Caracol Maya Ruin Tour with Rio on Pools and Rio Frio Cave

8 hours

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  • Location
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Caracol is a major and dominant site in Maya history, an expansive city covering nearly 6 square miles and rivalling the ancient metropolis of Tikal in size, power, and riches. This is a fantastic site to visit, set high on the Vaca Plateau in the heart of the Chuiquibul Forest Reserve, a subtropical forest south of San Ignacio near the Guatemalan border.

 

Caracol is accessed through the Mountain Pine Ridge, a beautiful area with flowing rivers and hidden limestone caves.

 

A 1.5-hour drive from San Ignacio up rough dirt roads, passing through small Maya villages and scenic countryside brings, us to the sprawling archaeological site of Caracol.  Here you will learn about the anthropology, archaeology, and flora and fauna of the area, including rare and endangered wildlife such as Keel-billed Motmots, Tapirs, Jaguars, Oscillated Turkeys, Gibnut (the “Royal Rat”) and Coatimundis.

 

Caracol was a huge population centre at its peak, with over 150,000 inhabitants and 30,000 structures, including an astronomical observatory. It was the largest metropolis in the Maya Lowlands during the Classic Period, built with elaborate city planning and complex agricultural systems.

 

This site as hidden for many centuries by the trees in the tropical broadleaf forest and today you might catch a glimpse of howler monkeys in the mammoth trees towering over the ancient Maya ballcourts and plazas.

 

Revel at the engineering and architectural sophistication of the Maya people as you climb up the temple pyramid structure of Caana (Sky Temple), the highest man-made building in Belize still to this day. Once at the top, nearly 135 feet above the courtyards below, you will get impressive panoramic views of Belize and neighbouring Guatemala.

 

The histories of the inhabitants of Caracol are documented by scribes of the past in hieroglyphics and carvings on the monuments, stelae, wall facades and altars that are found throughout the site.  Caracol has a very unique history from other major ancient cities in the region, and your guide will illuminate the rich and complicated past of this glorious civilization with a fully guided tour of the excavated portions of the Caracol site.

 

After touring the ruins, refresh with drinks and a picnic lunch. We then continue back through the Pine Ridge where we take a break at the Rio On Pools, a series of natural swimming holes, and the lush Rio Frio cave, to cool down and relax in the clear water.

About
Location

Bê-li-xê

Things to keep in mind