Xunantunich is a spectacular ruin perched atop a hill overlooking the Mopan River and the Cayo District, near the border with Guatemala. Cross the Mopan River west of San Ignacio on a hand cranked one- at-a-time vehicle ferry to reach Xunantunich or Maiden of the Rock. The main pyramid known as El Castillo is one of the tallest buildings in Belize rising 130' above the jungle canopy. The reward for climbing to the top with your licensed guide is a spectacular view of the Cayo District and Petén Guatemala.
Xunantunich has six major plazas with more than twenty-five temples and palaces. "El Castillo" (the Castle), the largest rising to 130 feet above the plaza. El Castillo has carved friezes on the east and west sides. The frieze on the east has been preserved and covered with a fibre glass replica of the central mask representing the sun god. Leave Placencia at 6:30 am for the drive to the majestic Hummingbird Highway drive with its karst limestone topography intermixed with orange groves. Turn west at Belmopan toward Guatemala and Xunantunich. On the way home, stop along the Hummingbird Highway to enjoy a refreshing swim in Blue Hole National Park. Return to Placencia in the evening around 7:00 pm.Wear sturdy shoes, long sleeved shirt, long pants and a hat and a swim suit. Bring a camera, binoculars, insect repellent, sunscreen, and plenty of water.Fitness level required: low to moderate