Temple of the Masonry Altars, Structure B-4, is the most imposing building at Altun Ha. It rises 54 feet above the floor of Plaza B. Archeologists have probed the entire construction history of this temple, determining that it was built in eight phases, the first beginning around 550 A.D. The present reconstruction is of the temple as it would have...more
One of the neat things about Altun Ha is that the temples may be climbed by visitors. Karen and I climbed to the top of the Temple of the Masonry Altars, using wooden steps part of the way. The most difficult part of the climb was using some of the ancient stone steps laid by the Mayans. The steps were so high, even for a long-legged person like...more
The Temple of the Green Tomb, also known as Temple A-1, is the most imposing structure in Plaza A. It consists of a terraced platform marked by a broad stone staircase which extends about halfway up the structure to a chambered building. The temple was built during several construction periods in the 5th and 6th centuries A.D. Several minor...more
Upon entering Altun Ha the first feature that caught our eye was this impressive mound to the right, facing Plaza A, known as Structure A-6. Less is know about this mound that the other structures in Plaza A due to its great size and poor condition. It is thought that an earlier building may be hidden deep within what appears to be an earthen...more
Plaza B, is similar to Plaza A, but differs in its sequence of construction. Little is known about most of the six structures which are believed to have been both residences and temples. Some of them have been damaged by local quarrying. Plaza A and Plaza B are divided by a low divider mound between the two plazas. The most imposing feature of...more
Plaza A, the first that you will enter on a walking tour of Altun Ha, is enclosed by the ruins of eight large temples and palaces. This plaza is different than most Mayan centers in that there are no carved monuments or stelae in front of these structures. Archeologists can only guess the reason. Some think that the stela cult simply did not extend...more
Our visit to Altun Ha commenced at the small open-sided pavilion pictured here. Our guide began by giving us an overview of the site, outling some of the basic facts and history of Altun Ha. A guided tour is not necessary to enjoy the site. A couple of displays in the pavilion give some highlights, however, there are no interpretative displays...more
The only way to actually experience the ruins at Altun Ha is to take a walking tour. The ground is mostly level and the plazas are covered by a thick carpet of grass. There are a few shady areas around the sides of the site offering a bit of relief from the tropical sun.There is no trail as such, but the natural configuration of the site leads...more
No regularly scheduled public transportation goes to Altun Ha. A tourist staying in Belize City has three reasonable options to get there: taxi, rental car, or bus tour. Probably the least expensive of these is the bus tour, and that's the option we took. The disadvantage is that we were hearded like cattle with about 40 strangers. The upside is that it was less expensive than a taxi or car rental, and also we had a very informative guide who showed us points of interest both en route and at the ruins.
The half-day tour cost us about $49 US each, but it also included a driving tour around Belize City.
Near the parking lot but out of sight of the ruins there are several souvenir shops offering handmade native crafts, gift items, and also cheap trinkets. I was happy to find a very nice hand painted and signed refrigerator magnet for $4 US.
All of the shops but one were in the newer building pictured here. The hidden picture shows the Altun Ha Gift Shop, off to itself, which had a bit more character. I liked the fact that the folks here were nice to deal with and not pushy.