Xunantunich (“Stone Woman”) was a major ceremonial center across the Mopan River in the Mayan village of San Jose Succotz, about eight miles from the Guatemala border.
A hand-cranked ferry takes you across the Mopan River, followed by a mile drive up to this archaeological complex that was a major ceremonial center during the Class Period of the Maya.
El Castillo, a pyramid standing at 130 feet above the main plaza floor, offers a spectacular view of the jungle landscape for miles around over the Mopan River Valley and into neighboring Guatemala. Sometimes howler monkeys entertain visitors who climb to the top. (If you don’t enjoy climbing ruins, you can relax in the shade at a picnic table and take pictures of other people climbing.)
El Castillo is known for its unique Eastern frieze, a banded stucco decoration which at one time extended around the entire structure. Beautiful stucco reliefs are on display and excavation projects continue.
Note: Xunantunich is typically visited as part of our Maya Day/San Ignacio Area tours.
Duration: 1 to 2 hours
Fitness Requirement: Average (guests can visit without climbing)
Food: On Own
Dress: Lightweight short or long pants and sturdy footwear; optional head covering in case of sun
What To Bring
Sunscreen, insect repellent, camera, binoculars, raingear if needed. We provide water and umbrellas.