Amber Sunset’s tour to Caracol Belize Mayan Ruins is a great way to explore the majesty of ancient Maya architecture and history.
To date, it is the largest Maya city that has been excavated in Belize. Measuring more than 200 square kilometers (77 square miles) in total size, Caracol was a dominant player during the Classic Period (approximately 200-1000 AD), vying for supremacy with nearby sites like Naranjo and Tikal (just across the border in Guatemala). The original name of the site has been lost. The modern name (Spanish for “Snail Shell”) was derived from the winding access path that leads to the city.
Now located deep within the Mayan jungle of western Belize, this ruin was once home to more than 100,000 people. The tour focuses on the center of the city, including large ball courts and the famous Caana (Sky Palace), still one of the largest man-made structures in Belize. Other attractions in the heart of Caracol include carved stelae and hieroglyphs that detail the long history of the site, including a key victory over Tikal in the sixth century AD.
Caracol Belize Mayan Ruin was first occupied around 1200 BC but major construction on monuments began no earlier than 650 AD. Together, this site has 53 carved monuments and impressive buildings like the astronomical observatory adjacent to the Sky Palace. Archeologists identified more than 250 burials. The Mayas built many of the biggest buildings on the site between 600 and 900 AD. The Post-Classic period of the Maya civilization saw many of the biggest city-states abandoned, including Caracol, due to a combination of climate change, warfare, and civil unrest.
Rosa Mai, a local logger, rediscovered this area in 1937. Mai was searching for hardwood species. Archeologist first surveyed the site in 1938. Since 1985, archeologists from the University of Nevada Las Vegas have been overseeing the ongoing excavation at the site.
What to bring to Caracol Belize Mayan Ruins Tour
- Hat, sunscreen, and/or sunglasses.
- Plenty of drinking water.
- Comfortable, lightweight clothing.
- Long pants/trousers.
- Insect repellent.
- Comfortable footwear suitable for hiking and exploring.
- A camera and extra batteries.
Ground transportation to and from Caracol Mayan Ruins will be provided. On the way back from Caracol, the guide will stop for a visit to Rio on Pools or Big Rock Falls waterfalls in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. The lovely panorama from the base of the falls is the perfect place to contemplate on the beauty of nature. The refreshing waters at the bottom of the waterfall are ideal for a cool swim on a hot day.