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Belize Boutique Resort and Spa is located in the heart of the Mayan Rainforest of Belzie, an area filled with culture and rich history.  There are many small unescavated Mayan sites waiting to be discovered and other larger escavated Mayan sites with documented history.  Cuello Mayan Ruin, about 25 miles of the resort, is the oldest Mayan site dating back 2500 B.C. Colha Maya Ruin, about 6 miles north, was an eccentric flint workshop and the site where the oldest remnants of chocolate was found in a ceramic vessel.  There is Kichpanha Mayan site, the snail eaters, about 15 miles from Belize Boutique Resort and Spa.  Kelly's pond is across the street where local farmers now farm the old Maya farm fields.  Mammy Ridge site, with looters trenches into tombs, is in Bomba Village by the river and lagoon.  Nohmul Mayan site - with its large pre-classic temples - that was recently partially destroyed by stone quarries exposing tombs and corval arches 70 feet in the air.


Mayan Ruins Belize

Wedged between Guatemala and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula lies Belize, a natural paradise where over half of the country's territory is in the form of national parks, animal sanctuaries, and protected conservation areas. Located deep in the heart of Belize's jungle are countless ancient Maya cities and structures, only a few of which have ever been excavated. 


History if the Maya Civilization In Belize

Archeologists have dated the arrival of the ancient Maya people to what is now Belzie to 1,000 BC. Although bearing

some hallmarks of the splendor yet to come, the ancient Maya civilization remained fairly simple until evolving into a "Golden Age" that ran from 300 to 900 AD. It was during this Golden Age that the various Maya kingdoms began to build on a colossal scale, constructing large pyramids, impressive palaces, and towering temples. Yet, for reasons still being debated by archeologists, the ancient Maya civilization suffered a catastrophic collapse around the year 900 AD, leading to the abandonment of most of their cities. The surviving Maya people melted into the rainforest, living in small villages, some of which can still be visited currently in Belize. 

Today, travelers to Belize can visit a number of popular Maya sites in the country such as:


Altun Ha Maya Ruins

Altun Ha is located just 40 miles (50 kilometers) north of Belize City near the country’s Caribbean coast and 10 miles south of Belize Boutique Resort and Spa. Measuring more than three square miles (eight square km) in size, Altun Ha is one of the most popular ancient Maya sites in the country. At Altun Ha, visitors can tour two large plazas that are surrounded by a myriad of interesting buildings, including several pyramids.

The most iconic site in Altun Ha is, today, known as the Temple of the Masonry Altars, although the original name is lost in the mists of history. Measuring some 52 feet (16 meters) high, this temple’s profile is used as the logo of Belikin Beer, Belize’s largest domestic brewery.

Archeologists believe that the site was first established approximately 3,000 years ago, but the larger structures were constructed during the Classic Period that ran from 400-900 A.D. when the city’s population was at its largest. For reasons unknown to modern archeologists, the city was abandoned around 1,000 years ago, and the site was slowly reclaimed by the surrounding nature. Only in 1963 did archeologists begin excavations at Altun Ha.


Lamanai Maya Ruins

Unlike other colossal cities that were abandoned for unknown reasons around the year 900 A.D., Lamanai was continuously inhabited right through the early part of the European colonial period.

Because the ancient Maya in Lamanai survived first contact with Europeans, the city is one of the few places where the original name for the site is known. Originally, Spanish monks had identified the site as Lamayin, which means “submerged insect,” but archeologists can now read the Maya script and know that the true name is Lamanai, which means “submerged crocodile.” Calling the city “submerged crocodile” is apt because of the large number of crocodile images and figurines found at the site.

With a core district of 12 square miles, Lamanai is one of the largest cities ever built by the ancient Maya. Today, only a fraction of the site has been excavated, but visitors can explore more than 100 different buildings. Lamanai is home to 12 major buildings, including the High Temple and the Temple of the Jaguar Masks. There is also a large ball court in the center of the city that was home to the religious ritual/sporting event central to ancient Maya culture.


Caracol Maya Ruins

Spanish for "The Snail" due to the winding path leading to the site, Caracol is one of Belize's most impressive ancient Maya ruins. Now located deep in the jungles of the Chiquibil Forest Reserve in western Belize approximately a three-hour drive from San Ignacio, Caracol has only been partially excavated. 

According to archeologists, Caracol was first occupied around 1200 BC, however the epicenter was not populated until around 650 BC.

At its peak 650 AD, Caracol was home to about 15,000 people with approximately 120,000 to 180,000 living in the Caracol "suburbs".

The most iconic feature of the site is the Ca'ana Sky Palace, a pyramid measuring more than 140 feet high. Even today, this is the tallest building in the country.

It is believed that the site was abandoned approximately 950 to 1050 AD. 


Xunantunich Maya Ruins

Due to its proximity to modern-day San Ignacio, Xunantunich has been more thoroughly excavated than its "neighbor" Caracol. Built during the heyday of the ancient Maya Golden Age, Xunantunich can only be reached by crossing the Mopan River on a small ferry. 

Xunantunich means "Stone Woman" in Mopan and Yuatec Mayan and refers to the ghost of a woman many claim to have seen at the site since the 1890’s. 

Archeologists believe that construction of the site started around 600 to 670 AD and thrived until 750 AD when it was abandoned due to an unknown violent incident. It is believed that the site regained its strength around 780-890 AD when it replaced Naranjo (a major Maya city near Tikal, Guatemala) as a regional power.

Visitors to Xunantunich can browse through more than 25 massive structures, including "El Castillo" (The Castle), a huge pyramid that is second only to Caracol's Ca'ana Sky Palace in terms of height. From atop this pyramid, visitors can see as much as eight miles, all the way to the border with Guatemala. 


El Pilar Maya Ruins

In Spanish, "El Pilar" means "The Watering Basin," an apt name for this site located near several flowing streams. Located near the border of Guatemala, El Pilar's "central core" measures more than 100 acres in size. Due to the number of artifacts found at the site, it is believed that El Pilar was once a very powerful city-state that clashed with its neighbors for dominance of the region during the Maya Golden Age.

El Pilar consists of over 15 plazas, one ball court, and hundreds of other buildings. The only fully exposed building at the site is a house called Tzunu'un.

Archaeologists believed that the population of El Pilar was over 20,000 people during the Maya Classic Period and construction of the site started around 800BC.

If you’re interested in exploring some of the magnificent Maya ruins in the country, one of the best places to stay is the Belize Boutique Resort and Spa. Located in a stunningly beautiful jungle oasis, the hotel offers a full range of modern conveniences and luxuries. The Belize Resort has just 16 villas, bungalows, and suites on a vast, 1,000-acre privately-owned property just a few miles north of the international airport and a short drive from top Maya sites like Altun Ha and Lamanai.



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Belize Boutique Resort & Spa Music Written by MELONIE GILLETTWritten for Belize Boutique Resort & Spa by Singer/Songwriter MELONIE GILLETT
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