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“Driving to Caracol on your own (self drive), it's worth the visit!!!”

Caracol Mayan Ruins
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Rio On Pool, Rio Frio Cave and Caracol Maya Ruin Tour
Ranked #3 of 73 things to do in Cayo
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: This 30-acre complex is the largest Mayan ruin in Belize.
Reviewed March 30, 2014

Driving to Caracol on your own (self drive)

Driving to Caracol was one of our highlights in the two weeks we spent in Belize. The road to Caracol was incredibly scenic and the isolated ruins were unique and worth the trek (as many reviews indicate). We had a fantastic guide to Tikal who gave us extensive information on Tikal, but also referred to Caracol among other Mayan Ruins so we did not hire a guide, although there were some available (unsure of the fee) at the entrance to the ruins. We spent much of our time alone or with less than 5 people as we explored the ruins. There was a full family of howler monkeys barking In a tree on the main trail as we entered. A flock of oro pendula birds and their fascinating nests among other birds, butterflies, and lizards are within the grounds. Make sure to pack your lunch and plenty of water as the supplies are basically nonexistent at Caracol.

Both roads (below) were incredibly bumpy in areas (it was primarily a red dirt road; until closer to the ruins where it was paved for a few kilometres). During our visit in March we did not need to use the 4WD - but it would be necessary in wetter months. High clearance is recommended on these roads.

Caracol via Cristo Rey
We drove to Caracol via Santa Elena - Cristo Rey - San Antonio. This road was a longer distance and clearly had less maintenance. The bumps in the road were very deep. We later discovered that tour guides exclusively use the other road through Georgeville (which we have left details for below). There is a gas station in San Antonio Village. It took us nearly 2hrs to get to the military convoy checkpoint going this way - but would be faster taking the Georgeville route.

Caracol via Georgeville
We returned via Georgeville, which had been maintained to a greater degree. Thereu were long stretches of rough washboard, but fewer deep bumps. Other vehicles travel quite quickly on this road (50kmh or so) and can kick up quite a bit of dust in he dry season. Keep your eyes open for wildlife (we saw a grey fox bounding down the road).

Directions to the Convoy via Georgeville (leaving 9:30am, returning 2pm)
16 kilometres from Georgeville to the Mountain Pine Ridge Park Entrance (there is a checkpoint and gate)
23 kilometres from the checkpoint at the Mountain Pine Ridge Park Entrance to Douglas Da Silva Station (where the military convoy starts). There were only 6 vehicles escorted by 1 army jeep when we went. There is also a washroom.

18  Thank Pat B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 30, 2014

You will think you're going the wrong way. That surely this incredibly bumpy, terrible and often unmarked road isn't right...but it is. The trip is 2.5-3 hours each way to/from Western Highway but there are some cool stops on the way and the ruins are pretty spectacular when you arrive. The Caana Pyramid is still the highest building in Belize and there are several other great sites on the property.

A few tips -
- After you leave Western Highway, you won't see any signs for Caracol until you hit Malfunction Junction, a ways in. If you hit the town of San Antonio though, you're heading the right way.
- The food for purchase at the sight is random and very limited. We were stuck eating Ritz Crackers and Oreos for lunch so plan accordingly. They do sell bottled water.
- Rio on Pools makes an excellent and refreshing pit stop on the way home.
- Don't even think about attempting this on your own if you don't have four-wheel drive.
- The drive there took longer than expected so we missed the morning military escort that covers the last 22 miles of the drive. They still let us travel on but we did have to sign in/out a two points along the drive.

2  Thank krdp77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 25, 2014

This was the first ruin site I have ever been to and we thought it was amazing. The drive to the ruins is like no other with an extremely long and slow bumpy ride on a terrible road through the jungle. However once at the site the ruins make the drive worth every second. My wife and I had a guide from the Mariposa Jungle Lodge by the name of Augusto and he was simply amazing as well. Augusto was very knowledgeable and allows the tour to be modified to what you are interested in and allows you to see the areas you what. Augusto is certified through the Belizian government as a tour guide and his knowledge was evident from the beginning to the end. Augusto took the time to point out everything from fruit trees, snakes, monkeys, and everything else about Belize. Be prepared for a lot of walking and numerous stairs. Drink lots of water as well.

3  Thank Bryan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 22, 2014

This site was worth the bumpy 45 min road trip... had great weather. My guide Roberto, was very knowledgeable about the ruins and the surrounding nature trail, where he talked about certain medicines, and first-aid techniques that can be found in the plants. The tour was priced at $119 on the cruise ship, but I paid $40 on the dock from a vendor in an office. The van was somewhat old, but in good working condition with A/C. I was very satisfied with the tour...

4  Thank EZFuentes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2014

These are really interesting ruins. We went with a guide (Eddie), which was great, as we learned much more than had we tried to do it ourselves. The road there was difficult, but was just part of the adventure. We were almost the only ones there. Excellent restroom facilities, too. Be sure and walk to the top of Caana. Great view. You'll be glad you did.

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

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