Departure: 7:30 am
Drive time: 2 - 2.5 hours
Caracol is the largest known Maya center in Belize. There are massive temples to climb from which to admire miles of protected Chiquibul forest. As a bonus you can often see archaeologists at work here. Much work has been done but the restoration will continue for many years to come.
You can add a swim in the Rio On Pools, or Big Rock Falls, located in the Mountain Pine Ridge, to this trip. The roads to Caracol are much improved and Since Caracol is located in the Chiquibul Rainforest, there is a plethora of flora and fauna to enhance the experience of this magnificent Maya center.
The name Caracol is Spanish for "snail shell" and was given because of the inordinate numbers of snail shells found there.
Caracol remains one of the more difficult ruins in Belize to access, however a significant portion of the road leading to Caracol has been paved and getting there gives visitors the chance to travel on one of the more scenic roads in Belize.
At the peak of its existence, the Mayan city of Caracol covered some sixty-five square miles and was home to more than 100,000 people. It is a Classic period urban centre, comprising a central ceremonial area converged on by causeways leading to the outlying structures. The site's special features include the buildings surrounding the A court, which functioned during the Early Classic period as an astronomical observatory. Following a now familiar pattern, many of the site's pyramids were constructed in the Early Classic period, and later covered over by ever more impressive structures.
Since it's rediscovery in the 1920s, archaeologists have found the earliest dated carved stelae in Belize, dating back to 400 A.D., and unearthed the massive structure called Canaa or "Sky Place", believed to have been completed around 800 A.D. This pyramid is the tallest and largest man made structure in Belize.
Additionally, a recent discovery of glyphs at Caracol, apparently portraying a military victory over Tikal, suggests to archeologists that this centre was supreme in the region.
General Tour Information
Light-weight, comfortable clothing and shoes with a good grip. Long trousers are more suitable than shorts as they give more protection from insects and weather. Hat, sunscreen, insect repellent and drinking water are advisable.
Visitors on the return from Caracol have the opportunity to stop for a refreshing swim at Rio On Pools or Big Rock Falls
in the Mountain Pine Ridge.
* See Tours & Transfers for current rates and more tour options.