El Pilar is one of Belize's largest Classic period Maya sites. The center has a well-defined civic/ceremonial section that includes both private and public areas. There are at least 15 courtyards or plazas covering an area of 50 acres. The complexity of El Pilar's epicenter suggests the site was of considerable regional importance during the Late Classic period. Beyond the central precinct, settlement density is also very high, suggesting a large population lived in the site's sustaining area. Within the site center there are several large temples, palaces and elite architecture. The tallest structure stands at 21 meters (70 feet) above the plaza. Other architectural features include at least one ball court and several reservoirs that served as water catchments. Although there has been limited archaeological work at El Pilar, substantial efforts have been expended to develop the site's natural forest environment. East of the site's core, in a section known as the Garden Area, a small residential plaza was conserved in an effort to demonstrate the nature of Maya households and their connection to the flora, fauna and natural ecology.
El Pilar is one of the largest Maya sites in the Belize Valley and lies 50 kilometers from the major prehistoric city of Tikal in Guatemala.