Caracol Mayan Ruins in Belize
Caracol is one of the most interesting maya sites to visit while you are staying in Belize. Caracol’s ancient Mayan name was Uxwitza, or “Three Water Hill.” Its Early Classic name was Ux Witz Ajaw, or “Three Hills Lord.” In 1938 local British head archeologist renamed the ruins Caracol, meaning “snail shell” in Spanish, because of the the winding roads leading to the site.
Caracol is known as one of the largest Mayan site in Belize (bigger than Belize City), and one of the largest in the Mayan world. The main area alone is 15 square miles and once had a population of about 120,000 people. The main pyramid at Caracol – Caana (meaning sky palace), houses 4 palaces and 3 temples and remains the tallest building in modern Belize, with a height of approximately 141 feet.
Along with Caana, structures at Caracol include 24 known stelae, 24 alters, a ball court, reservoirs, causeways, 5 plazas, an astronomic observatory, central acropolis, two ball courts, over 35,000 known buildings and more than 100 tombs. However, little of Caracol has been excavated except its central core, including 3 plaza groups, the acropolis, the two ball courts, Caana, several smaller structures and a visitors center.
The ruins are not well cleared nor excavated as are other ruins in the region. A visit to Caracol is often combined with a stop at the Río On Pools, or one or more of the other attractions in the Mountain Pine Ridge area, and its location in a forest reserve allows for great bird-watching and the chance to see other wildlife.
Caracol is located about 25 miles south of the town of San Ignacio in the foothills of the Maya Mountains within the Chiquibul Forest Reserve in western Belize near the border with Guatemala. This forest reserve is a largely undeveloped tract of primary and secondary tropical rain and pine forests.
If visiting Caracol is on your adventure agenda while visiting Belize feel free to choose Belize Concierge Excellent. We are able to arrange this tour from San Ignacio or Belize City.
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