Maya Sites

Maya sites in Belize

I have to be honest, Maya sites never really appealed to me, history just isn’t my thing, until I went to Lamanai, then I was hooked. Climbing the tallest temple at each of the sites, is a challenge. Climbing back down, even more so…you suddenly realize you now have to look down, and they are really high from up there! But the climb is worth every racing heartbeat. The 360 degree views of the surrounding jungle from the top, is awe inspiring.

The flora and fauna around them is incredible too, and you are very likely to see full grown Green iguanas, Spider monkeys and Howler monkeys, as well as a whole host of other wildlife. Visiting the Maya sites, makes a very satisfying day trip. Whether you are interested in their history or not, I guarantee you will still have a wonderful day.

Top visited Maya sites

Barton Creek Cave
Cahal Pech
Actun Tunichil Muknal

More Maya sites

Altun Ha
El Pilar
Nim Li Punit
Santa Rita

Baking Pot • Chaa Creek • Colha Cuello • Ka’Kabish • K’axob • La Milpa • Louisville • Lower Dover • Marco Gonzalez • Nohmul • Nohoch Che’en • Pusilha • San Estevan • Tipu • Uxbenka • Xnaheb

Mesoamerican chronology:
Paleo-Indian – First human habitation 3500 BC
Archaic – 3500 to 2000 BC
Preclassic – 2000 BC to 200 AD
Classic – 200 AD to 1000 AD
Postclassic – 1000 AD to 1697 AD
The Preclassic-Classic boundary marks the first Maya “collapse”.
The Classic-Postclassic boundary marks the second, and the end date of 1697 marks the conquest of the last independent Maya city-state, Tayasal.

What caused the collapse of the Mayan empire?
Mayans dominated large parts of the Americas until, in the 8th and 9th century AD, a large chunk of the Mayan civilization collapsed. The reason for this collapse has been hotly debated, but now scientists say they might have an answer; an intense drought that lasted a century. Studies of sediments in the Great Blue Hole in Belize suggest a lack of rains caused the disintegration of the Mayan civilization, and a second dry spell forced them to relocate elsewhere. The theory that a drought led to a decline of the Mayan Classic Period is not entirely new, but the new study provides fresh evidence for the claims.

Numerous theories have attempted to explain the Classic Maya Collapse, from epidemic diseases to foreign invasion.
It was found that from 800 to 1000 AD, only one tropical cyclone occurred each decade, when usually there were about three. This suggests major droughts occurred in these years, possibly leading to famines and unrest among the Mayan people.

They also found that a second drought hit from 1000 to 1100 AD, corresponding to the time that the Mayan city of Chichén Itzá collapsed. Researchers say a climate reversal and drying trend between 660 and 1000 AD triggered political competition, increased warfare, overall sociopolitical instability, and finally, political collapse, known as the Classic Maya Collapse. This was followed by an extended drought between AD 1020 and 1100 that likely corresponded with crop failures, death, famine, migration and, ultimately, the collapse of the Maya population.