, the summer months between June and October are quieter and a nice time to relax, and you also get better rates.
- How to Reach: Take a flight to the Goldson International Airport. It takes about two hours to reach Belize from Houston, Miami, and New Orleans. From there, plan your tour. All major tourist agencies in Belize provide great Mayan trails. You can hire or use local transportation if you want to explore the ruins on your own.
- Nearest International Airport: Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (BZE)
Mayan ruins of Belize include a number of historically significant pre-Columbian Maya archaeological sites and rightly Belize is called “the land of the Maya”. There are numerous magnificent Mayan ruin sites in Belize, in different states of excavation and restoration. Maya civilization continues to be one of the most endearing enigmas in human history. They communicated in elaborate hieroglyphs, invented the calendar with accuracy, discovered and ascertained the functional notation and determined the use of zero. Their astronomy reached a height barely surpassed in the ancient world. At the same time, they indulged in rampant human sacrifice, bloodletting, and torture to propitiate gods and ensure fertility and prosperity. Their rise is as sudden as mysterious as their fall was sudden. However, for about six centuries between 300 and 900 AD, the Maya civilization went from strength to strength, and Belize remained an important center of their activity and dissemination. In the “central lowlands” of western Belize and the Guatemalan Peten that the ancient Maya ruins grew during the Classic Period of its growth.
Famous Mayan ruins sites
Altun Ha: The site is famous for the invention of the largest Mayan jade carving ever found. Altun Ha, dating back to 600 B.C., was one of the principal Mayan towns until 900 A.D., the end of the Mayan era.
Caracol: Located near the border with Guatemala and within the Belizean part of the Peten rainforest in western Belize, Caracol is perhaps the most important Mayan ruins site. Caracol, a key player of the political struggles of the southern Maya lowlands in the Classic period and known for defeating and subjugating Tikal, was the heart of one of the largest Maya kingdoms.
Cerros: The site of Cerros, lying on Chetumal Bay in northern Belize, is noteworthy as one of the earliest Maya sites, reaching its apex during the Late Preclassic on Chetumal Bay and also for the presence of an E-Group, a unique structural complex of Maya architecture.
Lamanai: Lamanai, situated on the New River in Orange Walk District, is recognized for being the longest continually occupied site in Mesoamerica. The initial settlement of Lamanai took place during the Early Preclassic period and it was continuously occupied up to and through the colonization of the area. During the Spanish conquest of Yucatan, the conquistadores built a Roman Catholic Church at Lamanai, but a revolt by the native Maya pushed them away.
Nim Li Punit: Preliminary excavations at Nim Li Punit, located off the Southern Highway about 25 miles north of Punta Gorda Town, show that it was important during the Late Classic Period.
Santa Rita: The site, on which the town of Corozal is built, was signed during the Late Post-Classic Period and was inhabited up to the time of Spanish contact in the 1500s.
Xanantunich: Located in the beautiful Cayo district of western Belize and overlooking the magnificent Mopan River, Xanantunich was a key city that divided the Mayan Mountain of Belize from the Caribbean Sea. There is a majestic Mayan Temple which will guide you through centuries of history and to one of the most excellent models of Mayan architecture.
Apart from the above mentioned, some other Mayan archaeological sites located within Belize include Actun Tunichil Muknal, Cahal Pech, El Pilar, Louisville, Lubaantun, Nim Li Punit, San Estevan.
The vast majority of tourists who visit Belize come for a wonderful combination of scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, fishing, eco-tours or just relaxing in the midst of a gorgeous Caribbean setting and nearly all of them also have a chance to visit some of the fascinating archeological sites that were once home to the Maya civilization. A major portion of Belize’s history includes the Mayan ruins, a legacy of wonderful palaces and majestic temples. Make a memorable visit. It is a great way to learn more about the ancient Maya culture and how it figures into Belize’s history.
As a traveler, when you are going to visit the Mayan ruins, you need to stay in Belize. A range of hotels is available in Belize for travelers of all sorts. You may choose from the following Belize hotels:
Black Orchid Resort
2 Dawson Lane
Burrell Boom Village
Belize City, Belize
Blackbird Caye Resort (3 Star)
Belize City, Belize
Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza (3 Star)
Mile 3, Northern Highway
PO Box 959
Belize City, Belize
Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina (4 Star)
2 Marine Parade
PO Box 321
Belize City, Belize
There are a number of wonderful videos on the Internet that give a view of the Mayan ruins in Belize. For a better understanding of the Mayan ruins and seeing some of the famous ruins, click on the following links:
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=uuzn0bIpMRE&feature=related: Get a glimpse of some of the most fascinating Mayan ruins in Belize in this amazing slideshow.
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=t8CAboCdGmk&feature=related: A great guided tour to the Mayan ruins in Belize! This video is entertaining and informative at the same time. Check it out!