Caracol Mayan Ruins Belize Largest Maya City

Caracol is a ruin of a large ancient Maya city located in what is now the Cayo District of Belize. It was once one of the largest Maya cities ever constructed, covering approximately 150 square miles and containing more than 35,000 structures. It was inhabited from around 600 BC to 900 AD, and at its peak supported over 140,000 people. Caracol is particularly known for its impressive structures, stelae, hieroglyphic inscriptions, and wealth of carved and painted decorations.

Caracol Mayan Ruins Belize Largest Maya City

Caracol Mayan Ruins Belize Largest Maya City Summary

  • Attraction Name: Caracol Mayan Ruins
  • Country: Belize
  • Continent: North America
  • Capital Name: Belmopan
  • Language: English
  • Currency: Belize Dollar
  • Nationality: Belizean

Caracol Mayan Ruins Belize is an ancient archaeological site, which contains a series of Mayan monuments and structures that have been preserved for more than 1,500 years. It is an amazing historical location to explore, containing many dramatic structures and monuments, such as the Temple of the Masonry Altars, carved stelae, and an exceptionally large pyramid.

Additionally, the site offers breathtaking views of the surrounding area and provides an insight into the ancient Mayan civilization. Visiting Caracol not only lets people see a piece of history, but also offers a unique opportunity to learn about the cultures and practices of the ancient Mayan people.

Tell Us About Caracol Mayan Ruins Belize

The Caracol Mayan Ruins are located in the Cayo District of Belize, near the Guatemalan border. They are the largest set of Mayan ruins in Belize, covering more than 150 square miles, and date back to about 600 A.D. Initially thought to be an outpost because of its extreme isolation, the city-state was later discovered to be a highly developed center of politics, economics, and social life. Caracol is believed to have been an important Mayan city during its peak, estimated to have reached nearly 150,000 people at its height. It is interesting to note that at this time, London’s population was only 50,000 people.

The ruins include a large protected, plaza that is over 500 feet wide and over 1000 feet long, several pyramid complexes, including the massive Caana (Sky Place) Temple, and a central acropolis with impressive carved stelaes that give us a glimpse into the culture, religion, and politics of the time. There have also been a number of excavations that have uncovered artifacts and evidence of early Mayan life.

The Mayan site of Caracol has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list since 2018, named as a “cultural landscape” that offers “a powerful testimony to the political and economic organization of the Maya civilisation in the region”. Caracol is associated with the mythical stories of Caana, the sacred mythical maiden, and Ahki’hix Pop, the great warrior from the mythical stories.

What are the Things to do in Caracol Mayan Ruins Belize?

Things to do in Caracol Mayan Ruins Belize are:

  1. Explore the Main Plazas: Caracol is home to the world’s largest pre-Colombian Maya site. Atop the steep slopes of the Vaca Mountain range, there are two large plazas and over 30 ancient structures. You can explore the expansive plazas, which were once centers of power and commerce, and view the remains of the ancient capitals.
  2. Visit the Great Pyramid: The centerpiece of Caracol is the massive Caana structure, or Great Pyramid, believed to have stood at over 140 feet tall. The Great Pyramid was undoubtedly the home of Caracol’s Mayan royalty, who ruled from the height of its throne. Although the pyramid has been substantially damages by the jungle, enough remains for you to get a sense of its former grandeur.
  3. Warrior’s Staircase: The stucco carvings of a headless figure on the 45 foot tall staircase have become known as “the Warrior,” and have become a symbol for the site. Along with reliving the impressive view from the top of the stairs, the staircase has yielded several artifacts from its excavation, including stellae and pottery.
  4. Rise Above Caracol: Hike to the top of Rio Frio and experience the stunning views of Caracol against the backdrop of the surrounding Mayan Mountains. Take in the jungle vistas to the west, and the awe-inspiring views of the Lamanai Valley to the west.
  5. Learn the Ancient Secrets of Golfo Frio: A significant ancient sporting facility exists in the area known as the golfo or ball court of Caracol. Here, the Maya would have held games such as pitz—the ancient Maya ball sport—to celebrate important events or to mark important occurrences.
  6. Explore the Large Variety of Structures: While exploring the extraordinary architecture of Caracol, you’ll come across interesting artifacts and works of art which have been well-preserved over time. The site boasts more than 40 structures, including residential buildings, sacrificial altars, shrines, watchtowers, and ceremonial centers.
  7. Visit the Observatory: The observatory of Caracol is another well-known Mayan structure, which stands at the southern end of the site’s central plaza. Its windows were used to observe astronomical phenomena and also mark dates in the Maya calendar.

What are the Best Foods at Caracol Mayan Ruins Belize?

Some of the best foods at Caracol Mayan Ruins Belize include empanadas, tamales, Salbutes (frijoles con queso), tacos, panuchos, molé and a variety of soups. There is also a lot of fresh fruit, such as papaya and mango. Belizean drinks, such as Belikin beer and Mausica Fruit Juice, are also served. To summarize, the best foods you must try are:

  1. Stewed Chicken
  2. Garlic-Lime Ceviche
  3. Lomo Salado (Grilled Strips of Beef)
  4. Tostones (Fried Plantains)
  5. Rice and Beans
  6. Local Fruits
  7. Tropical Milkshakes
  8. Flan de Chocolate
  9. Honduran Tamales
  10. Caribbean Burgers

What are the Best Hotels to Stay in Caracol Mayan Ruins Belize?

Some of the best hotels in Caracol Mayan Ruins Belize are:

  1. Chan Chich Lodge
  2. La Loma Jungle Lodge
  3. Cayo Welcome Center
  4. Blancaneaux Lodge
  5. Lubaantun Eco Lodge and Mayan Retreat Center
  6. Ka’ana Boutique Resort
  7. Hotel La Mission
  8. Nim Li Punit Guest House
  9. San Ignacio Hotel Resort
  10. Bocawina Eco Resort and Adventures

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