MAYAN SITE OF XUNANTUNICH
Sightseeing, Cultural, Meal included
A fascinating, absolutely unmissable excursion, to discover an important Mayan archaeological site, in a stunning natural setting filled with mysterious presences.
What we will see
- Xunantunich Mayan site
- El Castillo archaeological excavations
- Engravings, friezes, squares, courtyards
- Exhibition Centre
What we will do
- After a coach transfer, we visit the important Mayan ceremonial centre of Xunantunich, about 3 km away from the border with Guatemala, situated on a natural limestone ridge from where it is possible to observe the spectacular panorama over the hilly district of Cayo. The name Xunantunich means Stone Woman in the Mayan language. However, the original name of this site is unknown. According to local folklore, the woman in question is the ghost of a woman who has lived on the site since 1892, dressed in white with fiery red eyes. She appears in front of the main temple, climbs the stone stairs and disappears into a wall.
- The site covers 2.6 sq. km and is made up of 6 plazas surrounded by more than 26 temples and palaces, some of which were damaged during an earthquake that was probably the reason for the city being abandoned. There is a partially excavated courtyard, probably used for the sacred ball game. Archaeological excavations have been carried out at the main temple, El Castillo; it is 40 metres high (the second highest building in Belize, after the temple of El Caracol) and has been partially restored. The archaeological excavations have brought to light stucco friezes of particular interest on the east and west facades and various engraved steles, which are displayed here.
- One of the major attractions is the building at the entrance of the site, an Exhibition Centre which illustrates the history of the site.
What you need to know
- We recommend that you book early because only a limited number of places are available.
- There is limited availability of English speaking guides.
- Given the large number of excursions and vehicles, we cannot guarantee that a member of the ship’s crew will be available to assist you in your language.
- Minors under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
- We recommend you bring insect repellent and a hat and that you wear comfortable shoes as we will be walking on rough ground during the visit to the excavations.
- We recommend bringing cash with you to make any purchases because not all stores accept credit cards.
- There will be a 15-20 minute boat transfer from where the ship is anchored to the pier in Belize City from where the vehicles depart.
- The coach transfer from the dock to the Xunantunich archaeological site takes 4 hours (depending on traffic) and the road may be rough in parts.
- This excursion is not available to wheelchair users.
- You must pay a tax upon entry to use your camera within the archaeological site.
- Participants must hold onto and are responsible, for the entire duration of the excursion, for valuables, cameras, handbags and other personal belongings. Costa Cruises and the Tour Operator are not responsible for any loss, theft or damage during the on-land excursions.
- This excursion is not refundable. For further information, please see the general terms and conditions at the Excursions Office.