Xunantunich is an Ancient Maya archaeological site in western Belize, about 80 miles (130 km) west of Belize City, in the Cayo District. Xunantunich is located atop a ridge above the Mopan River, well within sight of the Guatemala border, which is 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) to the west. It served as a Maya civic ceremonial center in the Late and Terminal Classic periods to the Belize Valley region.
Xunantunich’s name means “Stone Woman” in the Maya language (Mopan and Yucatec combination name), and, like many names given to Maya archaeological sites, is a modern name; the ancient name is currently unknown. The “Stone Woman” refers to the ghost of a woman claimed by several people to inhabit the site, beginning in 1892. She is dressed completely in white, and has fire-red glowing eyes. She generally appears in front of “El Castillo”, ascends the stone stairs, and disappears into a stone wall.
Xunantunich was the first Maya ruin to be opened to visitors, in 1950.
Open daily, 8 am to 5 pm.
El Castillo (pictured) is the second tallest structure in Belize (after the temple at Caracol), at 130 feet (40 m) tall.
View from the top of El Castillo.