Explore two excavated Maya ruins in the dense jungle near the border of Belize, both of them archaeologically significant for their ingeniously designed temples.
After departing from the pier, you will settle in for a relaxing and spectacularly scenic drive through the tropical jungle and on a former Maya city. British physician and amateur archaeologist Thomas Gann discovered the city in the 1920s and named it Dzibanche (Mayan for “writing on wood”) for the wooden lintels in one of the temples. Those still-functioning lintels over the doorways only touch on the site’s architectural highlights.
While browsing the ruins, you may see ancient plazas, public buildings, stairways adorned with hieroglyphics and the magnificent Temple of the Owls, which features an internal burial chamber with owl-shaped pottery. You might also climb the soaring Temple of the Cormorants to enjoy a sweeping view of Dzibanche. The city is believed to have been the seat of the Kan or “snake” dynasty that ruled this area beginning in the 6th century.
You will also explore the nearby Maya city of Kohunlich, which was built around the same time. Its most dominant feature is the Temple of the Masks, a structure that honors the sun god with huge stone masks on the stairways. According to archaeologists, the buildings in Kohunlich would have been stuccoed, painted red and decorated with geometric designs.
Before departing for Costa Maya, you may also have time for a leisurely walk through the jungle, where you may spot toucans and monkeys.
Need to Know:
Note: This tour involves considerable walking. Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses and insect repellent are recommended. Wear lightweight clothing and comfortable walking shoes. Bring cash for extra purchases. Transfer time to the ruins is approximately two hours. There is a government tax of $5-8 US for the use of video cameras at the site. No tripods and/or professional video cameras are allowed. A boxed lunch and a complimentary bottle of water is included.
Tours with this activity level involve physical exertion for extended periods of time; can involve uneven or steep terrain or swimming in a light current. Recommended only for physically fit and adventurous travelers.