Day 40: Xunantunich in the morning
Xunantunich Travel Blog› entry 52 of 120 › view all entries
It was time to go and visit a ruin. After all, it had been a week since the last time we'd been looking at a pile of rocks.
Near San Ignacio (within walking distance of the lodge) lies one of the most important Mayan sites in Belize: Xunantunich.
To get there we had to cross the RĂo Mopan via a tiny ferry, which was just big enough to carry one car, and had to be operated by hand. Of course my dad and I wanted to try that as well, to feel what it would be like to be doing this day in day out as a day job.
Once on the other side we woke up a huge iguana from his sleep, but unfortunately he jumped into the water before I could take a picture.
From the ferry landing it was another kilometre and a half up a steep hill to get to the ruins.
Xunantunich is a rather small site. Or at least, the restored part is quite small (just the buildings on the hilltop) but nonetheless this was quite an impressive place, if only for the 42 metre high temple which was built on the highest point of the hill.
The temple was quite different than anything we had seen so far. Unlike other Mayan ruins where temples were just very big pyramids, this one (going by the wonderful imaginative name of 'El Castillo') actually had steps inside the building. Most of these made of concrete, as the original steps hadn't survived the thousand years since the site was abandoned.
From the top of the temple you had a great view of the surroundings.
A funny fact is that this 42 metre high temple is in fact the highest building in the entire country!!