Although one of the most challenging Belize Maya Site to reach, the trip to Caracol, Spanish for “Snail”, is also one of the most scenic drives. This early morning departure takes you past Maya Villages, through pristine mountain pine forest, and deep into the tropical, secondary rainforest of the Maya Mountains.

You may be able to take a glimpse of tapirs, jaguars, or ocelots, as they break their forest cover to cross the road. The sprawling site contains huge Ceiba, Mahogany, and Sapodilla trees and is superb for birding.

Although it was discovered in 1938, major excavation efforts, at Caracol, only began in early 1985. Archaeologists now believe it to be a larger site than Tikal. There are more than 36,000 structures spread across 55 square miles. The largest pyramid, “Sky Palace,” rises 141 feet and is the tallest human-made structure in Belize. More than 250 burials have been discovered, including two belonging to a king and his royal family.

A stele (inscription in stone) records Caracol’s victory, in a war, with Tikal in 562 AD and a victory over Naranjo in 631AD!.

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