Xunantunich

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Crossing the Mopan river near the Village of San Jose Succotz on a hand-cranked ferry towards the archaeological site of Xunantunich (pronounced “shoo-nan-too-NEECH”) offers quite a scenic view of local flora and fauna. Take some great shots of green iguanas wile you get across or offer to work the hand-cranked ferry yourself.

Xunantunich, Means “Stone Maiden or maiden of the rock” in Maya. This site from the Classic Period is relatively small and very easy to move around.  El Castillo, the massive 120 -foot-high main temple, was built on a leveled hilltop and has a spectacular 360 -degree panorama of the Mopan River Valley looking across Belize’s Cayo District and into Guatemala.  On the eastern wall of El Castillo is a reproduction of one of the finest Mayan carvings in Belize—a frieze decorated with jaguar heads, human faces, and abstract geometric patterns telling the story of the Moon’s affair with Morning Light.

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