The hilltop Maya site of Cahal Pech (daily 6am–6pm; Bz$12), twenty minutes’ walk west of San Ignacio along the road to Benque Viejo, is well worth a visit. There’s a good chance you’ll have the forested ruins all to yourself, and although the structures are not particularly tall, the maze of restored corridors, stairways, plazas and temples is enchanting. Cahal Pech was the royal acropolis-palace of an elite Maya family during the Classic period, and there’s evidence of monumental construction from at least as early as 400 BC, though most of the remaining structures date from the eighth century AD. The visitors’ centre and museum has a scale model of the site, excellent displays and a variety of artefacts. Entering the site itself, you arrive at Plaza B, where your gaze is drawn to Structure 1, the Audiencia, the highest building at Cahal Pech. From the top, the ruins of Xunantunich are clearly visible to the southwest. Behind Structure 1, in Plaza A, is a restored three-storey temple, as well as other sacred buildings.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Belize features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Video: 10 reasons to visit Belize

Video: 10 reasons to visit Belize

Belize was ranked in the Rough Guide to 2018 for good reason. Often overshadowed by its more touristed neighbours, this Central American nation remains one of…

21 Dec 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
19 places for a digital detox

19 places for a digital detox

Find peace at Buddhist monastery, Nepal Trim out the religious and/or mystical connotations and Buddhism boils down to something quite simple – brain trai…

14 Nov 2014 • Neil McQuillian camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right