When Mayan Gods are Smiling

Xunantunich, Cayo, Belize

We awoke to such dark skies and rain that we considered abandoning our planned trek to the Mayan temple of Xunantunich (Shoo-nahn-too-neech) in the Cayo District of Belize. After procuring some plastic rain ponchos we decided to brave the weather and undertake the bus trip and mile long walk needed to reach the ruins.

The Mayan Gods smiled on our fortitude.

By the time our bus arrived at the hand-cranked ferry that crosses the Mopan River the clouds had parted and the rain had stopped. A gracious couple from Nevada even offered to drive us the final mile to the main site.

Mopan Ferry, Xunantunich, Cayo, Belize

We expected to find a mere warm-up for our excursion to Guatemala’s Tikal next week, but we were truly impressed with the grandeur of Xunantunich. This Mayan ceremonial site includes more than twenty-five temples and palaces.

Some of the intricate frieze work is still visible, giving a hint of their original magnificence.

Xunantunich Belize

Not surprisingly, death defying limestone stairs lead up the 130 foot El Castillo pyramid.

Xunantunich Stairs, Belize

Offering sweeping views of the jungle below.

Several hours later, we were back on a bus heading toward San Ignacio just as the rain started again.

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10 Comments on “When Mayan Gods are Smiling”

  1. Mary March 5, 2012 at 9:22 am #

    The stairs are always a killer. Thanks for taking me along on your trip.


  2. Debra Kolkka March 5, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    What an amazing looking place!


  3. Betty Londergan March 5, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    How FABULOUS!! I am so happy you made it — what a glorious trek! I wonder how you will like Tikal… cannot believe how green it is there; makes me really miss Belize!


    • Brian March 5, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

      Hi Betty,
      I imagine Belize is quite a bit different from Haiti. We think what you’re doing is great, and are honored to have you as a reader of our humble blog.


  4. Kristina March 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm #



  5. Shtina March 5, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    I love Xunantunich, I’m glad you had a good time!


  6. Grant March 5, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    Love that ferry – and Shannon climbing those steps!


  7. Atari March 6, 2012 at 12:27 am #

    “Fortuna audaces iuvat” (Fortune favours the bold) –Terence (attr.)


  8. Susan McKennasusan March 6, 2012 at 3:43 am #

    A true beauty! Tikal is over 80% excavated, so it’ll be a way different experience than this one…and you’ll probably hear the howler monkeys too…which is an entirely different story…I loved Belize 10 years ago and it looks just as beautiful still. ENJOY!!!



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