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Stop At: Xunantunich, Belize
This tour includes a visit to two of the most incredible attractions in Belize, the ruins of the ancient Maya city of Xunantunich and the sapphire waters of the Inland Blue Hole.
Xunantunich Maya Ruins
One of the largest ancient Maya cities ever built, Xunantunich is located approximately 70 miles (110 km) west of Belize City. Constructed on a ridge overlooking the Mopan River, Xunantunich was once home to nearly 100,000 people.
The original name of the site is unknown, but its modern name derives from a Maya term that means “Stone Woman.” First rediscovered in 1892, many visitors to the site reported seeing a ghostly woman who was reported to haunt the structure known as “El Castillo” (The Castle).
Still the second-largest manmade structure in the country, El Castillo measures 130 feet (40 meters) tall. Built as a temple pyramid, El Castillo is located in the exact center of the town.
Today, Xunantunich is located approximately one mile from the Guatemalan border. During its heyday during the Classic Period of the Maya civilization (around 600-700 AD), Xunanutinch competed with nearby cities, including Naranjo, Caracol, and Tikal (which lies just a few miles over the border in Guatemala).
The Inland Blue Hole
Not to be confused with the Blue Hole that lies on the offshore reef, the Inland Blue Hole is located in the St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park near the capital of Belize, Belmopan.
First designated a national park in 1986, St. Herman’s is managed by the Belize Audobon Society as it sits in the middle of one of the most ecologically diverse areas of the country. Over 200 species of birds have been recorded in the area, including the red-legged honeycreeper and the piratic flycatcher. There is also a wide selection of wildlife in the park, including three big cat species.
Duration: 3 hours