Belize Caracol Mayan Ruins Tour
Caracol Maya Tour
Caracol, a major and dominant site in Mayan history, is an expansive city covering nearly 6 square miles and rivaling the ancient metropolis of Tikal in size, power, and riches. This is a fantastic site to visit, set high on the Vaca Plateau, in the heart of the Chiquibul Forest Reserve (a subtropical forest south of San Ignacio near the Guatemalan border). Caracol is accessed through the Mountain Pine Ridge, a beautiful area with flowing rivers and hidden limestone caves.
After a 2.5 hour drive (when the road is grated and 3 hour drive when it is not grated) drive from San Ignacio up rough dirt roads, passing through small Mayan villages and scenic countryside we will arrive at the sprawling archaeological site of Caracol. Here you will learn about the anthropology, archaeology, and flora and fauna of the area, including rare and endangered wildlife such as Keel-billed Motmots, Tapirs, Jaguars, Oscillated Turkeys, Gibnut (the “Royal Rat”) and Coatimundis.
Caracol was a huge population center at its peak, with over 150,000 inhabitants and 30,000 structures, including an astronomical observatory. It was the largest metropolis in the Mayan Lowlands during the Classic Period, built with elaborate city planning and complex agricultural systems. This site was hidden for many centuries by the trees in the tropical broad leaf forest. Today you might catch a glimpse of howler monkeys in the mammoth trees towering over the ancient Mayan ball courts and plazas.
Revel at the engineering and architectural sophistication of the Mayan people as you climb the temple pyramid structure of Caana (Sky Temple), the highest man-made building in Belize to this day. Once at the top, nearly 135 feet above the courtyards below, you will get impressive panoramic views of Belize and neighboring Guatemala.
The history of the inhabitants of Caracol is documented by scribes of the past in hieroglyphics and carvings on the monuments, stelae, wall facades and altars that are found throughout the site. Caracol has a very unique history, different from other major ancient cities in the region, and your guide will illuminate the rich and complicated past of this glorious civilization with a fully guided tour of the excavated portions of the Caracol site.
After touring the ruins, refresh yourself with drinks and a picnic lunch. We then continue back through the Pine Ridge area where we take a break at the Rio On Pools, a series of natural swimming holes, to cool down and relax in the clear water. We will also visit the Rio Frio Cave, which has the largest entrance of any cave in Belize.