The ancient Maya civilization reached its height in Belize between 200 AD and 900 AD. They left behind impressive ruins in the western and northern regions of Belize. Many of these ruins are currently the sites of ongoing archaeological digs, and have had some of the crumbling buildings restored. These ruins have on-site museums or visitor centers. A typical ruin in Belize will have several temples surrounding grassy plazas. You can climb some of these temples and pause at the top to survey the surrounding rainforest.
31 Things to Do
Visit the Maya Ruin site of Lubaantun and then hike to the caves of Blue Creek. Located in the remote south of Belize is a magical 1300 year old Mayan ruin that is just waiting to share its story with you. Step into the past and imagine coming here as an early explorer, hacking your way through the jungle to the crumbling steps.
8 hrsFrom $169
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.
8 hrsFrom $168
This site has one of the most interesting collection temples of any Maya ruins in Belize. There’s the 130-foot tall El Castillo temple, which is one of the tallest buildings in the country. Visitors can climb to the top of it stepped facade to check out the incredible surrounding landscape.
3 hrsFrom $65
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 hrsFrom $180
This full-day tour to Tikal National Park introduces you to the greatest city the Maya ever built. It dates back to 200 BC, and remained a flourishing capital until 900 AD. At its height, it is believed to have supported a population of around 90,000.
8 hrsFrom $202
This half-day tour takes you to two of the most famous Maya sites in Belize, Xunantunich and Cahal Pech. After your day of historical sightseeing, you’ll have gotten a fascinating look at Maya culture and architecture. Besides the Maya sites, you’ll also get to admire jungle wildlife along the way.
5 hrsFrom $91
This tour is an active exploration of the terrain once controlled by the Maya. You’ll get to hike, climb, and swim as you make your way through the jungle of western Belize, on your way to see the staggering sights of Xunantunich and the swimming hole nestled in St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park. Along the way, your guide can help paint a picture of what life was like for the Mayans who called this world their home.
9 hrsFrom $215
This tour will take you to two different nature reserves in the Maya Mountain region of western Belize. You'll get to see Maya ruins and some of the incredible natural formations that characterize this part of the country. Keep in mind that there is some hiking and climbing involved in this tour, so participants should be at least moderately fit and have no physical limitations.
9 hrsFrom $140
Belize is a country of Maya history, diverse flora and fauna, and gorgeous rivers and streams. In the rainforest of the Orange Walk District, this tour combines these elements into one day’s adventure. The tour offers hotel pick up from Belize City, and even the two hour drive to the river is scenic and informative, with guides narrating the route.
8 hrsFrom $174
This is an all-day, seven-hour tour that takes you to one of the most famous Maya sites in Belize. The Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave is a fascinating cave that preserves the remains of Maya culture. It’s best known for the skeleton of a sacrificial victim – a young woman whose remains have lain in the cave for over 1,000 years. Over time, the bones have formed a layer of crystallized minerals, which has led to her nickname, “the Crystal Maiden.”
8 hrsFrom $162
Take this full-day tour to visit the impressive remains of the Caracol site. It served as an important trading hub for nearby Tikal, which is right across the border in Guatemala. This is an educational tour as well as an opportunity to experience the forests of western Belize. It also includes a break for lunch.
8 hrsFrom $159
Tikal is a highly doable day-trip from San Ignacio, and this all-day excursion ensures that you don’t miss out on seeing one of the most spectacular ruins left behind by the Maya. This is an all-day tour, and includes a stop for lunch. Join your guide for an exciting trek to the jungle, which with any luck will include sightings of some incredible wildlife – keep an eye out for the famous resplendent quetzals and their tremendous tail feathers. Sightings of monkeys and birds will continue once you arrive, and you’ll get to watch jungle animals skitter up and down the stony faces of the many temples.
8 hrsFrom $174
This tour to Nim Li Punit takes an interesting look at the natural world of the Maya, in addition to an educational archeological site. After touring this ruin near the foothills of the Maya Mountains, you’ll visit a botanical farm to see a selection of plants that the Maya used. You’ll also get to know a wide variety of plants and spices that only grow in the tropics. This is an all-day tour that leaves at 8 AM and returns at 5 PM, and includes a break for a homemade lunch.
8 hrsFrom $185
- Elliot H.
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