Caracol, a Classic
Period complex, covers 30-square
miles of thick, high-canopy jungle, and includes
five plazas, an astronomic
observatory and over 35,000 buildings which have
The loftiest among
them, a massive pyramid (Caana) which is capped
by three temples and rises over 140 feet above the jungle floor.
core today, as seen by visitors, consists of
three plaza groups surrounding a central acropolis
and two ball courts, along with a number of smaller structures.
The Visitor's Center exhibits a number of photographs and diagrams of the site, along with artifacts, including a recovered ceremonial altar.
Discovered in 1938 by loggers, excavations did not begin until 1950, with most of the work having taken place since 1985. Caracol can truly be described in superlatives: Largest archeological site in Belize - One of the largest in the Maya world - Tallest man-made structure in Belize (Caana) - Most structures, largest area, largest population, most hieroglyphics etc ...
Many hieroglyphic texts have been found on stelae, alters, ball-court-markers, capstones and wall facades. The discovery of an elaborately carved ball-court-marker dating back to the end of the early Classic Period has been interpreted as Caracol claiming a military victory over Tikal, located more then 60 miles away in Guatemala.
Caracol was linked together by more than 20 miles of roadways that radiated outward from its epicenter like the spokes of a wheel and it is estimated that 200,000 or more Maya lived in the area when this important City-State reached it's peak around 700 A.D.
Evidence of Post-Classic occupation is lacking, thus presenting a similar situation to that found at other Classic sites in the region.
the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, Caracol archeological
site and the surrounding area there is a plethora of flora and fauna to enhance the experience of this magnificent Maya center. Some notable birds seen at Caracol include Ocellated Turkey, Crested Guan, and Great Curassow. While admiring the largest Maya site in Belize you may also see colorful toucans and trogons.
Today, Caracol is a Maya city
in the process of being recovered from the
jungle. Excavation in and around Caracol and reconstruction of the
Caracol site itself are ongoing during the dry season.
Along the Way .... Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve
the return from Caracol, tours stop off at Rio
Frio Cave or Rio On Pools or Big
Roc Falls in the Mountain
Rio On Pools,
are a continuous series of pools formed
by large granite boulders.
Many of the pools
are connected by small waterfalls. The smooth
surface of the boulders make natural water slides
and a great place for a swim or a hike.
Frio Cave and
it's 65-foot arched entry ways leave
you in awe. Openings at both ends
unnecessary for viewing the cave's
formations during daylight hours.
A river runs through the cave, and in the dry season, it is possible to hike through to the other side. This less traveled path reveals another trail outside the cave, and some smaller caves are accessible from here.
Big Rock Falls- A rugged 15 minute downhill climb brings you to the base of the waterfall. Enjoy the water rushing 60-ft over granite rock formations and plummeting into a pool at its base. It is posssible to swim near the base of the falls.