Here is how to pronounce Xunantunich: “Shoo-nan-too-nitch”. The name means “Stone Woman” or “Maiden of the Rock”. The Maiden of the Rock is referred to as the ghost of Xunantunich, said to wonder about the Ancient archaeological Ruins. The history books explain; that Xunantunich is a Classic Period ceremonial centre.
The site was discovered in 1881 by Alfred Maloney, later the site was known as Mount Maloney. In 1894 a British Doctor, Thomas Gann, visited the site. In 1905 Teobart Mahler, an explorer and photographer of the museum of Harvard University visited the site and took extensive pictures of the site at Xunantunich. In 1924 Thomas Gann returned to the site and started excavation works.
Located about eight (8) miles west of San Ignacio in the Cayo District or 78 miles from Belize City. On the river banks of the Mopan River near the village of San Jose Succotz on the Western Highway.
Cross over the Mopan River using a hand crank ferry (use can give it a try). After a ten-minute ride uphill, we will reach the visitor’s centre and site museum. Here your tour guide will be checking with the site ranger before moving on to the ceremonial centre.
You will be walking around the most extensive excavation of the Mayan site, with the opportunity to climb a couple of temples. Our Tour guide will point to the Guatemala Border and near settlements, so you get a scope of just how close you are to another country.
The core of Xunantunich occupies about one square mile. Consisting of a series of six plazas surrounded by more than 26 temples and palaces. Archaeologists state that the site at Xunantunich was abandoned sometime between 890 to 900 AD.
The main temple is structure A-6; appropriately named ‘El Castillo’, which reaches 40 meters (130 feet) above plaza level and 180 meters (600 feet) above sea level.
Here you will have a Panoramic view of the surrounding rainforest, ball court and other points of interest. Howler monkeys and Green iguanas of some of the animals you may encounter on your way to the top. El Castillo is the second tallest man-made building in Belize and is comprised of three layers in the structure.
Xunantunich opening hours: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. The small hand-cranked ferry carries visitors across between 7:30 am and 4:00 pm. A few hours advance booking is needed to arrange a tour of the amazing Maya site.
Free Cancellation on payment received – If the tour is leaving at 9 AM, June 5th. You need to cancel by 9 AM June 4th.