Belize is home to several impressive Maya ruins, and exploring these archaeological sites is a fantastic way to delve into the region’s rich history. Use a map to learn more of the best Maya ruins to visit during a tour in Belize, along with recommendations for where to stay.
The Maya civilization developed in the area that today comprises southeastern Mexico, all of Guatemala and Belize, and the western portions of Honduras and El Salvador. It includes the northern lowlands of the Yucatán Peninsula and the highlands of the Sierra Madre, the Mexican state of Chiapas, southern Guatemala, El Salvador, and the southern lowlands of the Pacific littoral plain. “Maya” is a modern term used to refer collectively to the various peoples that inhabited this area
They did not call themselves “Maya” and did not have a sense of common identity or political unity. Today, their descendants, known collectively as the Maya, numbered well over 6 million individuals, speak more than twenty-eight surviving Mayan languages and reside in nearly the same area as their ancestors.
Map of Mayan Ruins in Belize
The Map of Mayan Ruins in Belize shows the nine (9) sites which are well excavated and open to the public. There are hundreds of other less-known Maya sites scattered throughout the Country. Stan Creek District is the only district with no major Archaeological site. Nevertheless, you can still book a day trip to many of the Mayan Ruins located in Cayo and Toledo District.
Not shown on our Map of Mayan Ruins in Belize is Tikal. The Great Mayan City of Tikal is located approximately 141 miles (228km) from Belize City. A part of the must-see Maya Temples and Pyramids in the country, many have stayed on and toured Tikal from San Ignacio Town.
Belize Mayan Ruins Tours
In Belize, you have the opportunity to explore nine captivating Mayan ruins, with some requiring a guide while others allow for self-guided tours. Certain sites, such as Cuello, Chan Chich, Nohmul, and El Pilar, do not typically offer guided tours.
While El Pilar is renowned for its birding opportunities alongside the Mayan ruins, here is a list of the Mayan ruins in Belize that you can visit and tour.
Located near Corozal Town in northern Belize, Santa Rita was an important Mayan trading center. The ruins showcase the remnants of ancient plazas, temples, and tombs. It provides a glimpse into the economic and cultural significance of this coastal Mayan city.
Situated on the northern coast of Belize, Cerros offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape and the Caribbean Sea. This Mayan site was a prominent trading hub, featuring ceremonial platforms, pyramids, and an impressive ball court. Exploring Cerros provides insights into coastal Maya civilization.
Situated near San Ignacio, Cahal Pech is an ancient Mayan city perched atop a hill. It features several impressive structures, including palaces, temples, and a ball court. Cahal Pech provides a fascinating insight into Maya urban planning and social hierarchy.
Learn More: https://highpointtravel.bz/maya/cahal-pech/
Nestled in the Toledo District of southern Belize, Lubaantun stands out for its unique architecture characterized by rounded corners and absence of mortar. The site showcases intricate stone carvings, residential structures, and ceremonial platforms. Lubaantun is renowned for the famous crystal skull legend.
Learn More: https://highpointtravel.bz/maya/lubaantun/
Located in the Southern Belize, Nim Li Punit is known for its intricately carved stelae depicting rulers and other significant figures. The site features several plazas and structures, including a well-preserved ball court. Nim Li Punit offers a glimpse into Maya governance, rituals, and artistry.
Best of these Mayan Ruins to Visit
Located in northern Belize, Lamanai is renowned for its well-preserved temples and structures. Its scenic setting along the New River Lagoon adds to its allure, and reaching the site involves a captivating boat ride through lush landscapes. Keep an eye out for wildlife as you explore this fascinating Mayan ruin.
Situated within easy reach of Belize City, Altun Ha is a captivating Mayan ruin that showcases the iconic Temple of the Masonry Altars. Exploring this site offers insights into ancient Mayan trade routes and provides a glimpse into Belize’s rich historical heritage.
Located near the town of San Ignacio, Xunantunich is one of Belize’s most famous Maya sites. The highlight is El Castillo, a massive pyramid offering stunning panoramic views from the top. San Ignacio is an excellent base for exploring the region, with various accommodation options ranging from budget to luxury.
Nestled deep within the jungles of the Cayo District, Caracol is one of Belize’s largest Mayan sites. Its grandeur is evident in structures like the Sky Palace, the tallest man-made structure in the country. Visiting Caracol offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the remnants of this ancient civilization.
Although not technically in Belize, Tikal is located just across the border in Guatemala and is easily accessible from Belize. It is one of the most magnificent Maya ruins in the world, featuring towering pyramids and intricate carvings. Many tour operators in Belize offer day trips to Tikal from popular destinations like San Ignacio.