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A Tour of Mayan Ruins in Belize

March 3, 2010 By: Joe Pike

The morning of Travel Agent’s third day in Belize began at the Mayan City of Xunantunich, located a few miles from the western border and about 20 minutes from the hotel I was staying at, San Ignacio Hote and Luxury Day Spa.

For your clients who crave some Mayan history, this is the place to recommend. I’ve seen some excellent ruins before but this was incredible simply because of how much of the structures were actually still in tact.

The partially-excavated and largest pyramid, El Castillo, rises 130 feet above the main plaza and offers a view of two countries, the Cayo District of Belize and Guatemala to the right.

The tour takes roughly two hours, costs about $85 a person and requires some light climbing. El Castillo could be a bit scary since most of the jagged stairs leading 130 feet high don’t have banisters. And don’t look over the edge.

In fact, there are portions of the climb that aren’t open to cruise passengers, according to my guide Jake Martinez of Yute Expeditions, because they walk too close to the edge, creating a major liability for the park.

Martinez is your guy if you’re looking to book a group tour. The fee includes his services, lunch and a tour of the park.

I’d suggest this tour for older or younger couples who appreciate history, but not for families as it requires a lot of walking and some dangerous climbing.

Contact Martinez at [email protected] and visit

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