- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
- Spanish Phrases
Xunantunich, pronounced shoo-nan-too-nitch, is one of the most accessible Mayan sites in Belize, located on a hilltop site above the Mopan River west of San Ignacio. You take a hand-pulled ferry across the river (it carries pedestrians and a car or two), near the village of San José Succotz. As you hike or drive through the profusion of maidenhair ferns to the ruins, you may encounter numerous butterflies flitting through the air. A magnificent avenue of cohune palms announces your arrival at an important ceremonial center from the Maya Classic Period. Xunantunich means "stone maiden." The structures here, in six plazas with more than two dozen buildings, date from 200 to 900 A.D. El Castillo, the massive 120-foot-high main pyramid, still the second-tallest structure in Belize after Caana at Caracol, was built on a leveled hilltop. The pyramid has a spectacular 360-degree panorama of the Mopan River valley into Guatemala. On the eastern wall is a reproduction of one of the finest Mayan sculptures in Belize, a frieze decorated with jaguar heads, human faces, and abstract geometric patterns telling the story of the Moon's affair with Morning Light. Drinks and snacks are available at a visitor center and museum (opened in 2013) that explains the history of the site.
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Fodor's Go List 2014: Where we are going in 2014
- World Cup Fever: Start planning your trip to Brazil!
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
I've just returned from a fantastic 10 day adventure to Belize and wanted to share my trip report since reading so many of these before I went was so helpful.
i put off for too long shopping for a new Read more
My fiancee and I are planning our honeymoon. Read more
For anyone who has been to both Chan Chich and Bosque del Cabo, how did you think the two compared? Read more
· News & Features
Travelers to Belize will find a fairy-tale landscape of white-sand beaches, lush rain forests, and soaring ... Read more
Do you dream about going snout-to-snout with a bear, or at least observing a bear from a safe and responsible... Read more
Honeymoons are the chance to take the adventure of a lifetime.... Read more