Xunantunich Ruins in Belize

Ruins of The Americas | | February 2, 2013 at 12:47 am


The ruins at Xunantunich is a very ancient archaeological site in western Belize and belongs to the Mayan group. Lying around 80 miles to the west of Belize City in the district of Cayo, this is around 8 miles to the west of San Ignacio Town. Xunantunich is situated on top of a ridge above the River Mopan and was an earlier Maya civic ceremonial centre in the Terminal Classic periods. Xunantunich’s name means Stone Woman. It is mix of Yucatec and Mopan. It is actually a modern name and the Stone Woman refers to a ghost of a woman who is believed to have lived here in the year 1892. Dressed in white it is believed she has fire red eyes. It is believed that she ascends the stairs and then disappears into a stone wall.

Xunantunich was first explored by Thomas Gann in the middle half of 1890. Gann then settled in Belize, as he wanted to explore the archaeology here more. He was the first to bring the concept of ceramic chronology here.

Xunantunich Ruins

Xunantunich is reached by driving through the western highway and through the San Ignacio town. You then would cross the San Jose Suiccotz village and take a ferry on the River Mopan to reach Xunantunich. This was a region, which flourished in the Classic period and is said to have survived the collapse of the Mayan civilization. It was a very important population centre till 1000 D. The site has five plazas out of which there are three plazas open for the tourists today. The El Castillo dominates the sites and rises to a height of around 120 feet. The climb is a favourite of all adventure enthusiasts and the main point here is on the top from here there is an awe inspiring sight of the entire region. The River valleys of Mopan and Belize rivers are seen from here and the Guatemala region is also seen from the top. There are two special friezes made of stucco here. and this is another attraction for all. There is a small museum and a visitor centre with authentic food providing places.

Situated in the heart of the district of Cayo this is a lovely ruin here and is a site of attraction for many. Overlooking the beautiful San Ignacio, the Xunantunich tours also combine a visit to nearby Cahal Pech. This is another Mayan centre and is located on top of an acropolis on the River Macal. There are thirty four structures in the middle of Cahal Pech and there are many artifacts in the visitor’s centre here.

Cahal Pech

Xunantunich also has some interesting craft shops to visit and the gifts here are good quality Belize products. There are lovely items to pick up and special souvenirs, which would give you a memorable tour to take home. There is a local market here, which has Mennonites and farmers selling their produce. This is a great place to pick up jams, haberno sauces, and honey.

Xunantunich is one of the most visited Belize ruins in the world. Belize cruise ship tours take tourists on trips here and it is very interesting to see the manner in which this region comes alive with tourists loving every bit of the time they spend here.

Xunantunich opens at 7.30 in the morning and closes at 4 in the evening. The cruise ships come here at around nine in the morning and leave by lunch.

Mayan Ruins in Belize

Xunantunich was earlier reached from the Lower Dover. It is possible to hitch hike a ride here, the walks here are also very common and exciting for some others. There is a lot of walking to be done in treks here so it is important that you have water alongwith you.

Mayan artisans sell crafts and arts here near the ferry and these are said to be some of the best in the entire country. there are many who sell the Mayan art who are said to be the descendants of Don Elijio Panti who was a great expert at Mayan medicinal plants.

With the best of archaeological ruins and the most of visual treats, Xunantunich comes across as a place that has a lot to show and lots more to take home. Tours here are very inspiring and enchanting, and provide you with a lot of exciting experiences and beautiful memories. Travels to this part of the world includes interesting delights and great memories.

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