Xunantunich Mayan Ruins


Xunantunich Mayan Ruins in Belize

Pronounced shoo-na-too-nitch by most people, this ancient Maya site is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Belize. With an interactive museum on site, visitors can learn about this majestic city that was once a luxury residence for Maya elites. Today, visitors approach the site by crossing the Mopan River using a hand-cranked ferry and then climbing to the top of one of the site’s fabulous temples to be rewarded with an amazingly panoramic view of the countryside.

About Xunantunich

In modern Belize, Xunantunich is located just a short distance from the town of San Ignacio in Cayo District and one mile north of the border with Guatemala at Benque Viejo. Built on a natural limestone ridge, the site was constructed to serve elite nobles and their retinue during the Classic Period.

With a central area measuring just 300 square meters (3,230 square feet) in size, Xunantunich isn’t the largest Maya ruin in Belize, but it’s unique residential structures and ceremonial center make the site one of the top attractions in the country. One of the first lost cities rediscovered in the modern era (excavations first began in 1892), archeological renovations at Xunantunich have revealed three ceremonial plazas, houses, and a large palace decorated with friezes and masks.

The most famous building in Xunantunich is “El Castillo” (The Castle), a pyramid soaring 130 feet above the main plaza. El Castillo was the tallest man-made structure in the country until the Sky Temple at the Maya site of Caracol was discovered a few decades ago. El Castillo is remarkable due to its large stucco frieze on its eastern side that details stories of the gods and stories from Maya creationist myths. Xunantunich was heavily populated until an abrupt event in the Classic Period that left the top of “El Castillo” partially damaged.

Although no one knows the original name of the city, today the site is called the “Stone Lady” (Xunatunich in modern Mayan) due to persistent stories of a woman in white that haunted the original British archeologists and has been regularly seen even up until modern times.

Chabil Mar in Placencia Belize & Xunantunich

The lovely Chabil Mar resort on the Placencia Peninsula is close to all of the most exciting mainland destinations in Belize. Guests of the resort can include a visit to Xunantunich as part of one of Chabil Mar’s fantastic Belize Reef & Jungle vacation packages.

Visit our website chabilmarvillas.com for more information on Belize, and don’t hesitate to send us an email, or call US/CAN Toll Free: 1-866-417-2377, Local: (011-501) 523-3606, if you have questions or need help in planning a Belize vacation.

6 Ways to Make Your Belize Honeymoon Unforgettable!

belize honeymoon

The cake is history. So are champagne toasts. Even the bridal bouquet has a new home. What began with a kiss, ended with “I do,” and as you two head for your Belize honeymoon, you’re probably so tired, all you want to do is sleep! Give it a day. You’ll both be eager to make memories—especially if you booked your romantic stay at Chabil Mar Villas, where honeymooners go for seclusion, pampering and superior hospitality. Once you’ve caught your breath, the Chabil Mar team stands ready to send you off on adventures that turn ordinary honeymoons into spectacular ones.

Swim with the fishes

belize barrier reef

Marine reserves throughout Belize amaze honeymooners eager to see so many undersea wonders. Observe them from a boat or jump into the water, especially around the Belize Barrier Reef where you can swim with giant Tarpon, flirt with stingrays and Eagle Rays and introduce yourselves to dolphins and barracuda if they happen to swim by. There’s a manatee refuge, too. With hundreds of species of marine life, the only witnesses to your undersea hugs, Belize’s underworld adventures could be the highlights of your stay!

Meet the animals

Belize Jaguar

Not every honeymoon couple is eager to roam jungles and rainforests in hopes of spotting Belize’s big cats, howler monkeys and other animals indigenous to this region so opt for a Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center experience. Wear good shoes to explore all 29 acres of savannas and exhibits and do ask your guide to point out the orphans, critters born at the zoo, lovingly rehabilitated creatures and animals received as gifts from other zoological societies. Identify all 125 of Belize’s indigenous animals housed at the zoo and impress your new spouse.

Experience Belize’s past

cahal-pech maya site

Long before Belize became a melting pot of diverse peoples and cultures, generations of Mayans roamed the land. They disappeared without a trace, leaving behind spectacular vestiges of palaces, temples, ball courts and artifacts that are mysterious, exotic and priceless. If you’re both curious and eager to learn more about the Mayans, explore some of Belize’s best ruins, caves and compounds. The Chabil Mar team recommends Xunantunich, Lubantuum and Nim Li Punit and can make arrangements to get you to one–or all three.

Dive in

Dive coral James Chabil Mar Resort Belize

It’s time to find out how daring each of you can be by visiting The Big Blue Hole, a natural wonder comprised of collapsed undersea caves that left a perfect circle in the ocean that’s 1,000 feet across and 412 feet deep. Maintained by the Belize Audubon Society, it was a favorite of iconic marine biologist Jacques Cousteau and a world-class dive experience that attracts people from around the world. If just the thought of dropping into this vast hole is scary, have Chabil Mar staff book a helicopter so you two can see it from the air instead.

