A look behind the lens of photographer and travel writer Al Argueta

Cahal Pech, Maya site, BelizeI recently did a photo shoot for The Lodge at Chaa Creek, near San Ignacio, Belize. (They’re revamping their marketing materials and needed some fresh images.) While I was in the area, I had the opportunity to explore the Maya ruins of Cahal Pech early one misty morning and I took the opportunity focus my lens on this enchanting oasis.

Cahal Pech, a Classic period site, was discovered in the 1950s but was never excavated until 1988. Its name means ‘place of the ticks,’ which were apparently abundant during the early days of its discovery. (I’m happy to report I saw none during my visit.)

Cahal Pech

The site shows evidence of settlement from as early as 1200 B.C., making it one of the longest-occupied sites in Western Belize. Cahal Pech lies on a hill above San Ignacio and has a number of interesting structures. 7 plazas, numerous temples, and a number of Maya arches are in evidence, all beautifully-restored (a little too beautifully, according to some) – Cahal Pech doesn’t seem big, but it’s a treasure trove of architectural wonders.

Cahal Pehc, Maya site, Belize

My guide was worried that the weather wouldn’t make for good images, but I felt like the fog only added to the ethereal atmosphere of this ancient city. It’s hard not to feel a deep sense of wonder gazing at the remains of these impressive structures, built by such a magnificent people whose descendants continue to call Belize their home.

Hope you enjoy these images from my misty morning shoot at the ruins.

Cahal Pech, Maya site, Belize

To learn more about Maya sites in Belize, read our exclusive interview with archaeologist Rachel Egan about her work at Caracol.

And be sure to check out a few other cool archaeological sites in Central America – get behind the lens of Al Argueta’s camera at the Tikal and Copan ruins in Guatemala and Honduras.