Xunantunich is a town in the Cayo region of Belize. It is known for the 9th century Maya ruins, which are Belize's most-visited Mayan site. Set on a hilltop overlooking the Mopan River, they form six groups with about 25 temples and palaces.
- To get there by bus, catch a bus toward Benque Viejo del Carmen at the main terminal. Tell the conductor that you are heading here, and they will drop you off for $1Bz. Cross the river via free hand cranked ferry, and then walk 1 mile to the site. It is also easy to hitch a ride from the San Ignacio vicinity. Admission to the park is about $10B. Park closed at about 4PM. The ferry takes only one car at a time-so sometimes there is a line up to leave (if you wait until 4PM). It is the only way across the river.
- El Castillo is the tallest building in Xunantunich. It stands 40m (131') tall, with a 360° view at the top of jungle, ruins, and Guatemala.
- Expensive souvenirs at the onsite giftshops
- If you're interested in buying some slate artwork, there are some guys selling pieces at the handcranked ferry for very reasonable rates.
Follow the signs to Benny's Kitchen for a relaxed meal, and read the local newspapers while you enjoy Pibil (delicious pork) or stewed chicken with rice and beans.
- In the town of Benque Viejo del Carmen (you can walk there from Xunantunich) you will find a burgeoning tourism industry that includes a variety of river and jungle adventures, stunning Mayan archeological ruins, horseback riding excursions, bird and wildlife watching and more. Otherwise Xunantunich makes a good halfday trip from San Ignacio. Consider spending the day and night relaxing in Benque before heading to Guatemala and Tikal.
Benque Guest House, 22 Riverside Street (along the Mopan River), ☎ 011-501-823-2323. The new Benque Guest House, located in the quaint little border town of Benque Viejo del Carmen, welcomes you to a world of tropical wonder. Built in 2008, this eco-friendly guest house offers all the comforts of home and business, great food, fun, character-rich conversation and a sense of community. $25 - $85 US.
- To return to San Ignacio, simply catch any bus from the other side of the street. They will all head to San Ignacio.