Cayo is the largest district in Belize and is a world leader in ecotourism. If you are vacationing in the pristine Cayo District; you must definitely visit the following Maya Temples and Ceremonial Caves:
Xunantunich or Maiden of the Rock is situated on the Western Highway across the river from the village of San Jose Succotz. This major ceremonial center can be reached by ferry daily and it is only 1.5 Kilometer (one mile) from some lovely rapids of the Mopan River. This Classic Period site provides an impressive view of the entire river valley. The site core occupies only 300 square meters but the periphery covers several square kilometers.
Actun Tunichil Muknal (Cave of the Stone Sepulchre) is one of the most impressive caves in the Maya region that is named after a sacrificial chamber deep within the cave. It has rare altars in front of which the Maya elite collected and offered their blood. This wet cave is located within the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve near Teakettle village in the Cayo district. It is an hour and fifteen-minute drive from Chaa Creek, after which there is a 45-minute hike. The hike includes three stream crossings and takes you through the 6,700 acre. The trail is flat, clean and shaded. At the end of the hike you arrive at the Actun Camp where you will have a picnic lunch before entering the cave.
Barton Creek Cave – Glide through a remote underground water cave system in a canoe equipped with powerful spotlights. It is believed that the Maya once used this cave for ritual burials. Access to this cave is through a picturesque Mennonite farm community. While canoeing through the cave see large and colorful formations, skeletal remains and other cultural artifacts left behind by the Maya centuries ago. Swim in its cool waters by a small waterfall inside the cave. From the cave’s entrance it’s about a mile through the cave to the stopping point.
Caves Branch -Caves tell the history of Belize, having been an intricate part of the Maya religion and culture. The Maya used caves as ceremonial sites and evidence of these activities can be found for substantial distances inside these caves. Relics, principally in the form of shards of pottery, are very common.
Combine river cave tubing and cave exploration on this adventure where you explore spectacular crystal formations over 5,000,000 years old that cast eerie shadows into the black abyss as you explore and experience the most sacred area of the ancient Maya.
Jaguar Paw – Belize boasts one of the most extensive cave systems in Central America which the ancient Maya utilized for shelter and ceremonial purposes. Here is an opportunity to experience this fascinating underworld in a fun, unique way. Your tour will follow a choice of trails through a forest with an abundance of flora and fauna. At the end of the trail you will tube down the Caves Branch River system relaxing on inflated tubes, allowing the gentle current of the river to draw you into and through amazing caves and caverns. Head lamps are provided, and the guides will make sure that nothing, including Maya artifacts, escapes your roving eyes. This tour can depart at anytime but may not be available on Wednesdays. This is a guided tour…all equipment is provided.
Comments and thoughts are appreciated as always! What are your favorite Belize Tours?