Xunantunich is located some 80 miles on paved highway, east of Belize City, among the northern foothills of the Maya Mountain Range, it is one of the fabled Kingdoms of the ancient Maya, called XUNANTUNICH (Shoo-nan-too-niche), with a modern day English translation of “Maiden of the Rock”.
Your air conditioned tour van rolls along the Western Highway through first, the flat terrain of the coastal plain of Belize, and then gradually through the hilly countryside, past the New Capital City of Belmopan, along Creole and Meztiso Villages, passing the Mennonite community of Spanish Lookout with their beautifully kept farmlands, through San Ignacio/Santa Elena, twin towns of the Cayo District and across the Macal River, and finally to the southern banks of the Mopan River.
Here you will cross over by hand operated ferry, and move to Xunantunich and travel a mile uphill, with lush tropical rainforest on either side of the road and at the site.
Your tour of Xunantunich takes you across grassy plazas, marvel at the perfect architecture of El Castillo, one of the three largest Maya Temples of Belize, and the largest structure at Xunantunich, standing 130 feet above plaza level, with its reconstructed East and West friezes representing Gods of the Maya and several inner chambers; move through other temples and courtyards where once Kings, Queens and their elite carried out special ceremonies honoring a pantheon of gods of a fantastic cosmological religion which reigned supreme in Mesoamerica for several thousand years.
Xunantunich has an excellent display center at the site, and you will have a chance to climb the “stairway to heaven” on El Castillo, from the top of which you will be able to see as far away as the “Melchor de Mencos” border town of nearby Guatemala, as well as a Benque Viejo del Carmen and San Jose Succotz, a town and village of Western Belize. Truly, the top of the world of the Maya!
After your tour of Xunantunich you will travel by van back to the town of San Ignacio where you will enjoy a local lunch before journeying back to the Fort Street Tourist Village in Belize City to tender back to your cruise liner.
Belize City to Xunantunich : Approximately 2 hours (with bathroom and shopping stop)
Site tour and lunch : Approximately 2 hours
Return to Belize City: Approximately 2 hours (again bathroom stop if necessary)
Please Bring Along: Sunblock, hat/cap, camera, bottled water (ask your guide to provide a cooler for iced bottled water). Bring along a small packet of wipes, keep in cooler on ice, and get cold wipes at tour’s end!!)
What is included:
Transfer to and from the maya site, entrance fees, tour guide, bottled water, lunch