Belize: Xunantunich

Xunantunich, Belize

We spent our final day in the Belize jungle at Xunantunich, a Mayan ruins site on the Guatemalan border. I would have expected to be "ruined out" by now, and honestly, maybe we were--we opted to decline a tour guide and wander at our own pace--but Xunantunich was really great.

Xunantunich is one of the bigger and more visited Mayan ruins in Belize. It rests up on a limestone ridge with a view overlooking the Mopan river and the Guatemalan countryside. Although it may have been occupied as early as 1000 BC, it did not hold any significant structures until the 600s AD.

One of my favorite parts about Xunantunich is how you get there. You drive up to the river bank and there's no bridge... just a floating platform on a line, and a dude operating a hand crank to move the ferry back and forth. It looks like a lot of work. He charges like $1.

Handcrank ferry to Xunantunich

We got to Xunantunich early in the hopes of avoiding the crowds and the heat. We succeeded at #1. It was still ridiculously hot.

So we pretty much beelined to the big pyramid, El Castillo, which is the second-highest pyramid in Belize (behind the one at Caracol), and then looked around the other, smaller pyramids for an hour or so before we ran out of water and fled toward the coast.

 

The sun was hot, and there were lots of steps to climb.

 

Xunantunich, Belize

Xunantunich, Belize

Xunantunich, Belize

Xunantunich, Belize


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