Deep within the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, 2hrs' drive from San Ignacio, Caracol is the largest Mayan site in Belize. It was an urban centre which, at the height of its prosperity, had a population of around 180,000.
The temple rises 42m above plaza level and is the largest man-made structure in Belize. Over 70 tombs have been excavated and many hieroglyphic texts have been found on altars and wall façades. Many wildlife species can be encountered in this area which is also known as an excellent place to observe birds.
Having visited Caracol continue to Gaia Riverlodge in hilly Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, which protects the natural pine forests, which blanket an area of granite and limestone cut through by waterfalls and peppered with sinkholes.