Belize turned out to be one of my most favorite countries I’ve ever visited, a large part due to all the crazy fun activities we got to experience while there. One of those experiences included a full-day horseback riding tour to the ancient Mayan ruins of Xunantunich with Mayawalk Tours, the same company that took us caving to ancient Mayan sacrifices!
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Xunantunich is located in San Ignacio, Belize, near the border of Guatemala. Jarden apparently has always wanted to be a cowboy, so he jumped at the chance to horseback ride to the famous archaeological site. After meeting at the tour office bright and early, we were driven to a ranch where we got to meet our guide and horses for the day.
I’ve ridden horses in a very brief sense, so I was mildly shocked to be hoisted up on such a large animal. The horses were so sweet though, and after a brief introduction our guide started our tour through the Belizean jungle.
It was a nice leisurely ride, about an hour, and we enjoyed going slow and observing the many sights and wildlife along the way. I loved seeing all the wild iguanas – they were huge! Once close to the site, we had to do a tiny river crossing with our horses.
Once we finally reached Xunantunich, we tied our horses up and were happy to be able to stretch our legs. There are multiple structures at the site, and our guide explained the history of the area along the way, with the howler monkeys screaming in the background. Fun Fact: Howler monkeys were used for the dinosaur noises in Jurassic Park! They really sound like prehistoric monsters – so cool!
We had the amazing opportunity to climb up this structure, getting a closer look at the workmanship of the temple. The path takes you around and inside the pyramid, giving you a feel of how the Mayans used to live back in the day.
We were in awe of the ruins to say the least! We had plenty opportunities for pictures thanks to our guide/stand-in photographer, and we enjoyed learning so much about the history of the Mayans along the way. The climb up was a bit tiring, so we definitely savored the few at the top. On one side Belize, Guatemala on the other!
After climbing down, we walked a bit more around the site, absorbing the history of other structures such as an ancient Mayan basketball-like court. We then went to the visitors center, getting a closer look at the artifacts found in the area.
After our ride back on the increasingly endearing horses, we said goodbye to our animals and had a final homemade lunch on the ranch. After a long day of walking in the hot sun and riding on horses for a couple hours, this meal (along with some incredibly tasty limeade) was greatly appreciated! I absolutely savored this meal – I still dream about that chicken to this day! (It was also our first time trying plantains, and we fell in love!)
Our time with MayaWalk Tours was perfect! Every aspect of the day provided exceptional value and service – we learned so much about the history of the area from our extremely informative guide, and had such a fun time with the horses!
I must say that I was quite comfortable with my horse at the end, and of course Jarden fell more in love with horseback riding. Xunantunich itself was breathtaking, and I definitely favor the ruins that you’re able to climb yourself. We highly recommend this activity with MayaWalk Tours – they offer a bunch of different activities and are my go-to for tours in San Ignacio, Belize!
More Here: MayaWalk Tours
19 Burns Avenue
San Ignacio, Belize