A couple friends from Indiana, Danny and Hilary, came for a visit to Belize. They wanted to see Maya ruins, so we drove over to the Cayo District to show them a couple of our favorites. It was a fabulous day.
|Our first stop was Xunantunich near the village of San Jose Succotz. This big sign is new since our last visit.|
|You still take a short ferry ride across the Mopan River to get to Xunantunich.|
|On the drive there Cara saw a couple on the side of the road looking at something in the trees,|
so we immediately stopped and walked over to find howler monkeys - yay!
|It was nice there weren't very many people there at 11 am on a Thursday.|
|Danny and Hilary|
|This was totally covered last time we were here. Now it is getting excavated.|
|We're curious what's under the metal sheets.|
|Heading up to El Castillo, which was probably a multipurpose complex where the elite rulers |
and their extended families lived and held court.
|Checking out the first tier.|
|Eastern side view from the first tier.|
|The courtyard at the back of El Castillo.|
|Looking down at the courtyard from the top of El Castillo.|
|Steps to the top of El Castillo.|
|View of the Xunantunich grounds from the top of El Castillo.|
|This was being excavated last time we were here.|
|The western side of El Castillo and the friezes.|
|This structure is a small shrine that was likely used by the rulers and their families for private rituals. Also, in one of the |
rooms they found a patolli board (for a game similar to Parchisi or Ludo) that probably also held ritual significance.
|The round columns are not typical in Belize and indicate influence from northern Maya lowlands.|
|The structures straight ahead were still largely earth-covered last time we were here.|
|View of the Mopan River from the ferry.|
|After lunch and a quick stop at the Visitors Center in San Ignacio we headed to the Cahal Pech|
Archaeological Site. In the Visitors Center this plaque shows some Maya history in Belize.
|Cahal Pech chronology.|
|The Cahal Pech site is smaller and more intimate, but equally cool in its own way. We kind of like it better than |
Xunantunich, and so did Danny and Hilary.
|We only saw a couple other people here, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.|
|There are lots more rooms at this site, and it's easier to envision the Maya living here.|
|In case you can't tell, Cara thinks the doorways are pretty cool.|
|View from the top of one of the tallest structures there.|
|Narrow, steps lead to/from the top.|
|You can barely see Hilary and Cara at the top of this structure.|
|One of several ball courts at Cahal Pech.|