Built in a strategic position at the mouth of the New River, the late Preclassic centre of Cerros (daily 8am–5pm; Bz$10) was one of the first places in the Maya world to adopt the rule of kings. Despite this initial success, however, Cerros was abandoned by the Classic period. The ruins of the site now include three large acropolis structures, ball courts and plazas flanked by pyramids. The largest building is a 22m-high temple, whose intricate stucco masks represent the rising and setting sun.

A sporadic bus service runs from Corozal to the nearby village of Copper Bank, and from there it is possible to rent a bike to access the ruins (20min). However, the most comfortable and reliable way to reach the ruins is by boat. Hotels in Corozal can give advice on arranging a charter (ask at the Sea Breeze Hotel or Hok’ol K’in Guesthouse), which operate either with (from US$75 per person) or without (from US$30 per person) a guided tour. Visitors should note that mosquitoes around the site are particularly pesky – prepare accordingly.