Benque Viejo del Carmen

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13 travelers at this place

  • Day7

    Day 6.

    February 2, 2020 in Belize ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Today we travelled by the water taxi from Caye Caulker to Belize City then took another chicken bus to San Ignacio, Belize. We arrived at our hostel around 1 PM then took a taxi to the ancient Mayan ruins in Xunantunich. We had to cross a river on the car ferry before walking to the ruins. They cannot build a permanent bridge for cars and walking traffic as the tide fluctuates quite drastically throughout the rainy season. The ruins were absolutely breath taking as the area has been very well maintained for centuries.

    For supper, we travelled to a small town outside of San Ignacio to visit the Women's Pottery Co-op that G Adventures helps sponsor through the Planterra Project. The project helped to fund a space for the pottery workshop and provides job opportunities for women in the community. The pottery techniques are those used by the ancient Mayans that has been passed down through generations. A few of the other members of my group also tried their hand at pottery which was very entertaining for the locals! The community also served us a traditional Belizian dinner that is also funded through the project.
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  • Day17

    Maya Ruine Xunantunich

    September 29, 2019 in Belize ⋅ ☁️ 32 °C

    Versuch Nr. 2 ist geglückt. Wir nahmen auch heute den Bus Richtung San José und stiegen an der Fährstation aus. Die Fähre ist ein kleines Highlight, da sie noch handbetrieben ist um Autos und Personen an das andere Flussufer zu shippern. (Wie nachhaltig 😉)

    Drüben angekommen, nahm uns netterweise ein amerikanisches Päärchen in ihrem Jeep die 1,6 km lange Strecke bis zum Eingang mit. Wir waren sehr froh darüber, da es stetig bergauf gegangen wäre.

    Die Maya Stätte selbst war sehr beeindruckten und um einiges größer als das, was wir bisher sahen. Von der großen Pyramide aus, in der die Herrscher-Familie lebte, konnten wir nach Guatemala sehen. Die Grenze ist nur ein paar Kilometer entfernt.
    Zurück liefern wir zur Fährstation (es ging ja bergab) und nahmen wieder den Bus.
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  • Day4


    January 22, 2019 in Belize ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    We woke up early -- we had a full day planned!

    We had breakfast at the New French Bakery in San Ignacio, a small and well reviewed spot with good pastries, and head to our first destination: the Maya site of Xunantunich.

    I haven't visited any other Maya sites and I'm aware Xunantunich may not be the most spectacular one, but I loved it. To get there we had to cross the Mopan river with yet another hand-cranked cable ferry. We actually asked our guide in Xunantunich why they wouldn't build a proper bridge. "Tourists like it," he laughed.

    Talking about our guide, we found him there, right before crossing the river. Guides wait there to offer their services to visitors. I feel we got very lucky, because our guide, Joseph Paul Panti, was extremely good. He was really friendly and spent three hours with us telling us all kinds of details about the site and the surroundings. He could answer questions and was also familiar with the fauna, so he was able to point us to the howler monkeys on the trees, which are supposed to be very loud, although not when we were there. On top of that, he spoke Spanish, something that not all guides would have been able to do.

    Most of the city hasn't even been excavated yet, but Xunantunich is truly impressive. One good thing about it is that is not as crowded as other places, and that you can actually walk all over the place and get to the top of the highest pyramid. From there, you'll see Guatemala.

    Our guide told us lots of facts and stories about the site, but there are a couple I particularly remember. One, that the Xunantunich site has actually had several names, including Mount Maloney, after Sir Alfred Maloney, who was the first to report of the site in 1881. The name Xunantunich, which means "stone maiden" in Maya, was given to the site by Thomas Gann in his 1925 book Mistery Cities. It refers to a legend that says that a stone maiden appeared to one of the villagers, who ran away.

    Another interesting fact is that the stucco frieze in the photo is not the real one. It's a replica that covers the original one, which was rapidly deteriorating. One of these decorations was added in 1996. Another, in 2001.

    The works to excavate the rest of the site are going slowly, because there aren't really many archeologists or resources in Belize. I thought that, were I an archeology student, I probably would love to come work here.
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Benque Viejo del Carmen