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“Take a tour bus to Caracol - don't rent a car on your own.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Caracol Mayan Ruins

Caracol Mayan Ruins
65 km (40 mi) south of San Ignacio, Belize
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Top Rated
$120*
and up
Caracol Day Trip from San Ignacio
Ranked #5 of 65 things to do in Cayo
Activities: Viewing wildlife
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Attraction details
Owner description: This 30-acre complex is the largest Mayan ruin in Belize.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Take a tour bus to Caracol - don't rent a car on your own.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2010

We wanted to drive to Caracol on our own so that we could stop along the way and take our time. Big mistake. First of all, the roads are not well marked or maintained, so even in our 4 wheel SUV, the trip was bumpy.

Secondly, the area is rumored to be unsafe. Supposedly, a group of Guatemalans have been robbing people at Caracol, so there is now an armed escort to take groups around. However, no one knows when the armed escort runs, so if you go on your own, you may not have the escort to protect you.

We ended up not stopping at Caracol because we missed the armed escort, but on the way we stopped by Rio falls and Rio cave and that was very nice. We also stopped by Francis Ford Coppola's lodge, which was beautiful.

Again, if you plan on visiting Caracol, take a tour bus. The ride is long and the road is rough.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Medford, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Amazing ruins, but a word of caution”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2009

Caracol is an amazing representation of the ancient Mayan ruins. It is largely renovated and gives you an amazing experience, guided or unguided.
The road is is amazingly difficult, requiring a high clearance vehicle at the least. It's a heck of a trip complete with armed military escort. The ruins offer breathtaking views across the jungle and the climb up to the top will give you a workout.

There is a large group of howler monkeys on the premises. Something to be marveled at. But please, be aware. One unfortunate little monkey, Jack is often an unfortunate tourist trap. This little monkey was likely stripped from its mother's dead arms for the sole purpose of attracting naive tourists. He'll probably be euthanized when he gets too old. We thought we'd had a rare opportunity but it turns out all we were doing was supporting a cruel and immoral practice against an already threatened species. Please, don't support this practice. Resist the urge to take pictures with these little monkeys.

Read more about this here: (--)

Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia
Level Contributor
70 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 114 helpful votes
“Very Impressive Mayan Site”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2009

We spent a week in San Ignacio and took day trips to several Mayan sites in the region, and one of our favorites was going out to Caracol. It definitely takes a full day to see the site, and there are many many tour companies in San Ignacio that will offer to take you up. We used a small company named 'xibulba', with a guide named Cruz who was excellent. It takes about a 2 hour drive up to the site through very rustic roads, with beautiful views through the Mountain Pine Ridge Preserve and the Chiquibul national forest, and you should definitely have time to check out some of the sites there such as the Rio On Pools and the Rio Frio Cave (make sure you have your guide stop there). The site is very remote, and the week we visited some tourists were held up by gunpoint by Guatemalans (the border is quite close and very porous), so make sure your guide gets the guided Belizean army escort at the entry to the park up to the ruins themselves. We had zero problem and it's not nearly as intimidating as it sounds, and we didn't feel unsafe at all at the ruins themselves.

The ruins themselves are spectacular, and it will take at least 3.5-4.5 hours to walk through them all, taking time to climb all the ruins that you like. The most impressive is the main temple/palace of Caana. It's simply spectacular, and you can't truly gauge how immense it is until you climb up it (in several stages) and see the 3 smaller temples atop the main pyramid. It may not be as tall as some of the higher temples at Tikal or Chichen, but it's much more massive in diameter and a wonderful site to behold. The guide can make or break your day, so make sure you get a good vibe off of whoever you go with. It's a little out of the way, but a very worthwhile day and strongly recommended if you have any interest in Mayan archaeology. It's a bit more out of the way than a lot of the more trendy sites, and there were no crowds whatsoever to contend with, further adding to a great experience.

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Corsham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Amazing Mayan Adventure”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2008

Caracol was the first of three Mayan sites we visited and will remain with me as my favourite.

Firstly our guide was incredible, very knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

Secondly the drive to the site though the most amazing changing scenery from beetle infected pine forest to lush virgin rainforest was great adventure and finally the site it’s self is amazing.

Few tourists are allowed to visit the large site so as you walk around you rarely see another person which gives the feeling of being the first person there seeing and discovering it’s delights. All the Mayan structures are vast/awesome, and if you feel energetic enough and brave enough (I have a bit of a height phobia) the views across the rainforest canopy are out of this world.

Our base for this excursion was Francis Ford Coppolas Blancaneaux Lodge - I'd recommend it to anyone – I’ve never stayed at a friendlier place.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
49 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Loved the Ruins (but not the tour company)”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2008

I went to Caracol today and I thought it was great. It's not as tall as Chichen Itza but it felt like was. Unlike Chichen, we were able to climb the main temple called Canaa. Climbing it helped me to guage and appreciate the size of it. It's really amazing how they were able to build such a huge structure. There are also two reminants of ball courts and several reservoirs. The temples and altars were covered with hieroglyphics which recorded the culture and history of the Mayan people.

I do not recommend going with the tour company in San Ignatius called Mayawalk Tours. This company charges $75 US and do not provide anything extra. The van we rode sounded and looked like it was going fall apart... granted the 2 hour bus ride was unpaved. The lunch was 2 bologne sandwiches, fruit, a dessert and a small juice. They did not provide any water and it was not available for purchase. If you're up for it, you can drink the tap water. Be sure to bring lots of water. It gets very hot here.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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