What to See in San Ignacio and Corozal (Belize)

By | July 15, 2022

San Ignacio (Belize)

The city of San Ignacio is located in the western part of Belize at the foot of the Maya Mountains. It is built on seven hills on the left bank of the Makal River. San Ignacio is the starting point for traveling through the highlands of the southwest of the country, for exploring the wildlife of Belize and for rafting on mountain rivers. The ruins of Xunantunich

were found near San Ignacio.. This walled city controlled the trade routes that ran from the hinterland to the Caribbean coast and was a major ceremonial center for the Maya empire. Here you can see the overgrown ruins that are concentrated around the main square of the city. Among all the structures, the pyramid of El Castillo stands out, about 40 m high. It was built in the 5th century AD. and is decorated with a variety of ornaments and masks made of “stucco” material (something like cement). Today, there is a museum in Shunantunich, which tells the history of this city.

A few kilometers from Xunantunich is the archaeological site of El Pilar. Here was one of the last cities of the Mayan empire, which the European conquerors could not break for a long time. El Pilar covers an area of 50 hectares, on which there are about 25 squares.

In the vicinity of San Ignacio, it is also worth visiting the ruins of Cajal Pech with 34 structures, the highest of which has a height of 25 m. Excursions also depart from San Ignacio to the ruins of the ancient city of Caracol , which are located in the southwestern part of Belize near the border with Guatemala. It is the largest Mayan city in the country. To Karakol there are about 20 areas. There are 32 major structures and 12 smaller structures around the five main squares. The Kanaa pyramid rises above the city, which is one of the tallest buildings of the Mayan empire, its height reaches 43 m. Also, a stele with inscriptions was excavated here that tells about the victory of the city of Karakol over Tikal, which undoubtedly is of great interest to historians. Ceremonial burials with samples of hieroglyphic writing were also found in Karakol.

South of the city of San Ignacio in western Belize, in the mountains, is the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve.. Its area is about 800 sq. km. Small rivers flow through the reserve, here you can see waterfalls, caves, pine and tropical forests with rich flora and fauna. Mountain Pine Ridge Pine Forest is the only one in Central America. The caves where the Mayan Indians held their ceremonies are especially interesting here. These are Chechem-Sa, Barton Creek and a limestone massif with caves along the Rio Frio, as well as the 305 m high Thousand Foot Falls, which is the highest cascade in Central America. Mountain Pine Ridge is a great place for hiking and rafting.

Be sure to go to Aktun-Tunichil-Muknal Cave, which was used by the Maya for ceremonial purposes for sacrifices and burials. A river flows through the cave, along which stalactites and stalagmites lined up. The temperature here throughout the year is about 15 degrees Celsius. The cave has many passages that lead to the ceremonial hall, where there is a well-preserved skeleton of a Mayan girl, after whom the cave is named. Also here you can see a lot of fragments of ceramic products that were made by the Indians.

Corozal (Belize)

According to phonejust, Corozal was founded in 1849 in northern Belize on the shores of Chetumal Bay. The city is a flourishing center of the sugar industry and is surrounded on all sides by sugar cane plantations.

Before the arrival of the Spaniards, this place was the capital of the Mayan province, which controlled the northern coast. From those times, numerous ruins of ceremonial structures from the pre-Columbian era remained in the vicinity of Corozal.Of interest are the ruins of the city of Cerros, which is one of the earliest cities of the Mayan civilization. A unique building was excavated here, which served as an astrological observatory for the Maya Indians. East of Corozal are the ruins of Santa Rita, Nomul and La Mulpa with the graves of the leaders of the Mayan tribes.

South of Corozal is the town of Orange Walk. At 5 km from it you can go to the ruins Cuellowhose age is about 3000 years, these are the most ancient settlements found in the country. Not far from Orange Walk is the Lamanai Archaeological Reserve. It is considered one of the largest Mayan ceremonial centers preserved in Belize.. In the language of the Indians, the name of the place is translated as “plunging crocodile”, because crocodiles live in the river flowing nearby. Two temples have been excavated in the park – the Temple of the Jaguar Mask and the High Temple. Most of them still remain underground, and from the tops a beautiful view of the surroundings opens up. There is a museum, the remains of two 16th-century Spanish churches destroyed by the Indians, and a sugar factory.

From Corozal you can go to the other side of the Chetumal Bay, where the Sarteneia Peninsula lies, covered with forests and swamps, and where the Shipstern Nature Reserve is located with 80 sq. km of rainforest and savannas. Southeast of Corozal is the Rio Bravo del Norte Nature Reserve.. This is 1000 sq. km of rainforest, home to many animals, including five varieties of the Belizean forest cat, and more than 300 species of birds. Crookd Tree Nature Reserve is located 40 km south of the city of Orange Walk. It was founded in 1984 in a swampy area. Now the reserve is known as one of the best places for bird watching in the country. During the dry season, many birds flock here in search of food, and migratory birds that migrate back north in the spring make a stop here. The park is inhabited by herons, kingfishers, cormorants, fishing eagles, vultures, hawks and a rare bird – the Australian Jabira stork, whose wingspan reaches 2.7 m. Crocodiles, iguanas, turtles and monkeys can also be seen here.

Corozal (Belize)