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8 Facts About Xunantunich Mayan Ruins

Get ready to go back in time and immerse yourself in the fascinating world of the Xunantunich Mayan ruins, the ultimate Belize tour for adventure seekers and history enthusiasts alike. Nestled within the lush jungles of Belize’s Cayo District, this ancient archaeological site is a must-visit for anyone seeking to explore the rich culture of this beautiful country. We’ve compiled eight fascinating facts to prepare you for the Xunantunich tour, tips for places to stay, and combination packages to enhance your adventure!



1.- Xunantunich (pronounced shoo-nan-too-nitch) is the first ancient Mayan site to be opened to the public, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to experience the rich history and culture of the Mayan civilization.

2.- Visitors must cross the Mopan River on the Xunantunich Hand Crank River Ferry to access the Mayan ruins. This part of the experience is especially fun for those who don’t typically use ferries.

3.- Xunantunich derives its name from two Mayan terms – “Xunan,” meaning “noble lady,” and “Tuunich,” meaning “sculpting stone,” which together translate to “Sculpture of Lady” or “Stone Lady.” The site is also known as “Stone Woman” for its mysterious and haunting tales of a ghostly woman that have been reported for over a century.

4.- Xunantunich was one of the largest Mayan cities in the region and an important ceremonial center, with a population of up to 10,000 people at its peak.

5.- Located along the river, Xunantunich was also an important trading center, with evidence of trade with other Mayan cities in the region and with the ancient city of Teotihuacan in Mexico.

6.- The site features several impressive structures, including the famous El Castillo, which stands over 130 feet tall and offers rewarding views of the surrounding jungle and nearby Guatemala.

7.- The Mayans were skilled engineers and architects, as evidenced by the numerous stelae or intricate carvings and decorative elements throughout Xunantunich.

8.- The site was abandoned for unknown reasons around 750 AD and remained largely untouched until the 19th century when European explorers rediscovered it.

Best Muy’Ono Resorts For The Xunantunich Tour

When it comes to exploring the fascinating Xunantunich Mayan ruins from a Muy’Ono Resort, some locations offer a more accessible adventure than others.

1.- Sweet Songs Jungle Lodge: As the closest to the site located in San Ignacio, this resort offers the most combination tours, including horseback riding to the Xunantunich ruins, cave tubing, and ziplining.

2.- Hopkins Bay Resort: Take a scenic ride on Hummingbird Highway, one of the most beautiful drives in Central America, and explore the nearby towns and villages.

3.- Thatch Caye Resort: Escape the private island for a day of jungle adventure as you explore the Xunantunich Mayan ruins with lunch and even pair with cave tubing.

Enhance Your Adventure

Enhance your Xunantunich tour with a combination package that offers thrilling adventures such as ziplining, cave tubing, or horseback riding.

1.-Xunantunich and Cave Tubing: Hike to the top of the ancient Maya site for breathtaking views, then enjoy a refreshing ride through the extensive cave systems.

2.- Xunantunich and Ziplining: Get a bird’s-eye view of the stunning Belize jungle from the top of the ruins and as you zip through the treetops.

3.- Xunantunich Horseback Riding: Ride by horseback from Sweet Songs Jungle Lodge through the hilltops, over the ferry, and up the hill to Xunantunich.

While our list of eight Xunantunich facts provides a glimpse into the site’s significance, there is much more to learn and experience when you tour with an expert local guide. Additionally, staying at one of the recommended Muy’Ono Resorts and enhancing your adventure with a combination package can make your Belize vacation even more memorable. Take advantage of the opportunity to explore this incredible site and immerse yourself in the ancient world of the Mayans.