The history of the Maya people is the history of Belize. Evidence of this rich cultural inheritance is found throughout the country and can be seen during tours of ancient Mayan ruins and artifacts found in the jungles and caves of Belize.
Belize was the heart of Mayan civilization from 250 to 900 AD. Known as the classic period, there was an estimated population of one million people in Belize during this time.
However, it is thought the Maya people began to occupy the country as early as 1500 BC and continued to do so until the arrival of the Spanish in the 15th century. Even today there is a Mayan population living in small villages throughout the country.
The most visible legacy of the Mayan cultural history of Belize is the ancient temples and palaces the Mayan people left behind. Tours of these ruins deliver thousands of visitors every year to the jungles and hidden spaces of Belize.
These Mayan ruins include such archaeological treasures as Xunantunich (Maiden of the Rock) a ceremonial center that provides a panoramic view of the Cayo District, Caracol (The Snail) where 1985 excavations unearthed evidence of an important victory and positioned Caracol as the "supreme" Mayan city, Lamanai (Submerged Crocodile) one of Belize's largest ceremonial centers featuring exotic aspects of ancient Maya art and architecture, and Cahal Pech (Place of the Ticks) a medium-sized center that was home to a Mayan royal family.
Adventures in Belize has created several unique vacation packages that include cultural tours of the ancient Maya ruins in the jungles and caves of Belize.