Stroll Placencia


Still recovering from wedding shopping? You may have told friends you’ve had enough, but you’re sure to change your mind if you visit Placencia Village, an epicenter of fun that is part of the reason Placencia took a prestigious travel award for being a top Caribbean destination. Because Chabil Mar is close to the village, you won’t have to go far to discover quirky shops, indulge in world-famous Belize chocolates, tour art galleries, check out pubs and indulge in delicious local foods. If you haven’t yet thanked your parents for throwing you the wedding of your dreams, pick out gifts for them here in Placencia Village to show them you were raised right.

Get your romance on

belize romantic resorts honeymoon

We think Belize sunsets are extraordinary. Our beaches are pristine. Belize’s sultry shoreline begs couples to stroll hand-in-hand along Placencia’s 16 miles of sand. You’re here for romance, so take full advantage of intimate moments and lush enclaves on Chabil Mar grounds or sail along the shoreline in a private boat provisioned with picnic foods, cold beer, rum punch and anything else you desire. Since Chabil Mar staff specializes in romance, find out why so many honeymooners recommend this resort to friends after they return home!

For more information about visiting Belize for your honeymoon , feel free to chat with our Concierge at: concierge@chabilmarvillas.com or contact our Reservations Manager at: reservations@chabilmarvillas.com. Or perhaps you would like to call toll free from the US or Canada: 1-866-417-2377.






4 Reasons Placencia Belize Should be Your Caribbean Holiday Destination


Chabil Mar Resort Belize (1)

In your quest for the perfect holiday destination now that travel to Central America is returning to normal, make the smart decision to vacation on the lovely 16-mile-long Placencia Peninsula, located in Belize’s Stann Creek District. What is there about this place that makes it a stand-out when you could choose another spot? Everything!

Placencia is a finger of land nearly surrounded by water so if you can’t get enough water sports, this is a diver’s and snorkeler’s paradise. At the end of the 16 miles lies Placencia Village, commonly known as “The Island You Can Walk To”. The Village is the epicenter of the local population, culture, daily life, shops, markets, and other fun activities, including the areas’ annual festivals, such as Lobsterfest, Art & Music, and, home to Chabil Mar. Also home to jungles, Maya ruins, charming villages, and everything visitors crave in a Caribbean vacation, this area has so much to offer, we had a hard time coming up with just 4!

1. The beaches

Belize Beach Vacations

Whether it’s TripAdvisor, Conde Nast Johansen, or National Geographic, there’s no argument among these and other resources that Placencia beaches are out of this world. Whether you intend to swim in the Caribbean Sea or you’d just as soon float on the lagoon side of the peninsula, these magnificent stretches of beachfront never disappoint.

2. The food



What determines a foodie destination? Diversity. Authenticity. Placencia’s food scene offers both which is why Belize cuisine is finding its rightful place on the international gourmet scene. While Belize food has distinct Caribbean flavors, you may seek variety during your stay. Frommer’s recommends De’Tatch Seafood Bar and Grill (Belizean), Mare (Italian), Maya Beach Bistro (Fusion), Omar’s Diner (Belizean) Pickled Parrot (comfort food) and Rumfish y Vino (international). These should get you started.

3. The Caribbean Sea


Enjoy every minute of your time on “the island you can walk to.” Sail and fish the waters off Placencia or don gear and find out why world-renowned aquatic legends call this area the ideal jump-off point for activities under the sea and on the surface. Belize’s Barrier Reef, located close to the peninsula, is a must-see geological wonder, too.

4. Luxury Accommodations at Chabil Mar Villas

Belize Vacation Destination

How important is the quality of the place you stay during your Caribbean holiday? This can make or break your vacation, which is why Chabil Mar has become the peninsula’s lodging hot spot. Visit the Chabil Mar Belize accommodations page to see breathtaking choices that range from a luxury 2000-square-foot seafront villa to gorgeous suites.

Select from the Chabil Mar Belize vacation package menu for the best vacation of your life. These bundles include gourmet meals served at the resort’s award-winning restaurant, complimentary use of bicycles, kayaks and paddleboards, 2 infinity beachside pools, and a private beachfront made for relaxation and contemplation.

Specialized tours associated with each package allow you to customize your stay and if you could use a little more incentive, how about extending your holiday dates to qualify for discounted rates or avail yourself of current specials? Skip the crowds. Find tranquility. Fill your days and nights with fun. Don’t be surprised if you come up with at least 4 more reasons to choose Placencia for your next Caribbean holiday!

Visit our website chabilmarvillas.com for more information on Belize, and don’t hesitate to send us an email, or call US/CAN Toll-Free: 1-866-417-2377, Local: (011-501) 523-3606, if you have questions or need help in planning a Belize vacation.

What Is Belize Best Known For?

