Xunantunich (Maiden of the Rock)
Xunantunich was a major ceremonial site built on a natural limestone ridge during the Classic Period. The site is composed of six major plazas with more than 25 Maya temples and palaces.
“El Castillo” (the Castle), the largest pyramid at 130 feet above the plaza, has carved friezes on the east and west sides. The frieze on the east has been preserved and covered with a fiberglass replica of the central mask representing the sun god flanked by the moon and Venus.
On a clear day, visitors can also see across into nearby Guatemala and near Caracol in the Pine Ridge Mountain Reserve.
When you go …
Xunantunich is 8 miles west of San Ignacio Town, directly across from the village of San Jose Succotz. It is easily accessible by public transportation, up to the hand-cranked ferry over the river. Vehicles are ferried over one at a time for the 1-mile drive/hike to the parking lot. An impressive visitor center with refreshments and souvenirs is located on site.
Visit the official Maya 2012 website to learn more about Xunantunich.