In the Maya language Xunantunich means “maiden of the rock” or “stone
woman.” This site is less than one mile from some lovely rapids of the Mopan River and provides an impressive
view of the entire river valley.
Xunantunich is a Classic Period ceremonial center. The site core
occupies only 300 square meters but the periphery covers several square kilometers.
The highest ruin is 133 feet tall, the second tallest ruin in all of
Belize. Well-preserved sun god masks decorate one side of the structure. On the main palace building is an
astronomical carved frieze. Six major plazas, more than 25 temples and palaces and a new museum are just some
of the reasons why Xunantunich is one of the most visited sites in Belize.
The Belize Tourism Development Project
has invested over half a million dollars to fully excavate the site and make it more
Xunantunich is a must see for a day trip or
anyone with limited time.
Xunantunich is located about 70 miles from Belize City, on the Western
Highway. Travel until you reach Santa Elena town. Take the road that leads to San Jose Succotz village which
is just before you get to Benque Viejo del Carmen.
You should now be looking for a ferry on your right along with a sign
indicating a Maya temple. The ferry crossing the Mopan River is free and operates between 8 am and 5 pm. Once
off the ferry Xunantunich is about a three minute drive. ~ Anthony