belize maya ruins

Uncover the Rich Cultural Legacy of Belize with Xunantunich Maya Ruins

Belize is famous for its beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters, but it also has a rich cultural history that’s worth exploring. One of the best ways to experience the history of Belize is by visiting the ancient Maya ruins of Xunantunich, located in western Belize near the Guatemala border.

Xunantunich is a Maya archaeological site that dates back to the classic period of the ancient Maya civilization. The site is named after a ghost that’s said to haunt the area, and the name means “Stone Woman” in the Mayan language. The ruins are situated on a limestone ridge that overlooks the meandering Mopan River, offering visitors breathtaking views of the surrounding jungle.

The highlight of Xunantunich is El Castillo, a massive temple that stands over the rest of the site. The temple is over 130 feet tall, making it the second-largest structure in Belize. Climbing to the top of El Castillo is a must-do for visitors, as it provides a spectacular view of the surrounding landscape.


Aside from El Castillo, Xunantunich boasts other notable structures such as the Ball Court, the Palace, and the Lower Plaza. The Ball Court is an impressive structure where the Maya ball games were played. The Palace is a large complex that once housed the Maya royalty and was used for administrative purposes. The Lower Plaza is a spacious open space used for gatherings and ceremonies.

Located in a nature reserve, the Xunantunich ruins provide visitors with a unique opportunity to experience the intersection of history and nature. The site is home to a variety of wildlife, including howler monkeys, toucans, and iguanas, allowing visitors to witness the harmonious coexistence of history and nature in one of the most breathtaking settings in Belize.

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the fascinating world of the ancient Maya civilization. Xunantunich is a remarkable archaeological site that will transport you to another era. Delve into the advanced knowledge of architecture, mathematics, and astronomy that the Maya possessed and left behind as their rich cultural legacy.

Stay at Chan Chich Lodge and make the most of your trip to Belize. The lodge provides an array of activities and services that cater to the needs of every traveler, from jungle cottage accommodations to world-class dining. The lodge’s strategic location provides easy access to the region’s top attractions, including Xunantunich, the ATM Cave, Lamanai, the Belize Barrier Reef, and even Tikal in Guatemala. This allows intrepid travelers to fully immerse themselves in the mesmerizing splendor of the nearby regions and explore the diverse attractions that Belize has to offer.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to discover the magical intersection where the legacy of the ancient Maya civilization meets the awe-inspiring beauty of the natural world. The adventure of a lifetime is waiting for you in Belize – book now to make it happen!

atm cave

The ATM Cave in Belize: An Adventure Through the Maya Underworld

The Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave is a remarkable natural and cultural wonder that can be found in the Cayo District of Belize. Known as the “Cave of the Stone Sepulchre,” this incredible cave system is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in the region and is a must-see destination for any traveler to Belize.

The journey through the ATM Cave is a unique and exhilarating experience that takes visitors through a maze of stunning limestone caverns, underground rivers, and crystal-clear pools. The cave was used by the ancient Maya for centuries for both religious and ceremonial purposes, and today it is recognized as one of the most important Maya archaeological sites in the world.

The ATM Cave was first explored in the 1980s, and since then it has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Belize. Visitors to the cave are treated to a unique and unforgettable experience that takes them deep into the heart of the Maya underworld. Here are some of the top reasons to explore the ATM Cave on your next trip to Belize.


A Journey Through the Maya Underworld

The ATM Cave is a unique journey through the Maya underworld, where visitors can explore the hidden world of the ancient Maya civilization. The cave is filled with artifacts and human remains that have been left behind by the Maya people, making it an incredibly rich and fascinating site to explore.

Stunning Natural Beauty

The ATM Cave is home to some of the most beautiful and otherworldly natural formations in Belize. The limestone caverns are decorated with breathtaking stalactites and stalagmites, underground rivers, and crystal-clear pools. The journey through the cave is truly a mesmerizing and unforgettable experience that showcases the beauty of the natural world.

Cultural and Historical Significance

The ATM Cave is an important site for archaeological and anthropological research, as it offers a unique insight into the history and culture of the ancient Maya civilization. The cave is home to a large number of artifacts and human remains, including the famous “Crystal Maiden,” a fully intact skeleton of a young girl who was sacrificed by the Maya.

ATM Cave in Belize

Adventure and Excitement

The journey through the ATM Cave is not for the faint of heart, as it involves traversing through a maze of underground rivers, scaling slippery limestone formations, and wading through deep pools of water. However, the experience is well worth the effort, as it provides an exciting and adrenaline-fueled adventure that is sure to leave a lasting impression on any visitor.

Expert Guides

Visitors to the ATM Cave are accompanied by expert guides who are well-versed in the history and culture of the Maya civilization. These knowledgeable guides provide valuable insights into the significance of the artifacts and human remains that are found within the cave and offer a wealth of information about the natural beauty of the cave system.

Safety and Preservation

The preservation of the ATM Cave is a top priority for the Belize government and the local community. Visitors to the cave are required to follow strict safety guidelines, and the number of visitors allowed in the cave at any one time is limited to ensure the preservation of the site. It is important to note that cameras are not allowed inside the cave, to prevent any damage or disturbance to the natural environment.

Embark on an unforgettable adventure in Belize and add the ATM Cave to your itinerary. This incredible site offers a perfect combination of natural beauty, cultural and historical significance, and thrilling adventure, making it an absolute must-see destination that is guaranteed to create a lasting impression. And to make your trip even more memorable, book a stay at Chan Chich Lodge, where you can enjoy a variety of tours to nearby attractions such as the Tikal ruins in Guatemala and the Maya ruins of Xunantunich and Lamanai. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the best of Belize. Start planning your unforgettable adventure today!

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