CARACOL MAYA RUIN TOUR WITH RIO ON POOLS and RIO FRIO CAVE
- Duration: 8 Hours (approx.)
- Product code: CARACOL
Caracol is a major
and dominant site in Maya history, an expansive city covering nearly 6 square miles
and rivaling the ancient metropolis of Tikal in size, power, and riches. This
is a fantastic site to visit, set high on the Vaca Plateau in the heart of the
Chuiquibul Forest Reserve, a subtropical forest south of San Ignacio near the
Guatemalan border. Caracol is accessed
through the Mountain Pine Ridge, a beautiful area with flowing rivers and
hidden limestone caves.
A 1.5 hour drive
from San Ignacio up rough dirt roads, passing through small Maya villages and
scenic countryside brings, us to the sprawling archaeological site of Caracol. Here you will learn about the anthropology,
archaeology, and flora and fauna of the area, including rare and endangered
wildlife such as Keel-billed Motmots, Tapirs, Jaguars, Oscillated Turkeys,
Gibnut (the “Royal Rat”) and Coatimundis.
Caracol was a huge
population center at its peak, with over 150,000 inhabitants and 30,000
structures, including an astronomical observatory. It was the largest
metropolis in the Maya Lowlands during the Classic Period, built with elaborate
city planning and complex agricultural systems.
This site as hidden for many
centuries by the trees in the tropical broadleaf forest and today you might
catch a glimpse of howler monkeys in the mammoth trees towering over the
ancient Maya ballcourts and plazas.
Revel at the
engineering and architectural sophistication of the Maya people as you climb up
the temple pyramid structure of Caana (Sky Temple), the highest man-made building in Belize still to this day. Once at
the top, nearly 135 feet above the courtyards below, you will get impressive
panoramic views of Belize and neighboring Guatemala.
The histories of
the inhabitants of Caracol are documented by scribes of the past in hieroglyphics
and carvings on the monuments, stelae, wall facades and altars that are found
throughout the site. Caracol has a very
unique history from other major ancient cities in the region, and your guide
will illuminate the rich and complicated past of this glorious civilization
with a fully guided tour of the excavated portions of the Caracol site.
After touring the
ruins, refresh with drinks and a picnic lunch.
We then continue back through the Pine Ridge where we take a break at
the Rio On Pools, a series of natural swimming holes, and the lush Rio Frio
cave, to cool down and relax in the clear water.
7:30 am to 5 pm
What to bring:
Hiking sandals or trainers, towel, small backpack, liter of water, bug
spray, snacks, swim wear with shorts, camera
Age restriction: 4+