Caracol – Belize’s highest temple
- Location: Mountain Pine Ridge
- Description: Full Day Tour
- Recommended Wear: Hiking boots or sneakers
- Level: Easy - Moderate (walking and climbing
Caracol, a Classic Period complex discovered in 1938, covers 30-square miles of thick, high-canopy jungle, and includes five plazas, and an astronomic observatory and temples. The loftiest among them, a massive pyramid (Caana) which is capped by three temples and rises over 140 feet above the jungle floor. Caracol's central core today, as seen by visitors, consists of three plaza groups surrounding a central acropolis and two ball courts, along with a number of smaller structures. The Visitor's Center exhibits a number of photographs and diagrams of the site, along with artifacts, including a recovered ceremonial altar. Caracol can truly be described in superlatives: Largest archeological site in Belize - One of the largest in the Maya world - Tallest man-made structure in Belize (Caana) - Most structures, largest area, largest population, most hieroglyphics. Caracol was linked together by more than 20 miles of roadways that radiated outward from its epicenter like the spokes of a wheel and it is estimated that 200,000 or more Maya lived in the area when this important City-State reached it's peak around 700 A.D. Many hieroglyphic texts have been found on stelae, alters, ball-court-markers, capstones and wall facades. The discovery of an elaborately carved ball-court-marker dating back to the end of the early Classic Period has been interpreted as Caracol claiming a military victory over Tikal, located more then 60 miles away in Guatemala.