Being the closest to Belize City, Altun Ha is also the most visited in Belize. Explore where the largest jade carving in the Maya world was discovered, and one of Belize’s greatest treasures: a jade head sculpture of sun god Kinich Ahau.
Once home to an elite Maya ruling family, Cahal Pech boasts an impressive 34 structures in just over two acres. Plus, a royal burial chamber filled with trinkets for the afterlife: shell and bone ornaments, pottery vessels, obsidian blades, and a jade tile mosaic mask.
Located on the northern coast of Belize, the still-partially excavated trading center for obsidian and jade, Cerros, houses three large buildings and several plazas surrounded by pyramids. Within, Cerros’ tallest structure stands 72 feet high above the plaza.
Located near the Guatemalan border, El Pilar is the largest Maya site of the Belize River area. Though most remain inaccessible to the public, the ‘Water Hole’ houses 25 plazas with hundreds of ancient structures. Tzunu’un, the house site, shows a glimpse of a traditional Maya home and forest garden.
A 26-mile boat ride up the New River leads you to Lamanai, boasting 700 mapped Maya structures including the Temple of the Jaguar. As one of the biggest and most impressive sites in Belize, Lamanai was continuously occupied for over 3,000 years.
With over 80 structures as the third largest Maya site in Belize, discover the few structures open to the public at La Milpa. In late April to early July, visitors have a unique opportunity to witness, or participate, in archaeological digs.
Nim Li Punit, found near the village of Indian Creek in Toledo, gets its name from the longest stela yet discovered in Belize and the the second tallest ever carved by the ancient Maya: a ruler carved with a large, elaborate head-dress. The concentration of so many stelae is what makes this such a unique Maya site in Belize.
Venture across the Mopan River via hand-cranked ferry to reach Xunantunich, hosting 25 temples. Onsite, the El Castillo temple rises 130 feet above the plaza and features intricate hand-carved friezes and stelae.