The book I’m currently reading is dealing with Mayan ruins on the Yucatan Peninsula. About 10 years ago I got to see some Mayan ruins when my wife and I took a cruise. One of our ports was Belize City, Belize. Our excursion that day was to the other side of the country, to San Ignacio, Belize.
I honestly don’t remember most of the particulars our guide discussed there. I remember it means something like “Place of the ticks”, which sounds horrible but the day we were there it was quite nice if maybe a little warm.
We walked along a path from the parking lot and the first excavated area we came to was the ball court (C4 & C5) off Plaza C.
There was still some active excavation going on, but not much. And there weren’t any archaeologists out during the time we were there.
I remember the faces that were carved into the steps when we were in Plaza B. That and the trees that were still growing inside the plaza. I would have expected that those would have been removed so that they didn’t do more damage to the site.
Though the trees did provide a nice covering of shade for us pale northern US tourists.
Everything seemed so green and moss covered. The white walls were a rather startling contrast, really.
Once we moved through the large square doorway and into Plaza A we got to what I think of as the stereotypical Mayan ruins. The tallest of the buildings was a small pyramid on one side of the plaza and the rest was surrounded with stone walls.
As we left Plaza A we went through an arched passageway. The Maya didn’t build a true round arch, but instead stepped the sides in a little bit at a time until they met at the top.
We got to peer down into a couple of rooms that no longer had roofs.
And got a nice look down into Plaza A sitting before the pyramid.
Once again though, it was rather surprising to see trees growing on the side of the pyramid.
Before we got to climb up to the top of the pyramid (if we wanted to) we were allowed to see into some of the rooms that had been excavated with roofs still intact (Plaza E). In this photo you can see some of the color that was painted on the walls and ceiling.
In addition to the greens there was a reddish color as well.
The view from atop the pyramid was nice. But with all the trees still standing you couldn’t see very far. With the site sitting on top of a hill, and the river not far away, the view must have been quite impressive during the time it was in use.
The steps going to the top were a little steep, and many in our group didn’t want to chance going up. So there was a group who stayed down on the ground in Plaza F.
As I mentioned before, everything there was so green and often moss or lichen covered. There was a small staircase that twisted and turned it’s way down that was quite striking.
The last few steps down into Plaza F had an extremely ineffectual handrail made of wood that was so wet and rotten I refused to touch it out of fear of getting a scratch or splinter from it and contracting an infection.
All in all it was a wonderful trip. I would love to do it again. Perhaps one day when we are retired we will have the time and money to go see more ancient ruins like this.