Xunantunich Mayan pyramid

Xunantunich Mayan pyramid & ceremonial center, built in 800 AD, Belize; credit Ian McKenzie

Belize Attractions

Belize Zoo
It opened in 1983, to provide a home for wild animals used in making documentary films about tropical forests. Today, its a popular tourist attraction on 29 acres that hosts 150 animals representing 45 species native to Belize. The zoo and Tropical Education Center has settled upon 29 acres of tropical savanna and exhibits over 150 native animals, representing over 45 species. Belize zoo keeps rescued animals, those born at the zoo, rehabilitated animals, and donations from other zoos. There is also a lodge located on 85 acres located next to the zoo.
LOCATION: Mile 29 Western Highway, La Democracia, Belize
WEBSITE: http://www.belizezoo.org

National Institute of Culture & History
NICH is a good starting point for understanding the culture and history of this melting pot land. It features a mixture of Mayan, African, European and North American cultures hosts permanent exhibits include Colonial Postcards, “Maya Masterpieces”, “Coins of Belize”, “Stamps of Belize”, “Hurricanes and Fires in Belize” and a “Authentic Prison Cell.” It is home to the Institute of Archaeology, Institute of Creative Arts, Museum of Belize House of Culture, Institute for Social & Cultural Research.
LOCATION: Culvert Road, Belmopan City, Belize
WEBSITE: https://www.nichbelize.org

Belize Tourism Village
The point of entry for cruise ship passengers; it features an Internet Cafe, fine restaurants and bars. Looking for a new watch or exotic souvenirs? Check out the duty-free shops for local crafts, jewelry and maybe even some chocolates. This is a good area to book tours to Mayan ruins, kayak tours, sea charters and air tours over Belize.
LOCATION: 8 Fort Street, Belize City, Belize
WEBSITE: http://tourismvillage.com

Xunantunich
An Ancient Maya archaeological site in western Belize, about 70 miles west of Belize City, in Cayo District. Xunantunich is located atop a ridge above the Mopan River and the second tallest structure in Belize (after the temple at Caracol), at 130 feet. In Maya language, Xunantunich means “Sculpture of Lady”, which a sideways reference to the Stone Woman ghost claimed by several people to inhabit the site. It served as a Maya ceremonial center and was built around 800 AD. When the region was at its peak, nearly 200,000 people lived in Belize. The site is also remarkable for hieroglyphs and architecture similar to the Naranjo Mayan tribe. In 2016, archeologists discovered an untouched Mayan burial chamber at the site. The chamber contained the corpse of a male, aged between 20 and 30 years.
LOCATION: Cayo District, Belize

Lamanai Ruins
There ancient Mayan ruins are a Meso-American archaeological site, that was once a large Mayan city located in the north of Belize. The ancient Jaguar Temple dates back to 625 AD. The name Lamanai comes from the Maya term for “submerged crocodile”, who live along the banks of the New River. Among the pyramids, are significant copper artifacts that were used in trade. These artifacts are an indicator of technological prowess for the once advanced civilization.
LOCATION: Orange Walk District, Belize

Actun Tunichil Muknal
Also known as the Crystal Maiden Cave, this Maya archaeological site includes skeletons, ceramics, and stoneware over 1000 years old. The skeleton of a teenage girl, possibly a sacrifice victim, whose bones have been calcified to a sparkling, crystallized appearance. Ceramics at the site are are marked with kill holes, used for ceremonial sacrifices. Many of the Mayan artifacts and remains are completely calcified to the cave floor. The Mayans also modified caves to create offering altars, silhouettes of faces and animals.

Old Belize Historical and Cultural Center
At the foundation are all the events and people that shaped this country in pursuit of personal and colonial freedom. The history of Belize spans from the Maya, the indigenous people, who occupied the territory. It expands to a coastal settlement comprised of ex-pirates in search of mahogany, to the migration of cultures who have all been a part of creating a dazzling inter-racial society that includes six major ethnic groups who among them speak eight different languages. The 45-minute tour begins inside a rainforest exhibit.
LOCATION: Downtown Belize City
WEBSITE: http://www.oldbelize.com

Orchid Garden Eco-Village Hotel
Provides guests with 42 acres of peaceful, secure, beautifully wild natural habitat, ideally located for accessing many of the most popular tourist attractions in Northern and Western Belize, thereby minimizing traveling time to and from places of interest. Its located within an hour you can be zip-line, cave-tube, river cruise and exploring ancient Maya sites, or visit Crooked Tree Wildlife Reserve, the Baboon Sanctuary; you can be jungle horseback ride or explore a 1000+ year-old Tomb of The Crystal Maiden.
ADDRESS: 241 Western Highway, San Ignacio, Belize
PHONE: +501 225-6991

Government House
Erected in 1812, it is the finest colonial structure in Belize City and was the residence of the Governor General, the Queen of England’s representative in Belize. After Hurricane Hattie in 1961, the governor and and the rest of the government moved to a new capitol in Belmopan. The house became a venue for social functions is now the House of Culture Museum and a guest house for visiting VIPs. A small entry fee is required.
LOCATION: Downtown Belize City

Green Hills Butterfly Ranch
Located between limestone hills covered with lush vegetation you will find “Green Hills”, the Belize Butterfly Ranch and Botanical Collections. Flocks of butterflies, from brilliant blue to gorgeous orange, dazzling yellow to intriguing gray, fly freely in a 2,700 square foot landscaped flight area. Its the largest in Belize.
LOCATION: Cayo District, Belize
WEBSITE: https://www.greenhillsbelize.com

Belize Zip Line and Cave Tubing
This combined zip line and cave tubing tour 5.5 hours, unless weather interferes; it includes a 50-minute drive from Belize City Cruise Port to the zip line canopy site in the heart of the rain forest. Along the drive, a tour guide narrates the history of Belize. At the zip line canopy site there is time for a break, then lets you gear up for the zipline through the canopy of Belize’ rainforest for an hour. After the zip line canopy tour, you are issued with a headlamp, life vest, and an inner tube for cave tubing. As you hike through the jungle to start our cave tubing tour, there are presentations on Medicinal Plants, Belize Cave Systems, and use of The Cave to The Mayan People. Some tubing tours last 1.5 hours.
LOCATION: San Ignacio, Belize
WEBSITE: https://www.hamanasi.com/belize-vacation/bocawina-zipline-tour/

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