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Your Carnival cruise destination of Belize offers many fascinating attractions and a rich history. The Altun Ha & Belize City Tour provides a glimpse into the country’s past and present.
It is interesting to learn that it is the only nation in Central America with a British colonial heritage and the official language being English. But before the arrival of the Europeans, the Maya civilization settled across Belize beginning around 1500 BC and flourished until about 800 AD.
Your shore excursion begins when you board an air-conditioned motor coach for a drive through the city as your guide offers interesting facts about points of interest along the way. For a glimpse of the business, historic and cultural aspects of Belizean life, notice the beautiful landmarks and old British colonial buildings mixed with modern architecture. See if you agree that Belize City has a true Caribbean charm.
Leaving the city, you’ll travel along the Northern Highway to the Altun Ha Mayan ruins. During the 45-minute drive, notice several quaint villages as you pass by.
Upon your arrival at Altun Ha, which covers about five square miles, you’ll be amazed at the largest of the pyramids, The Temple of Masonry Altars, which rises 54 feet above the ground. Archeologists believe that Altun Ha was occupied by 200 BC and may have had a population of about 10,000 people. Three plazas and thirteen structures mark the epicenter of this very important ceremonial site of the ancient Maya civilization.
Altun Ha also served as a trade center, located only seven miles from the sea and surrounded by a primary broadleaf rainforest. This ancient site did not come to the attention of archeologists until 1963 when pilot and amateur Mayanist Hal Ball noticed the existence of the ancient site from the air.
In 1965 this site captured world attention when Professor David Pendergast of the Royal Ontario Museum discovered the almost ten-pound jade head of the Sun God Kinich Ahau in the tomb of a Royal Priest, located within the main temple of the masonry altars. The jade head is considered one of Belize’s national treasures.
You may climb the stone steps to the top of one of the three main temples on the site (weather permitting). From this vantage point, you’ll enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.
At the end of your Belize shore excursion you’ll board the motor coach for the return trip to the pier and your “Fun Ship.”
For a shore excursion that offers a glimpse of Belize’s past and present, book the Altun Ha & Belize City Tour now. It’s a delightful way to add fun ashore to your fun afloat.