Great little ruins

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
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195
300
Trip End Nov 04, 2008


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Where I stayed
Casa Blanca - air conditionaing is expensive $17 US night extra

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

We were starting to miss a couple of visits to ruins per week, so our first mission in San Ignacio (Cayo as they call it locally) was to visit the ruins of Xunantunich.

There are plenty of ruins around this part of Belize as the Mayas were really active until 700 A.D. in all this area, however it looks like Mr. Belize Dollar has taken over most of them except Xunantunich. The two other main attractions (Caracol Ruins and the AT Maya Caves) rate at 75-80 US Dollars per persona for the visit.

We would of done those had we not visited so many other Maya ruins and places, but in any case the price is excessive...but gringos are paying the rate (and there is no possibility of travelling without a guide) so good for local economy.

Anyway, we thought Xunantunich would just be a small temple given its a 15 min bus ride on the local bus from Saint Ignacio...but boy were we wrong. Its a magnificent place.

First of all you can get there on the local (old US school bus) for 50 cents, secondly you get to cross a river on a manual old ferry (which is free...only tip necessary), thirdly you walk along a great little jungle for a mile, and as always when there are little or no tourists, it was full of birdlife and our friends the howler monos. Finally (and our readers know how much we like talking bucks...its $5 US to get in...a bargain)

Hopefully the photographs will show some of the greatness of this little Mayan city. It doesnt have half as many buildings as other sites such as Copan or Tikal, but its very well preserved and reconstructed in parts, and the main temple (The Castle) is just stunning to climb. The views from the top are endless.

Best of all, the only other tourists were a bunch of Belizian boy and girl scouts on field trip. There was also a bunch of UCLA students on their summer assignment which was digging up some Mayan remains. So arqueology in action...suck on that Indiana Jones!

The place was so relaxing that we actually stayed there most of the day, enjoying a picnic on one of the many tables they have for that specific and intellectual purpose on site.

We couldnt finish the day better than with a ride back from two US tourists in their rented car. They didnt voluntarily offer though...it appears Vero made sad faces at them when they got into their car as if saying "we are hot...please take us"!

And so they did all the way back to San Ignacio with air conditioning in the car...not before buying some souvenirs at Xunantunich. As we only have 2 countries left to go through before US of A (Guatemala and Mexico) we can finally indulge in some useless souvenir purchasing. And what did we buy you might as yourself...2 decorated stones! Lovely for increasing the weight on Marcos rucksack...they are lovely though!!

Cheerio
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