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Caracol Archaeological Site

The most extensive Maya site known in Belize ....


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 been identified.

The loftiest among them, a massive pyramid (Caana) which is capped by three temples and rises over 140 feet above the jungle floor.

Caracol's central 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.


Caracol History

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 archaeological 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 ...

Caracol - Ceiba Tree

Caracol glyphHieroglyphic Texts have been found on stelae, altars, 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.

Situated within the Chiquibul Reserve, Caracol and the surrounding area offers a plethora of flora and fauna to enhance the experience of this magnificent Maya center. Some notable birds seen at Caracol include Oscellated Turkey, Crested Guan, and Great Curassow. While visiting the largest Maya site in Belize you may also see colorful toucans and trogons.

Along the Way .... The Mountain Pine Ridge

On the return from Caracol, tours stop off at Rio Frio Cave or Rio On Pools or Big Rock Falls in the Mountain Pine Ridge.Rio On Pools

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.

Rio Frio Cave

Rio Frio Cave and it's 65-foot arched entry ways leave you in awe. Openings at both ends makes flashlights unnecessary for viewing the cave's formations during daylight hours.

Everything is big in this cave! Huge stalactites hang from the massive cathedral-like vault, which is part of a cave system the Maya used to bury their dead. Room size boulders are strewn throughout the cave and a stream flows through, forming pools complete with cascading falls.

There is a beach area with a foot bridge for crossing the stream and getting to the other side. From there its a quarter mile through to the exit, another equally impressive opening.

Big RocBig Rock Falls is an impressive 60-foot waterfall boasting two large, deep pools. The footpath to the falls is a 15-minute hike and involves some difficult climbing down; however once you reach the bottom, you can walk right up to the foot of the waterfall and swim in the cascading pools below.

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