Caracol is the most extensive Mayan site in Belize. It covers 30 square miles of thick, high canopy jungle and includes five plazas, an astronomic observatory and over 35,000 buildings that have been identified. The loftiest among them, the massive pyramid Caana, is capped by three temples and rises over 140 feet above the jungle floor. This site can only be reached from hotels which are located in Mountain Pine Ridge or San Ignacio.
The San Ignacio area has been described as an open air classroom: guides will tell you about river systems, exotic birds, butterflies, medicinal plants and Mayan ruins. A trip down the Macal River, through the lush forest landscape, is a must and the lodges in this area are great for relaxing or exploring caves, rivers, hiking trails and the Mayan sites of Xunantunich and Cahal Pech nearby. The region also boasts famous caves such as Barton Creek and Chechem Ha and protected forest areas such as Mountain Pine Ridge and Chiquibal National Park, making it a great destination for those who like active pursuits.
Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve
The Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve is a spectacular range of rolling hills, rocks and gorges, with splendid caves, pools and waterfalls surrounded by pine forest. Unfortunately, the pine forest area is still recovering from an infestation of pine beetles in the early 90s, but it is still a dramatic spectacular landscape. Lodges here are perfect for visiting Caracol, Rio Frio caves and also great for birdwatching, hiking and biking in the region.
Where to stay
We offer a range of lodges from which you can easily organise trips to see the Mayan ruins nearby or to enjoy the scenery of the area. From here we also arrange side trips across the border to the spectacular ruins of Tikal, or take you in the opposite direction down into the Stann Creek District to the Cockscomb Jaguar Reserve. This area also makes a perfect stopping point en route from northern Guatemala towards the beaches on the Belize coast.
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