In early October, one of our guests, Kenny, visited Lower Dover and caught an itch to see more Mayan sites after he saw the un-excavated site at Lower Dover Jungle Lodge. The staff at Lower Dover said “No problem Kenny, let’s go to Xunantunich, after all we were already going to make a trip to San Ignacio for Saturday grocery shopping at the market, what’s the harm in going a couple more miles down the road?”
Turns out all the rain we had in October caused the river ferry entrance to close because of flooding. The crossing is one of the unique features of the Xuantunich day trip experience, and a great throwback to the olden days! Next time Kenny!
Lucky for Kenny we drove, and he wasn’t stranded waiting for the bus; double lucky was running into our favorite Xuantunich guide and local bird expert Edgar. Edgar was waiting to instruct tourists about the current river conditions, however he agreed to be our guide for $50 Belize to take us on a personal tour of Cahal Pech back in San Ignacio. Before we left, Edgar insisted on showing us the fabulous view of Benque which also sits in a striking site line of the main temple at Xuantunich. Looks like Kenny got to see Xuantunich after all!
We had about 2 hours to kill while the boss lady was shopping, and Edgar showed us around the site at Cahal Pech, named “Palace of Ticks”. Cahal Pech sits on top of San Ignacio Town’s largest hill. The main entrance contains a museum of Western Belize Mayan history, which Edgar walked us through explaining the many artifacts and their significance to Mayan daily life.
Edgar shared that during the most recent dig season, archaeologists discovered a series of burials that only contained human heads! Sounds like some bad dudes to cross…
Cahal Pech showcases unique Mayan architecture, such as vaulted ceilings and doorways. These advancements allowed Kings and noblemen adorned with elaborate bird feathered headdress to walk through corridors and staircases with ease.
These ceilings, stairways and adjacent plazas are truly great works of craftsmanship and worth seeing with your own eyes. One King was so displeased with his builder’s crooked doorway corridor that he sacrificed the construction staff underneath their failure.
Cahal Pech offers the opportunity to sit on the King’s throne and visualize the market activity that occurred in the plaza below over a thousand years past. A magical experience indeed.
Thanks again Edgar!