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San Ignacio, Belize

Archaeology

Our most recommended San Ignacio, Belize Archaeology

San Ignacio: Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave Full-Day Tour

1. San Ignacio: Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave Full-Day Tour

Depart from San Ignacio and head to the starting point for your hike. Make your first river crossing band hike to the cave entrance for a safety demonstration. Make your way into the cave, swimming and then walking through the main water passage until you reach the boulder and head to the dry chamber. To enter the chamber, you will be required to slip off your shoes in order to protect the cave. Marvel at the cave's artifacts, most of which have been calcified into the ground, unmoved even by archaeologists. Hear your guides talk about the rituals and ceremonies, bloodletting offerings, food offerings and human offerings, including the 15 human remains uncovered by archaeologists. To access the last chamber, you will climb up a ladder to see a full skeletal remains before exiting the cave in the same way you came in. You will hike back to the parking lot before replenishing yourself with lunch and returning to San Ignacio.

From San Ignacio: Xunantunich Mayan Tour & Optional Combos

2. From San Ignacio: Xunantunich Mayan Tour & Optional Combos

Start your tour with hotel pickup from San Ignacio, then take a 15-minute drive to Xunantunich. First, embark on a 2-hour guided tour of the Xunantunich archaeological site, which was a unique Mayan ceremonial center. Discover the 6 major plazas surrounded by more than 25 temples and palaces with time to climb the different structures. Admire the large El Castillo Pyramid which is well known for the frieze or band of stucco decoration which at one time extended around the entire temple. El Castillo rises 130 feet above the main plaza and offers an impressive panoramic view over the Mopan River valley.  After this, combine your visit with a range of optional activities to choose from. Cave Tubing:  Start your adventure at No'och Che'en National Park with a hike through the subtropical forest. As you sit and enjoy the tubing downstream, the journey will take you through a series of remarkable limestone caves, each filled with fascinating discoveries of the Mayan underworld. You can also jump into refreshing crystal-clear blue waters formed in-between the cave entrances. Float through some rapids, view sparkling cave formations, and learn about cave geology and Mayan History. River Tubing:  This adventure takes place along the Mopan River - a very important water source for the ancient city of Xunantunich. Start by clipping on your helmet and putting on your floating device. Then, jump into your tube and begin floating downstream on the easy flowing water. Just as you get comfortable, feel the adrenaline as you reach some class I rapids. After floating past the village, continue into a jungle area and admire the incredible native flora and fauna that Belize has to offer. Horseback Riding:  Alternatively, begin your experience on the outskirts of Succotz village. Ride a friendly horse along an ancient Mayan trail as you dodge low-hanging tree branches. If you are lucky, try to spot adorable Howler Monkeys jumping between the trees.

San Ignacio: Caracol Maya Ruins & Waterfall Tour with Lunch

3. San Ignacio: Caracol Maya Ruins & Waterfall Tour with Lunch

Start with pickup at 7:30 AM from San Ignacio and travel 1.5 hours to the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. Upon arrival walk for 10 minutes until you reach the Rio Frio Cave. After exploring this small cave, drive to the Chiquibul Forest Reserve located nearby.  Explore the ruins of Caracol, which was the largest metropolis in the Maya lowlands located deep within the Chiquibul Forest Reserve. While travelling to this location, enjoy a stunning scenery of the flora and fauna. Walk along the trails and paths that were once traversed by nobles and citizens of the Mayan empire.  Explore the largest Mayan archaeological site in Belize on a 3-hour guided tour. Learn about the size of the former city, as well as the various religious rituals performed in the temples. Climb some of the structures and learn about the important archaeological discoveries of the site. Enjoy a local lunch followed by a visit to the Rio on Pools or Big Rock Waterfalls. Swim in the refreshing waters to cool off after a day of exploring, and be returned to San Ignacio at approximately 5:00 PM.

From San Ignacio: Tikal Maya Site Day-Trip with Local Lunch

4. From San Ignacio: Tikal Maya Site Day-Trip with Local Lunch

Start with pickup from San Ignacio at 7:00 AM, and take a 15-minute drive to Guatemalan border. Be assisted at the border by your guide, and continue on the 2-hour long journey to Tikal. Discover the ancient Mayan site of Tikal which is considered to be one of the most spiritual locations on earth. Once at the national park, see the abundance of wildlife surrounding the temples. Discover how the Mayan civilization built inspiring temples and cities that formed a vast complex of religious, social and political power.  Enjoy a guided tour of the main sights of the complex, which is estimated to have over 3,000 structures including palaces, temples, ceremonial platforms, ball courts, terraces, plazas, causeways, and reservoirs. See several of the main temples including the tallest structure which measures 212 feet.  After visiting the main parts of Tikal, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Then, drive back to San Ignacio you can stop at the local gift shops, with arrival back in San Ignacio at approximately 4:30 PM.

San Ignacio: Crystal Cave & Blue Hole National Park + Lunch

5. San Ignacio: Crystal Cave & Blue Hole National Park + Lunch

Get an early start and depart from San Ignacio at 7:30 AM. Drive out to St Herman's Blue Hole National Park, known for its lush rainforest and intricate system of interconnected caves and azure freshwater pools. Begin your adventure through the park with a rainforest hike that will end at the entrance to the Crystal Cave system. Embark on a spelunking expedition through the series of limestone caverns that the Mayans treated as a natural pantheon. Admire the beautiful stalactites, stalagmites, flow stones, rock columns, crystalline formations, and Mayan artifacts adorning the interior of the caves. Let your guide show you the evidence of ritual ceremonies that took place thousands of years ago, including pottery, fire pits, charcoal ash, and human remains. Step into Wonderland, an aptly-named chamber deep in the earth with walls covered in shimmering crystals. Spend anywhere from 3–5 hours exploring the cave depending on your energy. Let your guide know if you want to eat the packed lunch and get some rum punch inside the cave or back at the parking lot and fill up after a long day's trek. Finish off with a refreshing dip in the Blue Hole pool the park is named for. Arrive back in San Ignacio around 5:30 PM.

Frequently asked questions about San Ignacio, Belize Archaeology

What are other things to do than Archaeology that are worth visiting in San Ignacio, Belize?

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What people are saying about San Ignacio, Belize

Overall rating

5.0 / 5

based on 3 reviews

Francisco showed us a great time in San Ignacio. He picked us up from our hotel and drove us out to Caracol pointing out interesting sights along the way. We stopped at a cave, climbed many Mayan ruins, dove off some cliffs by a waterfall, and enjoyed a delicious picnic lunch. A busy day that exceeded everyone’s expectations. I particularly appreciated our guide Francisco’s knowledge of both ancient Mayan history and the general area. Next time we are in San Ignacio we will be using the same tour company “Belize Caving Expeditions” and requesting Francisco.

The cave was AMAZING and the tour guide (Rafael) was amazing and he had a depth of knowledge! He took well care of his whole group. The transport driver was great and punctual.

The tour has been well described online and it lived up to expectations. The formations were fascinating and the water was fun. There were so many pots and bones.

Hands down one of the best tours you can find. ATM is rated one of the top sacred places in the world.

Renan was great and the tour was spectacular. It’s a must!!