Explore the “Mundo Maya” with San Ignacio Resort Hotel

by Giulissa Hernandez

Imagine: you wake up to the melodious chorus of tropical birds just outside your window at San Ignacio Resort Hotel. Here lies a sanctuary nestled amidst the untamed beauty of Belize’s verdant jungles. As you sip your morning coffee on the balcony, you can’t help but feel a sense of anticipation in the air—a sense that today will be unlike any other day you’ve ever experienced. Just a short journey away from your comfortable abode lies the realms of ancient Maya wonders. These are not just ruins; they are portals to a distant epoch. One where emperors once ruled over sprawling cities, where artisans carved their stories into stone, and where spiritual rituals infused the air with mysticism. With San Ignacio Resort Hotel as your base camp, embark on an extraordinary adventure to uncover the awe-inspiring world of Maya temples. 

Xunantunich: The Maiden of the Rock

Photo by the Belize Tourism Board

Popular among seasoned travelers, both local and international, Xuxantunich is perfect for newcomers as well. Cross the Mopan River on a hand-cranked ferry, to get to one of Belize’s most enchanting Maya temples. Dated back hundreds of years, this site was where the ancient Maya conducted ceremonies, lived in their abodes, and played recreational activities.

As you ascend the imposing 130-foot-tall El Castillo, you’ll feel like you’re climbing to the heavens themselves. At the summit, breathtaking panoramic views unfold, with jungles that stretch as far as the eye can see. Gaze at the Belizean and Guatemalan landscapes before you, as you realize how an ancient civilization did the same an era ago. The entire tour takes two to three hours, so make sure to soak in all the wonders before you have to leave!

Caracol: The Lost City of the Maya

caracol belize

Discovered to be a site of supreme importance in the Maya world, Caracol has withstood the test of time since 1200 BC. As you set out from San Ignacio Resort Hotel, the journey to Caracol is an adventure in itself. Bouncing along rugged roads and traversing dense jungle, you’ll feel like an intrepid explorer on the brink of discovery. Shrouded in swaying green foliage and emerging as a towering structure, this site is nothing short of breathtaking. This is Belize’s tallest Maya temple to date, with Caana (Sky Palace) standing at 141 feet tall. 

What makes this site even more compelling is the history that precedes it. It is thought to have once hosted a population over 100,000 people and is bigger than Belize City itself! This ancient city was a center of political significance, and the structures we see today prove that. Many stelae, altars, and ball courts showcase its importance and grandeur. This is a wonder that takes an entire day to appreciate, so make sure to pack all the essentials. Don’t forget your trusty camera to capture the beauty of this once-lost city.

Tikal: City at the Waterhole

tikal from belize

Last but certainly not least, we venture across the border for the final Maya site on our list. You’ll need your passport for this one! Tikal is found in Flores, Petèn, a short trip into Guatemala. An equally impressive site, Tikal was known to have connections with Caracol and Teotihuacan in Mexico.

With a temple that looms at 154 feet tall, the area that surrounds this magnificent structure teems with bountiful nature. Catch sight of hooting howler monkeys and colorful avifauna as they zip overhead. The allure of Tikal lies not only in its grand architecture but also in the mystique of its history. Tales of its rise and fall are whispered among the ancient stones. This day trip is one you wouldn’t want to miss. 

Photo by San Ignacio Resort Hotel

Exploring the Maya temples of Central America with San Ignacio Resort Hotel is a journey into the heart of a civilization that thrived amidst the wild beauty of the rainforest. Caracol, Xunantunich, and Tikal are more than archaeological wonders; they are gateways to a world where history, nature, and mysticism intertwine. As you return to the comfort of the resort, you’ll carry with you not only the memories of these extraordinary sites but also a deeper understanding of the rich tapestry of Maya culture. So, let your imagination soar, and let the ancient echoes guide your steps as you uncover the secrets of the Maya temples.

Featured Photo by San Ignacio Resort Hotel

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