One feature that families love about Europe is the aged, and often timeworn, architecture. Cities like Rome and Athens have structures that are thousands of years old, which is pretty mind-blowing when you’re from a country where most buildings were built within the last century. But why limit your ancient ruins to Europe? Let’s not forget that the Americas were (and still are!) home to incredibly diverse cultures and civilizations before the Europeans came along. These ancient societies have left behind rich art and architecture that are too often overshadowed by tourist destinations across the pond. Don’t miss an opportunity to expand your children’s appreciation for the history and cultural heritage of the Americas!
You’re probably familiar with Mexico’s rightfully popular Chichen Itza, but there are plenty of other ancient Mayan cities and pyramids in Central America that have remained comparatively under the radar. Mexico’s tiny neighbor Belize has its own vast collection of dramatic Mayan ruins to explore, well beyond the Yucatan’s cruise ship crowds. Another advantage to traveling in Belize is that it’s an English-speaking country, which makes getting around a bit easier if your Spanish is rusty. Let’s take a look at those remarkable Mayan ruins that are waiting for you in beautiful Belize!
Caracol is the largest Mayan site in Belize. While it hasn’t been as extensively excavated as some of Belize’s other ruins, the surrounding jungle makes the pyramids even more astounding—especially Caracol’s central pyramid, the tallest man-made structure in Belize.
Altun Ha is the easiest ancient site to reach from Belize City. While most of the city is still covered in jungle foliage, you and your family can admire the two central plazas and several small pyramids and burial mounds.
Near the Guatemalan border is Xunantunich, a Mayan city that flourished in the latter half of the first millennium. Here you’ll encounter a huge pyramid and have the chance to view some old carvings. Getting to Xunantunich involves crossing a river on a hand-cranked ferry, so get ready for an adventure!
Laminai, in northern Belize, has one of the most astonishing clusters of Mayan ruins in the country. The site features three stunning pyramids, open plazas, and old ball courts. Additionally, there are two nearby 16th-century Spanish churches that provide a great opportunity for you and your kids to study the diverse architecture found in the area.
Lots of adventure and learning await in Belize. Let The Family Odyssey get you there! A trip to some of Belize’s ruins is sure to inspire an appreciation for a side of history that you, and your family, may not have discovered yet.
Join us March 28 – April 4, 2015 for a trip that will Wow your whole family. There is snorkeling, amazing birds and wildlife as well as the Mayan ruins. Check our website at thefamilyodyssey.com or call us at 847-386-7800 for details.