Caracol, Cahal Pech and San Ignacio
Caracol is largest Mayan archaeological site in Belize. It is in the Chiquibil Forest Reserve of west-central Belize, just 47 miles from the Mayan city of Tikal (in Guatemala). The name Caracol means “snail” in Spanish and refers to the winding roads leading to the site. Its Mayan name was Oxwitzá -“three hill water” .
Caracol spread out 55 square miles , and at its peak (approx. 650 AD), Caracol’s epicenter, or town, housed about 15,000 people, with 120,000 – 180,000 living in the Caracol “suburbs” – settlements along the paved causeways radiating from the epicenter of Caracol.
Caracol was first occupied around 1200 BC, but its epicenter was not populated until around 650 BC, and was abandoned in approximately 950 AD, with the entire site abandoned by 1050 AD. The temple “Caana” (Sky Place) rises 43.5 meters above plaza below and to this day is the largest man-made structure in Belize. It contains four palaces and three temples.
More than 100 tombs have been excavated, as well as a rich array of hieroglyphic inscriptions.
The important Maya ruins of Cahal Pech are situated close to San Ignacio town, in a panoramic position above the banks of the Macal River that overlooks the confluence of the Macal River and the Mopan River. The site is considered one of the oldest Maya sites in Western Belize, since the first settlement in this area has been dated to as far back as 1200 BC. As many other, even this site was abandoned in the 9th century AC for unknown reasons, it still remains a mystery. The site has different main part: the palace, the acropolis and the temple. The palace up on the hill housed an important family, part of an elite in the Maya society, the acropolis consists of 34 different structures and the tallest temple which is one of them was about 25 meters in height. Today all the entire area is considered an archaeological reserve where excavation are still in progress. Some finds and artefacts are displayed in the little museum close to the site.
Program: daily from Placencia 2 days 1 night
Departure from Placencia in the early morning. We reach the hamming bird road which is the road that connect the south to the North.
Once get close to San Ignacio, we divert to Cahal Pech and visit this beautiful ancient Mayan site.
After the visit we head to San Ignacio for some shopping and a typical lunch.
In the afternoon we head to the Mountain Pine ridge to reach our rainforest lodge for the overnight and dinner.
In the early morning we take our car and we head to Caracol, the way to get is absolutely beautiful.
We will have the chance to take some photo of the landscape.
Once get in Caracol, start the visit and pic nic on the spot.
Move back to Placencia before getting too dark.
What to bring: Water, trekking shoes, short pants, insect repellent, camera.
Duration : 2 full days