Belize’s Mayan Sites

The largest Mayan archaeological site in Belize is Caracol (Snail), one of the most important cities of the Mayan classical period. The impressive Canaa pyramid stands 143 feet tall, which makes it the tallest man-made structure in all of Belize! Caracol is still under excavation and restoration and is very remote: during the rainy season, it may be impossible to get there at all. In any event, any interested visitors must get a permit from the Belize Department of Archaeology.

Far more accessible is the Mayan site at Atun Ha. There is no public transportation to the site, but travel agencies offer guided tours. It is well excavated and interesting. The site is quite small compared to other Mayan sites such as Palenque or Tikal, consisting of only 13 temples and structures around two plazas.

In North-Central Belize you’ll also find Lamanai, or “submerged crocodile.” It is an ancient site, having been occupied for more than 3,000 years. Besides the Mayan site, which is one of the largest in Belize, it features a museum and the ruins of two 16th century Spanish churches.