Deep in the heart of the Chiquibul Forest Reserve lies one of the most impressive Maya sites in Belize, Caracol, at the base of the Maya Mountains in the Cayo District. Covering an area of nearly 25,000 acres, Caracol is one of the largest Maya sites, having an immense agricultural field system and elaborate city planning.
Numerous carved monuments establish that Caracol was a major player in the geopolitics of the Maya civilization. Caracol was an ally of Calakmul in Campeche, Mexico, and engaged in several wars with neighboring polities, such as Tikal, Naranjo, and Ucanal in Guatemala.
At the peak of its political power, it was estimated that almost 100,000 people populated Caracol, covering an area of approximately 38 square miles.
Is Caracol Worth Visiting?
Journey through Belize’s pine forests and jungles to time travel to the Classic Period often considered the peak of the Maya Civilization. Caracol includes many unique structures, including the main temple, Caana, which means “Sky Place.” Caana offers incredible views of the surrounding jungle, mountains, and a snippet of the Belize-Guatemala border. The temples at Caracol are an architectural marvel built by the Mayans using limestone blocks transported from nearby quarries. Many believe that Mayans used Caana as a ceremonial center for religious events and royal gatherings.
At 143 feet high, it is the tallest structure built in Belize. The ancient Maya created not only a spectacular complex but also incorporated excellent acoustics. The voices of Priests and rulers were clearly amplified to the masses assembled in the plaza below.
Gather a couple of friends and opt for an adventure to the westernmost part of Belize to experience the pristine site of Caracol.