South of Punta Gorda

 

San Pedro Columbia 

San Pedro Columbia is a Q'eqchi' village where the Maya inhabitants speak the Q'eqchi' language and the women wear colourful costumes, including Guatemalan-style huípiles. There are many religious celebrations, at their most intense on San Luis Rey Day (5 August).

Lubaantun

Lubaantun ('Fallen Stones') was the major ceremonial site of southern Belize. The site has a visitor centre and has undergone extensive work to restore a large part of the ruins. It was found to date from AD 800-900, late in the Maya culture and therefore unique. A series of terraced plazas surrounded by temples and palaces ascend along a ridge from south to north. The buildings were constructed with unusual precision and some of the original lime-mortar facings can still be discerned. Excavation revealed whistle figurines, iron pyrite mirrors, obsidian knives, conch shells from Wild Cane Caye, etc. One of the great controversies of the site was the discovery in 1927 of the Crystal Skull by the daughter of the explorer FA Mitchell-Hedges . This whole region is a network of hilltop sites, mostly unexcavated and unrecognizable to the untrained eye.

Blue Creek

Blue Creek is another attractive indigenous village which has a marked trail to Blue Creek and their Maya drawings. The trail leads through forest and along rock-strewn creeks. Swimming nearby but choose a spot away from the strong current.

Pusilhá

Pusilhá is one of the most interesting Maya cities, only accessible by boat. Many stelae have been found here dating from AD 573-731, and carvings are similar to those at Quiriguá, Guatemala. Rare features are a walled-in ball court and the abutments remaining from a bridge that once spanned the Moho River. Swimming in the rivers is safe. There are plenty of logging trails and hunters' tracks penetrating the southern faces of the Maya Mountains but if hiking in the forest, do not go alone.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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