An Afternoon at Xunantunich Mayan Ruins

El Castillo is the tallest temple at Xunantunich
Reading Time: 3 mins

Xunantunich is my favourite Maya site in Belize. And it’s not because it is one of the most popular archeological sites or because it is very near to my hometown of San Ignacio.

It’s because it brings me great memories: memories of peaceful Sunday hikes, memories of spending time with good friends there, and memories of how peaceful it is to be on top of El Castillo during early mornings or late afternoons.

When I was in Belize in January 2017, it was obligatory for me to go there. It is free to visit for Belizeans on Sundays so of course, I did the trip on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Xunantunich is located in San Jose Succotz, one of the villages that neighbour Guatemala and is a 15-minute drive from San Ignacio.

The site is not big and it took me a little over an hour to leisurely see it all. It can be done without a tour guide but hiring a guide is recommended if you want to hear in-depth facts about its fascinating history.

Xunantunich Photo Essay

xunantunich ferry

A hand-cranked ferry takes you across to Xunantunich

xunantunich entrance

The entrance of Xunantunich. Here you can see the Visitor Center on the right

xunantunich temple

These kids were playing tag, and soon after they started playing soccer with a plastic bottle used as a ball


The view of El Castillo from a far end plaza

el castillo xunan

A large group of local Mennonites were visiting on that day


There were also a few regular tourists

steps to el castillo

The steps to El Castillo

xunantunich arches

Inside El Castillo – Mayan arches are so cool

xunantunich pillars

Reaching the top of El Castillo – The top has four pillars


Front view from on top of El Castillo

back view of el castillo

The view of the back from El Castillo

xunantunich views

El Castillo has a lot of cool views

Benque Viejo

Benque Viejo, the town that borders Guatemala can be seen from up top

xunantunich east frieze

Make sure to check out the East Frieze drawings – for protection its been covered with plaster mold

That’s it for a quick photo tour of Xunantunich. I hope you enjoyed it.



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