A Window Into History | Altun Ha, Lamanai and Xunantunich | Travelspective

Ruins you’d have to see to Belize

Belize is a country lined by sandy Caribbean beaches along its eastern seabed, but what’s hiding on the mainland has been there for centuries, and is worth the trek inwards. Dense jungles blanket rolling hills, and hiding among them is a history rich with pre-Colombian Mayan structures. Situated on the New River in Orange Walk District, Belize, is Lamanai. Being one of the longest inhabited Mayan sites in the country, there is still a bevy of copper artifacts, temple carvings and ruins being uncovered as excavations are still underway. About two hours east of Lamanai, separated by 16,000 acres of wetland, sits Altun Ha. Only 30 miles north of Belize City, Altun Ha was largely used as quarry of sorts, with natives of the city repurposing it’s temples to more modern structures scattered throughout the area. From there, head south down Old Northern Highway for about 40 minutes and you’ll find Xunantunich. Loosely translated to “Stone Woman”, the site’s title is a modern one, and is reference to folklore dating back to 1892. The story goes that the ghost of a woman, with fiery eyes of ember dressed in all white, can be seen haunting the area. Usually appearing outside of “El Castillo” before ascending the stairs of the temple and disappearing into the stone walls at it’s peak. Ghost stories aside, temple ruins topped with grass spring up from the mountainsides in Belize to reveal archaic works of spectacularly preserved architecture from a time when man put the reverence of Mother Earth above all else.