Ancient Supercity of Caracol and Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Tour & Lunch
San Ignacio, Belize
- Caracol: This once-thriving commercial and cultural capital was lost for centuries; your guide will lead you through its sophisticated, 80-square-mile network of civic buildings, temples, palaces, workshops, plazas, and farmland.
- Museums and pyramids: Learn about Caracol and how it was rediscovered and stand next to Caana, still the tallest structure in Belize after 12 centuries.
- Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve: Cool down on a guided tour of Rio On Pool's waterfalls and swimming holes and the gurgling river in the Rio Frio's cave.
- Lunch: Enjoy a Belizean picnic lunch with bottled water or fruit juice.
About this San Ignacio tour
Imagine you are a logger out for a stroll in the forest. You've been here before, but there's a spot that you've never noticed, so you head over for a look. And see Manhattan. Thousands of buildings, miles of road, but no people, just the birds, monkeys, and other creatures who've made it their home since nature reclaimed it. You don't know that it was called Manhattan; no one knew it ever existed. But here it is.
It was 1938; the logger's name was Rosa Mai. And the abandoned city in the Belize rainforest was Caracol. It would turn out to cover more than twice the area of Manhattan, and was, in its time, just as important culturally and economically. But it came with its own military.
You'd think that a city with well-built residential areas, sports arenas, government buildings, a water system, places of worship, vast plazas and marketplaces, an advanced network of radiating causeways, and an astronomical observatory couldn't just disappear. But Caracol did. For almost a thousand years. And you'd think that with a peak population of around 150,000, someone would have said, "Hey! Before we leave for good, let's explain why. Because people will wonder."
But no one did, so we don't know why. The citizens of this Mesoamerican Manhattan seem to have just ... lost interest. Maybe they had enough of life in the big city. And moved to the Mayan equivalent of the suburbs.
The empire strikes back
You're not a real empire until you've clobbered a stronger empire. For centuries, Caracol was under the thumb of Tikal, 60 miles east. A war in 556 sealed the deal. But Caracol struck back just six years later, conquering Tikal and using the spoils to fund its impressive building projects. It was the first of what Maya historians call "star wars," after inscriptions in Caracol recording military victories as celestial events.
Please meet in the lobby/reception area of your hotel. Be sure to indicate the name of your hotel at check-out so we know where to meet you. Your guide will be holding a sign with GoBe or your name on it.
Travelers must consider their physical fitness level and medical history when determining whether this tour is appropriate. Tour includes uphill climbing.
Private Tour, Full Day, Wilderness/Wildlife, Adventure, Cultural
Generally, a 15-seat Van
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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