Mayan Ruins: Xunantunich Ruins
After exploring the CheChem Ha cave, we headed over to nearby Xunantunich ruins, a former city of the Mayans in Belize. We took a ferry ride over the Mopan river and Mynor dropped us off with our tour guide to see Xunantunich. We were excited since it was the first time seeing some of the Mayan ruins and our guide was fantastic A+ grade.
Side note: I must say that all of our guides during the trip are fantastic and full of information about their country. You can tell they have a lot of pride in their homeland and enthusiastically share this knowledge when they can. You cannot visit any of these ruins or caves in Belize without an official licensed tour guide.
History Lesson: This ancient city was built around the preclassic era and grow exponentially in size around AD600. It was generally used as a civic ceremonial site + held around 200,000 people at it’s peak. The farmers who served the people living in this city lived in their own villages nearby.
Apparently, the site was left in abandonment around AD750 and nobody knows why. The theory or hypothesis is due to some violent force such as war but who really knows! I prefer the spooky mystical hypothesis!
It was astounding to learn the Mayans built their cities with certain temples or tall structures and painted them in different colors in according to the cardinal directions. The Mayans studied the weather, the calendar – along with the seasons and astronomy. They even know when an eclipse would occur!
During the tour, our guide would also inform us about what trees were nearby and what was their use back then and today. He also pointed out various birds if any were spotted. They worshipped the normal gods you’d expect like the sun and rain god but also the corn god as it was a staple part of their diet.
It was a bit nerve-wracking to climb up all the way to the top but once there, the view was beautiful! You could see the border into Guatemala and all the luscious green trees and foliage. What’s more is that because it’s well…Belize – there are no guard rails or anything! Someone can easily slip and fall or get too close to the edge and WOMP! Fatal accident!
I can only imagine during high season at the sheer number of people this ruin probably has. Would not be surprised if more than just a few people have gotten hurt and these aren’t even the biggest or tallest ruins! (Caracol is the biggest ruin in Belize and we also visited neighboring legendary Tikal in Guatemala as well)
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