Mayan ruins: Altun Ha, Belize
These Maya ruins are not far from the border with Mexico and deserve attention.
I spent a couple of hours there before arriving to Belize City.
In those times, 1984, there was no entrance fee, but I am afraid that presently you will pay to visit the place, but it will be worth.
Occupied from about 900 BC to 1000 AD, Altun Ha was a regional site subservant to Lamanai. Despite that these compact ruins are very well excavated and preserved giving a very good feel for what a Mayan plaza would have looked like.
Altun Ha are the closest Mayan ruins to BC and therefore get more tourists thanb any other site in Belize, including tons of cruise ship goers...The best advice is to go at 8-8:30 am while it is still cool and the throngs have not arrived yet---There are 5-6 large pyramids and structures among the palm trees and vines---very pretty early in the morning, even when a fairly large local school group showed up--it was fun watching their teachers lead games and chants about their local site--definitely climb at least one--we climbed the Temple of the Sun for photo ops of the whole site, but not for the faint of heart!
A very cool spot if you can beat the crowds----
These are the 1st Myan Ruins I have seen, they are raelly pretty, not really large in comparison to others but great non the less. The drive is kind of long, we did it on our way to the jungle reserve and it made a great trip. See my other tip on the jungle reserve for more details.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE - just don't do what I did and leave a pair of Dior sunglasses at the top! Nothing like leaving a sacrafice for the gods!!!!
This beow taken from: http://www.destination360.com/central-america/belize/altun-ha
We had the ruins almost to ourself then a bus of kids showed up. The little shops in front are the typical touristing stuff. The grounds only take about an hour to really explore. Definately need a rental car or a tour to take you. We took a rental car, easy to find. The roads are not great but nothing the "off the beaten path" traveler can't deal with.
The Altun Ha Mayan ruins in northern Belize are found just 30 miles to the north of Belize City, and are certainly worth a visit if you are staying at one of the Belize City hotels. The site of the ruins at Altun Ha is small compared to some of the other Belize Maya sites, but the fact that it is so easy to get to from Belize City makes it a popular visit. It's surviving pyramid-temples are quite impressive, though they might not be the tallest, and climbing them affords some interesting views of the surrounding jungle. A good amount of the Altun Ha ruins have yet to be uncovered, and what you'll find currently exposed here are only some main structures. While you can get a rental car and head here yourself, it's best to get a guide who can take you. Not only can you sit back and enjoy the ride without worrying about directions and such, but you'll also have someone to tell you all about the things you are looking at.
Altun Ha comes as something of an after thought compared to other Mayan ruins located in Belize such as Lamanai and Caracol. You should not be overlooked for Altun Ha is impressive just the same and very well restored.
The site was occupied almost continously for 1200 hundred years. Like many of the other sites in the Mayan world Altun Ha collapsed around 950 A.D. Altun Ha is divided into two plazas known as Plaza A and Plaza B.
Plaza A is surrounded on all four sides by magnificent buildings. The most prominent is the Temple of the Green Tomb. This building dates from 550 A.D. When excavated by archeologists, the temple was found to be filled with fine artifacts such as jewellery, animal skins and jade.
Temple B is also surrounded by impressive buildings. The dominating feature is the Temple of Masonry Altars. This was probably the main building used for religious ceremonies at Altan Ha. It can be climbed by way of a wooden staircase to the south side of the building. Several tombs were found inside of the temple but most were the victim of grave robbers. Notably is that one of the few that was not was the tomb for Kinich Ahau which gave way the largest jade carved head ever found in the Mayan World. It was 15cm in size.
To the south of the ruins is a large pond called Rockstone Pond. You can track through the jungle a few hundred meters and see it. The pond was at one time a reservoir built by the Maya. Today there are crocodiles here so don't jump in to escape the heat.
I visited Altun Ha by way of a bus tour from Ambergris Caye. Otherwise it is very heard to get here by public transport.
We visited this site as part of a shore excursion of a cruise .We really enjoyed seeing this wonderous Mayan ruin . Although it is smaller than others, it is the most extensively-excavated Maya site in Belize.
There are thirteen structures within two Classic period plazas. As we entered the site we approached Plaza A, which is enclosed by large temples on all four sides. I am always amazed at the quality of workmanship that is apparent in these ancient civilizations. An again you can't help but wonder...whatever became if them.
The Temple of Masonry Altar,rises 60 feet above the plaza B. This temple was probably the main focus of religious ceremonies. We climb with a single stairway running up the front. We have a panoramic view of the site from the alter at the top.
Encore une petite heure de route à partir de Belize City, et decouverte d'un superbe site: Haltun Ha.
Totalement differrent des autres, passionnant.
You have to drive for an hour from BC and you will discover a very interresting place, different of the other of Belize...
But you have to come early, before the buses who bring cruisers..
It's probably not as majestic as the ruins you will see in Mexico, but with the excavations still going on it is an interesting site.
Not too long ago these ruins were still underground so they're a work in process. Very hot sun so a little exhausting. You get to take a boat ride through a long, narrow river through the mangrove trees and exit in Bomba Village.
In Bomba Village you can shop in little huts for wood carvings. Then you board a bus to the ruins where you get to see more of the rural Belize. My tour ended at a day spa.
I WOULD NOT recommend the massage. We were so incredibly sweatie and nasty and then had oil rubbed on us without the chance to rinse off before hand. I was then a sweatie, nasty, dusty, dirty, oily mess the whole ride home. The room where they give you the massage is essentially outdoors so no cooling. They did serve rum punch on the bus though so I forgot all about the oil.
Altun Ha is located 30 miles north of Belize City. A trek to the top of this pyramid is rewarded with a magnificent panorama of the site and over the treetops of the jungle. This temple went through eight phases of construction and the round altar at the top is unique to this site. The archaeological site covers about one square mile of area, with at least 500 visible structures and likely had 3000 inhabitants. Evidence dates the earliest settlement here to 200 BC, with varied construction phases ending about 900 AD.
Altun Ha is a bit off the beaten track. The trip from Belize City takes about an hour or so with the last couple of miles over a very narrow and very bumpy road.