As I (sort of ) promised, I’m sharing more of my little time in Belize. I’ll start with Cahal Pech, the ruins right outside of, or still part of, San Ignacio. These are smaller and seemed much less traveled than most other ruins I had heard about up to this point.
Luckily for me, they were within walking distance from the hostel in town. I was prepared for a casual walk, not three huge, steady hills. Good news, I survived. One thing I loved about it was that we could still climb them and look around from the top. Safe? Eh. Super cool? Yeah.
Of course, there is the main plaza area like any good ruin site. (I’m pretty sure they actually all have this.) This was surrounded by various temples and living quarters also waiting to be explored.
Lucky for us, we were two of, maybe six, people there? This made taking pictures and climbing easier because we really only had to worry about each other being in the way. Since this site is pretty small, in terms of ruins, it can be explored in an hour, maybe less. But it’s cool to hang around if there aren’t many people there.
The walk back into town was much easier as it was all downhill from there. This is probably the only time ‘all downhill from there’ can be used positively.
When are the Cahal Pech ruins open?
Where are the Cahal Pech ruins?
The Cahal Pech ruins are just a short walk from the main area in the town of San Ignacio. It’s a 10-20 minute walk up a fairly steep hill, but it’s very easy to find. If you don’t want to walk, there are plenty of taxis in town that would LOVE to take you. I probably heard “taxi, miss?” 20 times a day while I was there.
What to bring to the Cahal Pech Ruins
Bug spray – You’ll want to bring this no matter when you visit, but you can probably just put it on before you leave. I like the Ben’s bug spray as well as the Off! Deep Woods.
Water bottle – It’ll be hot and humid and you’ll need to stay hydrated. A Hydro Flask will keep your water ice cold all day long.
Sunscreen – It’s probably going to be cloudy but you should still wear it since you’ll be outside most of the day. I like the Neutrogena a lot, but if you’ll be visiting a beach soon, you’ll want a reef-safe sunscreen.
Hat – You’ll might want some kind of hat to keep the sun (or rain) out of your eyes. A baseball hat should be fine but a bucket hat or sun hat could help keep the sun off your neck.
Sunglasses – These are a must, well unless it’s really cloudy but I’d still bring them just in case. Sunglasses are best paired with a hat on those really bright days, though.
How much is it to see the Cahal Pech ruins?
It will be about $2.50 for entrance to the ruin site. It’s visited without a guide but very easy to navigate yourself. It’s a smaller complex compared to others in Mexico like Coba or Tulum, though those are both pretty easy to navigate as well.
There is also a small museum with some artifacts that you can see along with the structures and monuments.
About the Cahal Pech Ruins
The Cahal Pech ruin site sits on top of a hill and used to be a palatial home for an elite Maya family. It’s one of the oldest recognizably Mayan sites in Western Belize with the oldest pottery in Weestern Belize found here.
The site was founded in 1200 BCE and abandoned in 900 CE. Cahal Pech means “Place of Ticks” and it got this charming name during the beginning of it’s studies in the 1950’s. Official excavation started in 1988 and was finished in 2000. The excavation was led by Dr. Jaime Awe, Director of the National Institute of Archaeology in Belize.
Have you been to the Cahal Pech ruins? What did you think of it? Would you like to go?