8 Best Mayan Ruins in Belize Caracol. Caracol. Tucked inside the Chiquibul Forest is one of the most important Mayan ruins in Belize: Caracol. Lamanai . Lamanai . Altun Ha . Aerial view of Altun Ha . Xunantunich . El Castillo, Xunantunich . Cahal Pech . Cahal Pech . Lubaantun. Lubaantun. El Pilar. Mayan ruins at El Pilar. Cerros. Seaside Mayan ruins at Cerros.
Pronounced in various ways, Xunantunich in the Mayan language means “Sculpture of Lady” or “Stone Lady” from the Mopan term “Xunan” (noble lady) and Yucatec term “Tuunich” (sculpturing stone).
Violent crime – such as sexual assault, home invasions, armed robberies, and murder – are common even during daylight hours and in tourist areas. A significant portion of violent crime is gang related. Due to high crime, travelers are advised to exercise caution while traveling to the south side of Belize City.
Xunantunich is located inland, about a 2-3 hour drive away from Belize City . To get there by bus, catch a bus toward Benque Viejo del Carmen at the main terminal. Tell the conductor that you are heading here, and they will drop you off for $1Bz.
And now, a pronunciation lesson: Xunantunich is pronounced shoo-nan-too-nitch. It means “stone woman” in the Mayan language, because the ruins are supposedly haunted.
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Dr. Thomas Gann
” Caracol ” is a modern name from Spanish: caracol , “snail, shell”, but more generally meaning spiral or volute-shaped— apparently on account of the winding access road that led to the site.
I think what makes San Ignacio a good place to stay is that it’s a nice small town, it has lots of accommodation for any budget and has a few tour operators where you can arrange the cave trips, ziplining, Mayan site tours, etc. A mayan site is about 200 m from the lodge and well worth visiting .