Xunantunich
Historic Sites • Ancient Ruins
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8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
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2-3 hours
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  • MDMensch
    381 contributions
    7 TIPS to maximize your enjoyment.
    This is the second-largest archeological site in Belize and well worth the visit. 1. Avoid the afternoon heat and the lines that can form at the river ferry by arriving when the site opens for the day. Whether morning or afternoon, bring sunscreen and water. Both will be helpful as you summit the Castillo. 2. A tour of the site, inclusive of ferry and drive to the site, will take ~2/3 hours. 3. Park entry is $5 USD per person. 4. Tours Guides can be hired once you cross the river (on the hand-cranked ferry). All the guides generally have similar talking points and are doled out/assigned as you arrive (without your input). Cost of the guide is $40 USD. 5. While it's nice to have a trained professional to guide you, Wikipedia has a great summary of the site and an overview of Mayan history. Also, there is a great museum just beyond the park's entrance with most of the information shared by our guide .. would highly recommend visiting even if you opt for a tour guide. 6. Families of Howler Monkeys can regularly be seen at the archeological site (in the trees above the Ball Court) or in the trees on the road leading into the park. 7. The hand-cranked ferry has a professional operator. However, he'll let your child try their hand at the crank if you ask.
    Visited January 2020
    Traveled with family
    Written December 31, 2019
  • Zeeq V
    1 contribution
    Having a tour guide is a night and day difference at the ruins
    We rented a car from Belize City to San Ignacio so we could explore the ruins and waterfalls. At first we went to Cahal Pech. I don’t typically like using your guides bc I think of large slow groups that are hard to hear unless you’re at the very front. We walked around and climbed the ruins but you don’t really learn about the history because there aren’t any information posts. The next day we drove to Xunantunich. At the ferry, a tour guide named Eddie Panti asked if we wanted a tour. We quickly had to decide since we had already begun loading into the hand-cranked ferry. We said yes and he got into our car and rode with us to the top. Eddie is a local to the area and had an immense amount of knowledge about the trees, animals and most importantly the history of the Mayan Ruins. We learned so much that we would’ve otherwise never known. We booked him for tours to go zip lining, cave tubing, and Caracol the next days. He took us to unique spots at each, told us about the archeologists he’s worked with from around the world to excavate the ruins and so much more! I guarantee that our experience would not have been the same if it wasn’t for Eddie and 100% recommend to book a tour guide at the ferry in Xunantunich when exploring the ruins. His prices were also less than the tours we had seen posted online too, but that could’ve been because we used our own car.
    Visited March 2022
    Traveled as a couple
    Written March 30, 2022
  • Lesley B
    8 contributions
    Breathtaking views
    I mainly wanted to write this review in order to give a shout out to Dino, one of the independent tour guides at the ferry entrance. My group of 6 looked at different tour companies, and found them all to be quite expensive per person. We were staying in nearby San Ignacio, and instead booked 2 taxis to drive us (3 in each taxi) and they waited for us in the parking lot while we were touring. Taking a taxi allowed us to be the first ones there at 8am, and we had the whole place to ourselves before other tourists started to arrive. We met Dino at the ferry entrance, and gladly paid his tour guide fee because he definitely enhanced our understanding of Mayan culture. He's a great value for a party of 6, and took his time with us in climbing up the many structures and answering all of our questions. El Castillo is the tallest structure, and worth the climb up. Xunantunich is an impressive structure to see and worth the effort to get there. Arrange your own transport, get a guide at the ferry, and be sure to bring water, sunscreen and bug spray! You will be treated to an archaeological delight!
    Visited July 2021
    Written July 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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Lisa G
Tacoma, WA18 contributions
Sep 2022
Getting to this site is half the fun. I would recommend paying for a guide to fully understand the history of this amazing place, otherwise there are no signs letting you know what you are seeing. Our guide, we got before we crossed the river. The hand cranked ferry (free) takes you across a small river, before you drive up to the site. Amazing trees, history and very close to San Ignacio. With our guide, we were there 1-2 hours. Lunch at Bennie's restaurant (near the ferry), completed this morning trip and we recommend the pibil.
Written September 6, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

OnAir318202
3 contributions
May 2019
My wife and I were staying in St. Ignacio just about 3 miles away and also visited Kahal Peche. Both were amazing but Xunantunich was a large city and is still largely unexcavated. It has the largest pyrimid in the area and you can still climb it. From the top you can see well into Guatemala and we could see where we were staying in St Ignacio and the forest surrounding Kahal Peche. There are independent guides which you can hire, but negotiate the price first, or you can wing it. I liked our guide (though I didn't negotiate first) and we learned a lot. After our tour we continued to explore, it was a wonderful experience. The architecture and friezes (probably not using this word right) were amazing. I would go back in a New York second..
Written April 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

