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Best ruins to visit? #32988
01/07/01 10:40 PM
01/07/01 10:40 PM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 16
Chicago, IL, USA
OLDBLUE2  Offline OP
We will be staying on Ambergris Caye. During the last week of January, we are looking for suggestions for a one to two day trip to visit ruins. Tikal comes highly recommended but there are others that we know less about. Any suggestions?



Re: Best ruins to visit? #32989
01/08/01 09:46 AM
01/08/01 09:46 AM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,054
Asheville, NC USA
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
Lan Sluder/Belize First  Offline
Tikal in Guatemala's Peten of course is a must-see. It is large, many of the buildings have been excavated and the setting in the jungle is amazing.

I've visited all the major ruins in Belize and would list them this way, in order of probable interest to the archeological non-professional:

1. Caracol in the Chiquibul wilderness beyond the Mountain Pine Ridge -- although this site is actually larger than Tikal, excavation is so far limited, but the setting is wonderful and the trip there by road is extraordinary.

2. Lamanai -- the setting on the New River Lagoon is beautiful, and as at Tikal you'll see howler monkeys. This makes a great day trip from San Pedro.

3. Xunantunich -- easy to get to and, though small, very interesting, with an excellent visitors center.

4. Altun Ha -- also fairly easy to get to, and a popular tour from San Pedro. Small, but you can see the temple that's on the Belikin beer bottle.

5. Lubantuun near PG -- very small but interesting site, and the present day Maya who live nearby are special.

Also highly worthwhile are trips to the caves (some on private land) that have Maya artifacts, such as CheChem Ha, Flour Camp, Barton Creek, etc.

Cahal Pech, El Pilar, Santa Rita, Cerros, Nim Il Punit, La Milpa, Cuello and other sites are all worth visiting if you are in the areas where they are, but I don't know that I would make a special trip unless I had a keen interest in Maya archeology.

--Lan Sluder
Belize First Magazine

P.S. My new book, Guide to Mainland Belize, covers all these sites in detail (shameless plug: it's available from

Lan Sluder/Belize First
Re: Best ruins to visit? #32990
01/08/01 10:36 AM
01/08/01 10:36 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 80,387
oregon, spr
Marty Offline

Marty  Offline
If you are taking one trip to the ruins, go to Lamanai. Like Lan said, great day trip.

many birds, fun boat rides, crocs, its a great trip...

Re: Best ruins to visit? #32991
01/10/01 12:45 AM
01/10/01 12:45 AM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 16
Santa Cruz, Ca, USA
khallbeck Offline
khallbeck  Offline
Hi, I'm pasting this from an earlier post. But it says what I think of TIkal (all good).

Hi there, We just got back from A/C and Tikal (31 dec, 2000).
What I would suggest if you want to see ruins (that was our main goal) is to plan on 4-5 days in Flores, Guatemala. From there they have lists of tours that you can take. And it's a 7.x to 1 US dollar exchange. nice and inexpensive.
You do have to pay a 30 USD departure tax for leaving Guatamala and 20 USD for leaving Belize, so, try to leave each only once.

I have a town map of Flores at work, email me at [email protected] if you want some hotel numbers.

Flores is an island, very small, and clean.
We likes Flores more than anything else on our trip. Which was a BIG surprise!

Kerri Hallbeck
Re: Best ruins to visit? #32992
01/15/01 04:43 AM
01/15/01 04:43 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 58
hunter Offline
hunter  Offline
Caracol in Belize is just like the pages of the National Geographic. Tikal is wonderful as well. You won't be disappointed in either. Prepare to be really sore the next day from all the climbing you do regardless of the site you choose.

Re: Best ruins to visit? #32993
01/15/01 10:11 AM
01/15/01 10:11 AM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 10
holidaybound Offline
holidaybound  Offline
this is great information - I too am planning a trip to see ruins/caves/jungle after visiting AC. if you weren't daytripping it, where would you recommend a modest lodge (hot water/own toilets/great proximity) to stay a few nights in cayo? what about flores? will we need to rent a car if we don't do tikal to just get a round? many thanks.

Re: Best ruins to visit? #32994
01/15/01 10:22 AM
01/15/01 10:22 AM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,054
Asheville, NC USA
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
Lan Sluder/Belize First  Offline
My recommendation for a modest lodge in Cayo would probably be Clarissa Falls on the Mopan River. Cabanas with bath, pretty basic, start at around US$40 a day. Good little inexpensive restaurant on site, and the lodge is about three-quarters of a mile from the highway and bus stop.

There are a couple of budget lodges at Bullet Tree, such as Parrot's Nest.

The folks on whose land is Che Chem Ha cave also have budget lodging and excellent food.

But the above are a bit out of the way if you don't have a car.

Not a real lodge, but a good budget place to stay is The Trek Stop (US$10 a day per person in tiny but spic n span cabins with outdoor composting toilets. And if you don't want a lodge but want to be close to town, I'd recommend Aguada (US$25 with pool and A/C, best deal in Cayo) in Santa Elena near La Loma Luz hospital, or Martha's in downtown San Ignacio or Rose's Guest House near Cahal Pech.

--Lan Sluder
Belize First Guide to Mainland Belize
(available from

Lan Sluder/Belize First
Re: Best ruins to visit? #32995
01/16/01 12:47 PM
01/16/01 12:47 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 94
Omaha, NE
Suzan Offline
Suzan  Offline
When we went in late October, we stayed at Martha's Guest House in San Ignacio, then grabbed an early morning cab ($3 or so, I think) for the border. We shared a mini van with another couple and I believe we paid $10 US each to go to Tikal -- it's a long haul but fun to see the scenery. There, we stayed at the Tikal Jungle Lodge for a night so we could spend 2 days visiting the ruins. I dont believe you can see it all in one day. It's a real adventure. Power is out at all the hotels from 4pm to 6pm and then again after 9pm until morning. Bring flashlights. The restaurants near the entrance to the park are delightful, good food, cold beer. Our last night we spent in Flores at Hotel Isla del Flores. It was about $40 and our van driver said it was the best value in Flores (and he did not recommend it, we requested it from our guide book.) it was about $40/night -- nice and clean and hot water -- heavenly -- as the hotel in Tikal was cold water (even though they say hot water). It was a great trip, I recommend it, we loved Tikal and Flores is a beautiful little place -- you can walk around the entire town in about 20 minutes. Go. Smooth communications in all media

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