Altun Ha picture
~Ealasaid~/Flickr

Key Info

North of Belize City

Price & Hours

BZ$10 (about $5) per person
8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

Details

Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.1scorecard
  • 4.5Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

This popular Mayan site, speckled with tombs, pyramids and temples, served as a trading nexus during the Mayan Empire's Classic Period (A.D. 250 to 900). Altun Ha —meaning "Rockstone Pond" in Yucatec Maya — features a man-made lagoon, which remains intact. During your visit, you'll likely encounter foxes, deer, birds and perhaps crocodiles occupying Rockstone Pond. Visitors also recommended exploring the Temple of the Green Tomb, where elite priest-kings were buried with luxurious items, such as jade, pottery and pearls.

But keep in mind: If you don't like hiking, Altun Ha may not be for you. Travelers said that while the ruins are amazing, the uphill hike to the site can be exhausting. If you're looking for something less strenuous, consider visiting one of Belize's other Mayan ruins like Lamanai or the Cayo District.

Located in northern Belize, about 30 miles north of Belize City, Altun Ha is easily accessible by car via the Northern Highway or by excursion services operating out of Caye Caulker. Altun Ha welcomes visitors every day between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entrance costs 10 Belize dollars (roughly $5).

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#1 Ambergris Caye

With its plentiful outdoor activities, this 25-mile-long island off the coast of northern Belize caters to the snorkeling and diving set. The island was originally inhabited by the Mayans to serve as a far-extending trade route, spanning from present-day Mexico to as far south as Honduras. Today, Ambergris Caye welcomes thousands of visitors seeking easy access to the barrier reef that surrounds the island. Snorkelers and intrepid divers alike will want to explore Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Most of the diving and snorkeling shops and instructors are found in San Pedro, including the Belize Pro Dive Center, Tuff E Nuff Tours and Scuba School Belize, which all offer a variety of daily excursions. Prices vary depending on the type and length of tours, plus any certification fees for diving.

When you're not underwater, explore San Pedro, Ambergris' main town. Here you'll find beachside restaurants, lounges, shops and luxury hotels. You'll notice the difference between this tourist hub and the more urban Belize City as soon as you step onto its cobblestone streets, which are filled with golf carts and bicycles, rather than cars.

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