amberdaniels
Torrance, CA72 contributions
Jun 2021
Xunantunich is definitely one of the most historic tourist sites to visit in Belize. We were told the tour companies drive in and start to arrive to the ruins around 10:30/11am. We knew we wanted to go early to avoid crowds and get the best pictures. If you have your own car or take public transportation to the ruins, we recommend getting there around 9. You need about an hour to comfortably explore the ruins. When you get there, there is a little "ferry" that goes across the river (cars and people go on it together but people have to get out of the car) before driving another 3-5 minutes up to the parking lot. We looked up information prior to visiting, so we didn't feel like we needed a tour guide but they are available at the entrance of the ruins to pay for while visiting. The entrance fee is 10 Belize dollars or 5 American dollars. We went during covid, so the top of the pyramid (El Castillo) is closed, but you can still climb up quite a bit.
Written July 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Steven I
16 contributions
Mar 2020
We traveled to the ruins via horseback. Horses were supplied by Hanna stables. this was very enjoyable traveling along the river. Once at the ruins we met our guide named Jose' or chicky. He was fabulous. He started in the small museum looking at the tablets they recovered and explained the Ball game the Mayans played. Jose' also identified local trees and shared he knowledge with us which he learned from the archeologists he shadowed most summers.
Written March 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ann D
New Windsor, MD9 contributions
Feb 2021 • Couples
While we originally intended to tour the site without a guide, we changed our mind on arrival and are so glad we did! Eddie was incredibly knowledgeable about Mayan history, the ruins and the excavation work ( which is ongoing), Belizean history and the local flora and fauna! We would have missed so much without Eddie’s friendly, flowing fount of knowledge.

The site is much larger than we imagined. It was at one time a city of 100,000 people. There is much more freedom to access the sites than would be possible in the US- very little is restricted. It was amazing to see areas that have only recently been excavated and there are many areas still covered. The views are spectacular. Access involves climbing steep steps, sometimes slippery: wear good walking shoes!

Eddie also pointed out many edible plants and let us try them, described the medicinal use of plants, and how various trees are used in building. He brought our attention to the calls of howler monkeys in the canopies ( unfortunately we didn’t see any), parrots flying overhead, iguanas, and huge termite nests. He showed us shards of pottery that can be found barely buried in the dirt.

Xunantunich is fascinating and I highly recommend seeing it if you are in Cayo. Do yourself a favor and hire a guide ( they’re waiting at the ferry entrance). If I were you, I’d ask for Eddie!
Written February 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Richard Dye
6 contributions
Dec 2019
Xunantunich (it takes longer to learn how to pronounce it than it does to go there and enjoy it) is surprisingly wonderful. We have visited most of the main pyramids in Mexico and we've been to Machu Picchu. Still Xunantonich is special for several reasons.

1. It is a short taxi ride from San Ignacio. Any cabbie can get you there and back for about twenty bucks.

2. The last 100 yards are covered in a HAND PULLED ferry across the river. Low danger, great views and fun.

3. The grounds of Xunantonich are extremely simple to navigate and the interpretive material is sufficient.

4. If you go early (8:00 or 8:30) there will be very few people there. By 10:30, the joint is jumpin'.

5. Clmbing the pyramids is easy if you are willing to scale them on your hands and feet, the way that the Mayans did.
Written January 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JATBigsky
Bozeman, MT103 contributions
Jan 2020
We journeyed to Zunantunich from Belize city (about 2 hours) and it really gives you the reality of life in most of Belize. This is not what you see in resorts by any means, but the countryside and way of life for average people. The Temple & ruins are fascinating and the fact that you are looking down on Guatemala from the top is quite amazing. If you are not somewhat physically fit and have any fear of heights, you would not want to go to the top as the stairs are quite scary with no hand rail. I am glad I did go up as the views are amazing but frankly hoped to be airlifted off as I do have a fear of heights. The guest center is fairly primitive with some small shops. There is a cool hand crank ferry that transports people & cars across a small river to drive in to the ruins. If you want to see the real Belize, skip the resorts and take a drive. Humbling experience for sure!
Written March 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

John S
Saint Clair, MI516 contributions
Dec 2022 • Family
There are guides waiting at the hand ferry. They have ID cards and they take turns on a rotation, so they're not fighting for a turn. When you approach the ferry, a guide will walk up to your car and ask if you want a guide and if you say yes, they'll assign the next guide in the rotation to go with you. I HIGHLY recommend getting a guide. Ours was fantastic. He charged $35 USD for a couple hours, so we added a big tip, he was worth it.

We went early and had the place almost to ourselves. So go early and get rewarded.

Cruise ships; the locals all know the cruise ship times. They cater to those visitors and know there's a tight timeline for them, so if you go during a cruise ship time, we were told the place gets crazy busy as the locals are doing their best to rush them through so they can make it back to dock on time...So if you're not part of a cruise, try to avoid those times.
Written January 4, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

javier g
Bellflower, CA144 contributions
Jul 2022
Highly recommend this site if you don't want to spend all day (and $$$) in Tikal and caracol. We had a private driver. He pulled up to the entrance and we hired a guide. You don't want to walk up the hill!! It was 10bz/person plus we paid about $30/US for a guide. This is a must. We spend time talking to the archeologist that were digging. Great inside information on the ruins and how they are bult. You are able to climb the ruins and see the awesome views.
Written July 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Brian M
Chanhassen, MN38 contributions
Mar 2022 • Couples
We had no idea the history of the Mayan ruins until we visited Caracol and Xunantunich. Both were amazing and I don't think I could pick one over the other. Xunantunich has far more visitors due to its location and ease of access. If you do a tour of any other ruins, you don't need a tour guide for this one. We took a 10 min taxi ride from San Ignacio to the ferry at the river crossing to get into Xunantunich. I would suggest paying the few dollars extra to having the taxi drive you up to the entrance of the park! The one mile walk from the ferry to the entrance is STEEP. Once inside after a $10 Belize admission, you can explore on your own. They have nice restrooms and a small store with beverages too at the entrance. Look fir the taxis that have BVO on the green plate. These are dedicated to travel between the cities at a very cheap rate.
Written March 1, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Xunantunich, Cayo

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