Photos of Caracol

Caracol
View all photos »

Maps of Caracol

Location of Caracol
Map of Caracol

Aerial View of Caracol

Add Your Comments

Quick Facts on Caracol

Short URL
gohist.co/s/319300
Names
Caracol Caracol Archaeological Reserve Oxwitzá
Address
Caracol, Cayo
Location
Caracol  locality
Cayo  state
Belize  country
Central America  continent
Main date(s)
70-859
Coordinates
16.763177° N, 89.117768° W
Admission
Bz$15

Description of Caracol

The largest Mayan site in Belize, Caracol once occupied a large area (88 sq km) and supported a population of about 140,000 people. Its Mayan name was Oxwitzá, ("three hill water"). The name Caracol comes from the Spanish for "snail" and refers to the large number of snails found here during early explorations.

The Caracol Archaeological Reserve is located in the Chiquibil Forest Reserve of west-central Belize, 47 miles from the Mayan city of Tikal in Guatemala. The site is not as extensively cleared as others in the region, but this does provide more atmosphere and better wildlife spotting.

So far, archaeologists have uncovered two ball courts and three main plazas surrounded by pyramid temples and other structures. Over 100 tombs have also been found, as well as a rich array of hieroglyphic inscriptions that reveal the history of this lost Mayan city.

The most impressive sight at Caracol is a hillside complex known as Caana (Maya for "Sky Place"). Rising 43.5 meters above the plaza below, Caana contains four palaces and three temples. It is one of the most elaborate complexes found so far in the Southern Maya region. The palace rooms were originally coated with white stucco and decorated with red paint.

The largest tomb discovered so far was hidden deep below Caracol Stucture B19. The tomb chamber was also coated with white stucco and decorated with a thick red line around the center and a large red panel at one end. Inside the red panel is an inscription recording the date 634. The only occupant of the chamber was an adult female, who had been bundled in cloths and accompanied by ceremonial vessels.

Holly Hayes
October 27, 2011

Historical Timeline of Caracol

Bibliography of Caracol

Comments on Caracol

Have you visited Caracol, or do you have personal connections or insider knowledge? Please tell us about it below!

Please rate for beauty, interest, importance, visitor experience, etc.
Can be 20-3000 characters (about 5 to 450 words). If submitting a correction, please include the correct information and your source.
Required. Will be displayed with your comments.
Required. Will not be displayed unless you request it. We do not sell or share your e-mail with anyone.
  Check the box if you want to display your e-mail address so you can be contacted by other readers.
Required. This just shows you're not a spam bot.