Belize is a rather unique Central American country in that its official language is English. This means that more and more North American people are considering it a premier vacation spot. Whether you are a family, planning your honeymoon, looking for some solo adventure, or want to plan a getaway with your spouse, Belize is sure to have something for you.

Below are 7 things Belize is best known for.

Belize is a popular vacation destination

belize is so beautiful

Belize is world-renowned as a popular tourism destination. It has five different environments to satisfy any sort of vacation spot. It is also a tropical paradise that does not require fluency in Spanish to truly enjoy.

Belize is the heartland of the ancient Maya empire

the top and best maya ruins to visit in belize

Belize is known for being the heartland of the Maya empire. The carbon dating of relics and sites indicates that the Maya are as old as 2,600 BCE. Belize is also home to the most number of Maya ruins in the region.

Belize is the least populated country in Central America

Mestizo Culture of Belize

Belize is known for having the least population in Central America and having a potpourri of cultures. Despite being the home to less than 390,000 people in this country, you can encounter people directly descended from the Ancient Maya, the Afro-Indian Garifuna, Latinos, Chinese, and even Mennonites.

Belize is known for having the only jaguar preserve in the world

The Belize Jaguars

Belize is known for having the only jaguar preserve in the world. Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is a picturesque conservation center in the middle of gorgeous forests and waterfalls. It has also served as the planet’s only nature preserve for jaguars, the smallest of the big cats.

Belize is known for having one of the largest sinkholes in the world


Belize is known for having one of the largest sinkholes in the world. The Great Blue Hole is a giant underwater sinkhole that spans 1,043 feet across and 407 feet deep. This happens to be one of the country’s more iconic landmarks due to its distinct coloring when contrasted to the waters of the Caribbean Sea and as a regular tourist spot for divers and fans of sea life.

Belize is known for its pristine jungles and rainforests

Belize Zip Line Tours

Belize is known for pristine jungles and rainforests. Roughly half of the entire country is covered in jungle and 80% of Belize’s rainforests are protected by the government. These moist, forested regions serve as the home of jaguars, tapirs, crocodiles, ocelots, more than 500 species of birds, and thousands of flowers.

Belize is known for having the second-largest barrier reef in the world

belize barrier reef

Belize is known for having the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere. While everyone knows Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Belize Barrier Reef is the second largest barrier reef on the planet and attracts over 260,000 people a year to dive and fish.

If any of these many activities and sites grab your interest you will need somewhere to stay. If you happen to be vacationing in Placencia, Belize, may we recommend Chabil Mar Villas? Chabil Mar can provide you with the top amenities and accommodations so that your relaxation is just as excellent as your thrilling moments.

Visit our website chabilmarvillas.com for more information on Belize, and don’t hesitate to send us an email, or call US/CAN Toll Free: 1-866-417-2377, Local: (011-501) 523-3606, if you have questions or need help in planning a Belize vacation.

Belize Turneffe Atoll Dive Trips

Belize is a small country in Central America with hundreds of offshore islands strung along the Belize Barrier Reef, the second-largest barrier reef in the world. Amongst these islands is the Turneffe Atoll, one of just three atolls found outside of the Atlantic Ocean, and the largest coral atoll in the Western Hemisphere.

The Turneffe Atoll is located approximately 20 miles (32 km) offshore from Belize City and measures 30 miles (48 km) from north to south and 10 miles (16 km) from east to west. A protected marine reserve, the Turneffe Atoll is one of the most spectacular dive sites in the country.

Surrounded and protected by the Turneffe Islands, the atoll is home to more than 500 species of fish, 65 species of coral, sea turtles, seabirds, manatees, dolphins, and a colorful array of marine fauna. The 400+ tiny islets that surround the atoll make Turneffe one of the most visually spectacular locations in the country, and the dense mangrove forests serve as a nursery and feeding ground for the diverse forms of wildlife that inhabit the area.

With so much amazing underwater terrain to explore, diving Turneffe is an all-day affair. Divers can explore sandy ledges, sheer walls, and spur-and-groove formations that offer challenges to divers of every skill level. Water levels in the lagoons are very shallow with crystal clear water before sloping down to shelves at a depth of around 60 feet. Nutrient outflow from the mangrove forests cause huge schools of fish to congregate.

Perhaps the most famous dive site in Turneffe is known as “The Elbow.” This area is used by hundreds of fish species as a nursery, including black grouper, tiger grouper, mutton snapper, splendid toadfish, and horse eye jacks. Other species seen in abundance in the area include cleaner shrimp, southern sting rays, channel crabs, French angelfish, nurse sharks, moray eels, and three different species of endangered sea turtles.

The Turneffe Atoll was once used as a base of operations by the pirate Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard. In the 18th century, Blackbeard and his crew captured several ships in the area and used the islands to launch operations throughout the Caribbean.

Chabil Mar is a luxury resort located on the Placencia Peninsula, the gateway to the Belize Barrier Reef and the Turneffe Atolls. Chabil Mar offers unique scuba diving vacation packages that include trips out to the Turneffe Atolls.



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