Myan Ruin (Xunantunich) and Blue Hole
Cost: $100 USD pp (4+ people)
$135 USD pp (2 or 3 people)
What to Bring: Bug repellant, sun screen, camera, bathing suit and towel.
Time: 7am to 5pm
Intensity: 2 to 3
Included: lunch, drinks
If you are hearing the word Xunantunich for the first time, you might ask “what is Xunantunich?” It is a small area of archaeological ruins located near the Mopan River, in southern Belize. Xunantunich means “stone Woman” or “Maiden of the rock” in the Yucatec dialect. These names are derived from the image of a woman depicted in one of the paintings.
These ruins represent the period of AD 650- 1000 of Mayan civilization when the people had mastered the art of construction. Residential structures spread over 22 acres were found in this site. It seems Xunantunich was abandoned in AD 900 and was again occupied in post classic period. Castillo, a 40m tall building, is one of the tallest Mayan buildings in Belize. The causeways, ball courts and platform mounds excavated here prove that they were far ahead of their generation.
Xunantunich was the first excavated Mayan site in Belize that was opened for the public. Though it is smaller compared to the other Mayan sites, it consists of the tallest structures. The huge statue of the Sun God, El Castillo, and the 130-foot tall pyramid are a couple of structures that attract visitors.
In the 1800s, Thomas Gann excavated Xunantunich. He used dynamite to blast the site; this destroyed most of the artifacts. Other excavations after this were equally unreliable with most of the artifacts being destroyed or vanishing. It was only in the 1990s that careful excavation began. Archaeologists discovered 2 altars and 8 stelae. Stelaes found at various other locations were carved and designed, but the ones found at Xunantunich were plain.
The three most remarkable segments of Xunantunich are the elite residential structures, the middle class residential structures and the ceremonial center. The six plazas of the city were surrounded by 25 palaces and several temples. Very brutal games were played in the ball court complex where the losers were put to death.
This particular tour allows you to travel on 3 of the 4 major highways in Belize. It also allow you to see the true country side of Belize while enjoying the breath taking view of the mountains.