From the top of a hill you can see your enemies - The Mayans knew this well. They looked down from atop their stony temples and feared no man. At Cahal Pech and Xunantunich, you can stand high atop those same temples and see the world as the ancients did.
Xunantunich is a great trip. Quick and easy to get to, it's gorgeous and you get to ride a river ferry. Your tour of Xunantunich starts when you step aboard the ferry. Once across the Mopan River it's up a fairly large hill to the main site. Historically, speaking Xunantunich once played an important roll in the politics of the Maya world. On a more recent note, it was the tallest building in modern Belize for a long time. Anyway, once you get to the site you be led through ancient ball courts and courtyards. Xunantunich is one site where you are still allowed to climb to the top of the highest temple. From there you'll get one of the best panoramic views you could ever imagine. When you are finished with this site it's off to lunch and then to Cahal Pech. For another great way to see this Mayan ruin, checkout the River Tubing tour/trip. You get to see Xunantunich and float through Belizean wilderness on a tube.
You'll find Cahal Pech pretty close to the main part of San Ignacio. In fact if you keep heading up hill from in town you'll eventually get there. It's not a regular site. It's believed by some to have been more of a residence than a whole temple complex. Also, some of the oldest artefacts from the area have been found at the site. This site is one of the projects that is handled by Dr. Jaime Awe (hi-me awe-way) one of the heads of archaeology in Belize. There are a couple of things that make this site notably different from other Maya sites. One of which is that at the entrance there is a little museum with some of the artefacts that have been recovered and quite a few neat displays that explain the site. Another nice thing about Cahal Pech is that it's not all clear cut. It feel like it's still part of the jungle that took it back over when the Maya left. All in all it's a great site to see.
Because of how easy these sites are to get to, they are only offered together. Xunantunich can also be done with the tubing trip. The Xunantunich part of the tour starts at 9am then lunch followed by the tour of Cahal Pech. You should get back to town between 3pm and 4pm.
The Price Tag
- 75us pp - Min 2 people
- Transportation, Entrance Fees and Lunch
What you need to bring
- bottle o' water
- sturdy footwear
- extra snacks (optional)