Xunantunich Archaeological Reserve

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Xunantunich hand-cranked ferry in Belize

Easily accessible from San Ignacio, western Belize’s hub for jungle adventures, Xunantunich is accessed by a hand-cranked ferry over the Mopan River. This Maya site sits across from San Jose Succotz Village, which borders Benque Viejo del Carmen — the closest Belizean settlement to the Guatemalan border.

Xunantunich tour

El Castillo Xunantunich

Xunantunich, meaning “Stone Woman” or “Maiden of the Rock” in Maya, is one of the most popular Maya temples in Belize and it is unusual in that it grew in importance during the period 700-1000 CE when most other ancient Maya population centers were declining.

The core of the site has four main groups of buildings, the highest of which is El Castillo, which towers 130 feet above the plaza and has distinctly carved friezes on the wast and west sides. From El Castillo, you can see sweeping views of nearby villages and across Guatemala. It is a great spot to just sit and enjoy a nice quiet and peaceful morning or afternoon.

Things to bring on tour

  • Hiking shoes
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Camera
  • Hat and sunglasses
  • Cash for Souvenirs

Entrance fee and what’s included

  • $5.00 USD entrance fee per person
  • Non-guided experience

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