On this tour, you’ll get to see two very different Maya sites. The first, Xuanantinuch, is the ruins of a compact but impressive Maya city. Here visitors can stroll around multiple plazas and temples. At the nearby Barton Creek Cave, you’ll see a cave that served as an entrance to Xibalba, the Maya underworld.
- 9 hrs
- Available Days:
- Every day
- 6:00 AM, 6:15 AM, 7:00 AM, 8:30 AM
- Hotel Transport Included
- Mobile Ticket Included
- Offered in English, Spanish
Xunantunich served as a regional capital, from around 700 to 850 AD. El Castillo is the tallest structure in Xunantunich. It’s 131-feet (40 m) tall, and offers one of the best panoramas in all of Belize if you’re willing to do a little climbing. It also has some of the most impressive Maya reliefs you can see in Belize, with elaborate hieroglyphs and depictions of Maya gods.
After your visit to this Maya city, your tour will continue to one of Belize’s most interesting burial grounds. Archeologists have discovered the skeletons of at least 28 individuals and believe this cave may have been the site of ritual sacrifice. Barton Creek Cave is located in Belize’s Amish territory, which will make for an interesting drive to your destination.
You’ll get to tour the cave from the comfort of a canoe – no wading or swimming required. Barton Creek flows through the length of the 5-mile (8-km) cave complex. As you paddle through the subterranean mausoleum, you’ll see Maya ceramics and skeletons that have fused with the walls of the cave.
Barton Creek Cave is one of the most fascinating wet caves in Belize. A tour of Barton Creek Cave involves gently paddling a two-man canoe across the cave’s still water, guided only by headlamps that light up the intricate stalactites and stalagmites that make up the limestone walls. It is one of the few wet caves in Belize where exploring doesn’t require swimming or tubing. Please note that the cave ceiling is quite low in places, and all visitors should be comfortable in dark.
Read more:Barton Creek Cave
Home to the second largest Mayan pyramid in Belize, Xunantunich is one of the most impressive Mayan sites in Belize. The site is composed of three major ceremonial plazas surrounded by numerous temples, palaces, and house mounds. Xunantunich is located 8 miles (13 km) southwest of San Ignacio on the Western Highway.
What to Bring
Hiking shoes, comfortable clothes, camera, bottled water, and money for personal expenses.
Transportation, guided tour, entrance fee, lunch, and a beverage. (Minimum 3 participants to operate)
Many of our tours and activities offer transportation pick up & drop off options from several locations and destinations. Options vary by tour, see “BOOKING REQUEST” for full details.
Similar things to do
This tour will bring you to the top of a Maya temple, and then to the entrance of the Maya underworld. The temple is inside the Maya city of Xunantunich, which is located near the border of Guatemala. Its name translates to “Maiden of the Rock.” After you ascend the walls of its temple, you’ll continue the tour to the Cave Branch River, where you’ll follow the river into a series of caves that had intense spiritual significance for the Maya.
Actun Tunichil Muknal cave is the doorway to Xibalba, the Maya underworld. This cave contains ceramics and human skeletons that have fused with the walls of the cave. The most famous of these remains is the Crystal Maiden, a skeleton of a young woman believed to have been a sacrifice. Her bones are now partially covered with the sparkling build-up of cave sediment.