Situated high on the Vaca Plateau deep in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, Caracol is the most
extensive Mayan site in Belize and was only re-discovered as recently as 1936. The site of
Caracol covers over 80 square miles with 30,000 structures, and at its peak supported a
population in excess of 150,000. Situated at 1600 feet above sea level (one of the highest
located sites of the southern uplands region) with no natural water body close by, it remains
a mystery why such a huge population centre like Caracol evolved where it is. However, the
close proximity to both extremely hard stone and copal, two commodities highly prized by
the Mayas may help explain this enigma.
At the heart of the site lies the massive pyramid of Caana (Sky Palace) which is now almost fully restored and reaches a height of over 135 feet. From the top you can enjoy breath taking panoramic views over the forest clad mountains.
The drive to the site in the early morning occasionally allows guests to take a glimpse of tapirs, jaguars or ocelots, as they break their forest cover to cross the road. The sprawling site contains
huge Ceiba, Mahogany and Sapodilla trees and is superb for birding (the rare Keel-billed
Motmot is one of the many residents of the site). Wildlife such as Howler and Spider monkeys, the Oscellated Turkey, Coatimundi, Gibnut and Grey Fox are often sighted while quietly wandering along the site’s causeways or along trails connecting the plaza groups.