“The Maiden of the Rock”, as it is known in the local Mayan dialect.
Xunantunich Mayan Ruins Location
The Xunantunich ruins are located on a natural limestone ridge approximately eight miles west of San Ignacio at San Jose Succotz Village in the Cayo District. This is one of the most popular sites in Belize. Recent improvements have included the visitor’s centre, new bathrooms, new picnic areas, and new trails. One historical attribute not likely to be replaced anytime soon is the mechanical ferry, used for years to take people to and from the site.
Xunantunich Mayan Ruins Highlights
There are numerous ancient structures around the Xunantunich site. It was the first Mayan ruin in Belize to be opened to the public when a road and hand cranked ferry bridge were built in 1954 to access the site. Xunantunich is an example of the “Classic” period of Mayan history, from about 300 A.D. to 900 A.D. The site was largely abandoned by the Mayans about 900 A.D., possibly due to a large earthquake in the region. The exploration of Xunantunich began in the late 1800’s by the British.
Most tourists make a point of climbing “El Castillo”, a 130 foot high pyramid near the center of the ruins. “El Castillo”, which has been partially excavated and explored, was the tallest manmade structure in all of Belize until the discovery of “Canaa” at Caracol. The most notable feature on “El Castillo” is a remarkable stucco frieze on the east side of the A-6 structure. Three carved stelae found at the site are on display in the plaza. The name is Maya for “stone lady” and is derived from local legend. From the top of El Castillo you can enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view over the jungle canopy of the Macal, Mopan and Belize River valleys, as well as a vast area of the Guatemalan Peten District, which is only a few miles away.
Xunantunich Mayan Ruins tour for Cruise Ship Passengers
For our cruise ship passengers the tour departs from the Tourism Village in Belize City (the dock area where the cruise ship tender boats drop off their passengers). As you debark from your tender boat, please look for the Diamonds International store at Terminal 2. Walk through the store to the gate on Fort Street. At the gate, you’ll be met by a representative of Splash Wave Tours. Our tours are scheduled to fit within the port time of the cruise ships arriving in Belize City. We monitor the cruise ship tender schedules and plan our tour itineraries to give you plenty of time to return back to your ship, to enjoy a local drink before departure.
For tourist who are staying in Belize City, pick are available depending on the location.
Xunantunich Mayan Ruins Tour Price: $100 USD per person
Includes: transportation, tour guide, entrance to the site, lunch, and taxes