Amber Sunset’s tour to Cahal Pech Mayan Ruins is a great opportunity to explore a hilltop city built for royals and the elite members of ancient Mayan society.
It sits atop the highest hill in the region of western Cayo District. It overlooks San Ignacio Town. Nestled in a gorgeous natural setting, the ruins of the Mayan Temple abound with colorful birds and exotic plants. A small museum at the entrance displays a number of artifacts found onsite by archeologists, a model reconstruction, and a brief history of Cahal Pech.
First built around 1200 BC, Cahal Pech is one of the oldest Mayan sites in Belize. Visitors can marvel at the gorgeous panorama of the confluence of the Mopan and Macal Rivers. Cahal Pech was an exclusive residential community for Maya elites. This site was abandoned around the year 900, at the end of the Post-Classic period. As a result, this saw other nearby cities left to be reclaimed by the jungle.
Cahal Pech contains a collection of 34 buildings, including a large temple that is 25 meters (82 feet) high. The original name for this site is unknown. The current name comes from the Yucatec Mayan language and means “place of the ticks”. This is partly because the surrounding area was used by cattle farmers. Excavation first began in 1988 and the site was completely restored by the year 2000 when it was opened to the public.
What to bring to the Cahal Pech Mayan Ruin Tour:
- Comfortable clothing that is lightweight
- Comfortable footwear with a good grip
- Long pants or trousers
- Sunscreen and/or a hat
- An ample supply of drinking water
- Insect repellent
The visitor’s center and museum at the entrance of Cahal Pech is open from Monday to Saturday.
Amber Sunset’s tour of Cahal Pech is the perfect introduction to the long-lost world of the ancient Maya. The contrast between the colorful market town of San Ignacio and the ruins of this temple make for a great educational experience. The small size of the site and different classic Maya building types are a great way to experience the architectural prowess of the Maya in a fun, easy day trip.
Cahal Pech can be combined with touring Xunantunich or enjoyed on its own.