Cahal Pech, is a small yet intriguing Maya ruin hidden in the beautiful town of San Ignacio. Cahal Pech meaning “Place of Ticks” got its name due to the area being used as a pasture during archaeological studies back in the 1950’s . The site holds 34 large buildings, and has 8 interconnected plazas containing pyramids, temples, stelae, ballcourts, and elite residences. Cahal Pech is within walking distance from downtown San Ignacio, making it a perfect place to visit when in the area. Stop in at the visitors center to view and learn about the artifacts found from early excavations, along with a model of the site, paintings and even a short interpretive film depicting Cahal Pech in its prime time.
Did you know that Cahal Pech is the oldest recognizable Maya ruin in western Belize?
Evidence shows that it was inhabited by 1200BCE during the Early Middle Pre-classic, being home to an Elite Maya Family. They were known as the earliest inhabitants to use ceramics. Many ceramic female figurines were crafted with beautiful beads made from conch shells that were brought in from the Caribbean Sea. The Middle Pre-classic was the beginning of masonry architecture which climaxed during the late Classic (600- 900 AD). The entire site covers approximately 22 acres with a small core, inhabiting approximately 15000 in population.
Overlooking the Macal River, Cahal Pech was a ceremonial center with temples, palaces and ballcourts. By choosing this location 900 above sea level, they had the advantage of spotting enemies before they became a threat. It also gave them dominance over the trade on the river and rich land to the north. The largest building, structure B1, is a partially restored pyramid with broad steps leading to the top. About 12 burials are found in this structure along with foreign trade goods such as: obsidian, jade, ceramics, jade art, shell mask and a turtle shell with hieroglyphic markings. The tallest pyramid is Plaza A rising 79 feet high surrounded by 5 structures with a wide stairway leading up to the summit.
All the structures seen today are from the Late Classic. The site was well known by natives, but wasn't reported and excavated until the 1950’s. There is no history of the collapse of this once popular Mayan empire, but most studies suggest that they experienced the same as other lowland sites, and was deserted by 900 AD.
Are you ready to go centuries back in time? Join us as we take a leisure hike under the jungle canopy. Get a chance to see some beautiful tropical birds, and learn about the flora and fauna during your tour. Upon entering the site, you will see different types and sizes of structures. Your guide will take you to explore the plazas, rooms, stairways and impressive courtyards. You can climb a few of the stairs to get a better view of the area and relax in the cool atmosphere.
As little as it seems, the walls of Cahal Pech hold lifelong history, each telling a different story. Cahal Pech provides an excellent example of the Mayas architecture. Just by looking at the manmade structures, we can easily visualize the life once lived hundreds of years ago. There’s plenty more to be explored, plenty more to learn and plenty more to live throughout this two-hour tour. Bring your camera along to get great shots of this amazing Maya ruin. Let our guide Agusto enlighten you as we discover the past.
Private transportation in AC Vehicle from your hotel.
Licensed Tour Guide
Entrance Fees to Park
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