Travel through time to the mysterious world of the ancient Maya at Caracol, the largest Mayan site in Belize! Located deep within the Chiquibul Forest Reserve and nestled amid high-canopy jungle, the archeological complex includes five plazas, an astronomic observatory and thousands of buildings. You’ll learn about Caracol’s agricultural practices, sacred rituals and their defeat of Tikal as you tour the site with your knowledgeable guide. This day trip from San Ignacio includes round-trip hotel transport by minivan or SUV.
After a 7 a.m. hotel pickup in San Ignacio, board your comfortable minivan or SUV for the approximate 2.5-hour drive to Caracol, located within the Chiquibul Forest Reserve. En route, stop for a swim at Rio On Pools or Big Rock Falls, located on the Mountain Pine Ridge.Upon arrival, follow your guide on foot along a forest trail, where you’ll learn about regional flora and fauna as you take in the stunning scenery. Observe how the trees of this lowland tropical broadleaf rainforest have taken over, guarding the ancient mysteries of Caracol. You'll see where the Mayans once gazed at the stars, conducted their most sacred rituals, and plotted battles.Begin your tour at the visitor's center, which exhibits a number of artifacts from the site, including a recovered ceremonial altar. Your guide recounts the prehistory of peasants and nobles who built and used the courtyards, residences, and astronomical observatory within the complex. Around midday, enjoy a packed lunch before continuing your tour.View three plaza groups surrounding a central acropolis and two ball courts, along with a number of smaller structures. Visit one of Caracol’s largest buildings, a pyramid called Caana, which rises more than 140 feet (43 meters) above the forest floor.Your guide will point out the many hieroglyphic texts carved on stela, altars, and wall facades. Learn about the discovery of an ornately carved ball-court-marker, interpreted by archeologists as a claim of military victory over Tikal. At the end of your tour, board your coach for the return trip to San Ignacio with drop-off at your hotel around 5 p.m.