The Belize Cayo District is a wild west of spectacular caving systems and overgrowth jungles filled to the brim with rivers, waterfalls, and ancient Maya ruins. The region’s central hub is San Ignacio, where a collection of high-end eco-lodges and local eateries provide the perfect launching point for the next caving, trekking, kayaking, or horseback riding activity through the Belize Cayo District. Between each outing, take time to stop along Burns Avenue for drinks and conversations with the locals who infuse the region with its Mestizo culture.

Every corner of Cayo’s lush landscape begs for an epic adventure, whether spelunking in the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave, canoeing down the Mopan River, or learning about the region’s biodiversity on a nature tour of Noj Ka’ax H’Men Eljio Panti National Park. The primary enticement of Cayo, however, is its plethora of ancient Maya sites, with Cahal Pech, Xunantunich, El Pilar, and the commander and chief of all Belizean Maya ruins, Caracol, all found within its borders.

Sitting high on the Vaca Plateau and enshrouded by thick jungle near the Guatamalan border, Caracol is the largest Maya site in Belize, thought to be one of the most powerful cities in all of Mayan civilization. At its peak around AD 650, the city’s population reached 150,000—more than twice the size as today’s Belize City. Trekking through Caracol’s collection of 30,000 structures spanning more than 80 square miles reveals millennia of human history and provides the chance to catch a glimpse of the jungle’s tapirs, jaguars, and spider monkeys that make their home amid the ruins. Of course, those who make the trek to the top of Caana (Sky Palace) are rewarded with the best view of all: 360-degree panoramas of the forest below atop Belize’s preeminent archeological site.

The Belize Cayo District is one big adventure waiting to be unleashed. Contact Ker & Downey today to incorporate Cayo into your next Central American journey.