Now perched on the highest hill overlooking San Ignacio Town, the Maya ruins of Cahal Pech were originally built as an enclave for the elite. Located in a gorgeous natural setting and surrounded by tropical birds and colorful jungle fauna, Cahal Pech is one of the most popular visitor attractions in Belize. An informative museum on the grounds gives visitors an introduction to the hilltop city and features a dazzling collection of artifacts found at the site.
Layout of Cahal Pech Maya Ruins
Today, archeologists have excavated a total of 34 structures in Cahal Pech in an area measuring just over two acres in size. The “downtown” portion of Cahal Pech includes several temple pyramids, residence buildings, and seven impressive courtyards. The tallest structure on the site is a temple that measures 77 feet high. Other attractions at Cahal Pech include a ceremonial altar, five historical stelae, and two ball courts.
History of Cahal Pech Maya Ruins
Archeologists estimate that Cahal Pech was first founded around 1,000 years Before the Common Era. During the Classic Period (300-800 of the Common Era) of the Maya civilization, most of the surviving buildings, including the largest temples and palaces, were constructed during this time. Around the year 800, the citizens of Cahal Pech abandoned the city for unknown reasons, particularly mysterious because nearby Maya sites in Belize continued to be thriving population centers for several more centuries.
Although the original name for the site is lost to history, today it is called Cahal Pech, a combination Yucatan/Mopan Maya term meaning “place of the ticks”. This was the name local cattle farmers in the 1950s gave to the area.
Cahal Pech Maya Ruins Tour Information
Visitors to Cahal Pech are encourage to wear comfortable, loose, lightweight clothing and proper shoes. Long pants are recommended over shorts as they will help give additional protection from insects. All visitors are encouraged to bring plenty of drinking water, and fair-skinned individuals are recommended to make ample use of sunscreen and hats.
The Cahal Pech Visitor’s Center is open Monday through Sunday, and contains a reconstructed model of the entire site.
Chabil Mar in Placencia & Cahal Pech Maya Ruins
The award-winning Chabil Mar resort on the Placencia Peninsula offers its guests organized tours and vacation packages that include a visit to Cahal Pech. Guests can choose to include a tour of Cahal Pech as part of the resort’s popular Belize Reef and Jungle vacation package.
For more information about things to see and do in Belize, feel free to chat with our Concierge at: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact our Reservations Manager at: email@example.com. Or perhaps you would like to call toll free from the US or Canada: 1-866-417-2377.