Studied by countless archaeologists over the last century, Xunantunich is distinguished as the first Maya Site to be opened and proclaimed archaeologically and historically significant in Belize.  The ancient Maya monuments of Xunantunich are some of the most spectacular in Belize, and a tour to this location should not be missed.

The journey starts in the Cayo District at the Mopan riverbank in the small village of San Jose Succotz, where visitors step or drive onto a hand-cranked ferry (open 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. everyday) that slowly but surely transports its passengers to the other side of the river. Stepping off the ferry transports visitors to the base of the site where they must walk or drive just less than one mile up a steep hill. The parking area and visitor center are encountered first, where visitors must pay an entrance fee of BZ$10.00. A couple steps from the center transfers excited visitors to the three extensive plazas of the Maiden of the Rock ~ Xunantunich.

Located atop a high limestone ridge and covering approximately 2,700 square feet, Xunantunich is believed to have been an important Ceremonial Center in the Classic Period. A tour of the visitor center and small museum can enlighten visitors on the history and importance of the site. There is a small scale-model of the entire city, a fiberglass replica of an archeological frieze on site, as well as restored stallae in the museum.

In Group A, Structure A-6 (El Castillo) rises 130 feet above plaza level making it one of the tallest buildings in Belize. On this structure there are two temples.  The lower temple is famous for its large stucco frieze. A mask with larger ears probably represents the sun god. Next to this mask, there is a moon sign with a border of signs representing Venus.

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