from a friend
I just spent a week down in Belize working on my house and also taking an old friend around to various places. We went to four ruins -- Xunantunich, Cahal Pech, El Pilar, and Altun Ha.
I had not been to El Pilar for a couple of years. Still not many people going because of last year's bandit issue(s). We were the only ones there all day. They have one caretaker and two BDF guys staying there. The road is pretty rough in a few places but about 1/2 is actually a fairly smooth drive. Most certainly a 4 wheel drive/high clearance vehicle is needed. They need to fix the signs they have around the site, though. Unlike most other ruins in the country, El Pilar has numerous description signs but most are now so faded you can't read them. They do have some newer directional signs in a few places on treated and painted wood.
The 12 mile ride to Altun Ha from the Northern highway is simply a disgrace. It's worse than no pavement. The old pavement, which was not wide enough to start with, is loaded with deep potholes. You really need a 4 wheel drive for it, even though it's "paved." For such an important tourist place close to Belize City it's just unreal they can't have a real road there. The long term damage to rental vehicles and tour buses must be really adding up. What a mess!
Xunantunich and Cahal Pech don't have road issues anymore than elsewhere at least. The new tourist sales facility at Xunantunich next to the ferry seems to be doing some good business. And the little museum at Cahal Pech is very nice. They've been working on that and should add one at the sites that don't have them, like Altun Ha.
I didn't get a chance to get down to Caracol but I plan to do that next trip. I keep hearing the road there is going to be paved but I've been hearing that for a long time, several years, in fact.