Land of the Maya

Land of the Maya
Cahal Pech

Cahal Pech is a major Maya centre located on a hill overlooking the town of San Ignacio. The name of the site is a combination of Yucatec and Mopan Maya meaning "Place of Ticks", a name given to the site in the 1950s when the area around it was used for pasture.

The central precinct of Cahal Pech is situated on an imposing acropolis on the west bank of the Macal River, with a panoramic view of San Ignacio town and the Belize River Valley. The site centre consists of 34 structures compacted in a small area covering slightly more than 2 acres. The majority of these structures are located around 7 courtyards and include temple pyramids and several long-range, residential-type buildings. The tallest temple is Structure A-1 which stands 77 feet high. The site also contains 2 ball courts, 5 plain stelae, an altar and possibly a sweat-house.

The site is set within a beautiful jungle-type environment which is the home for many colourful birds and exotic plants. This dramatic contrast between the town and the jungle, which are in such close proximity, makes Cahal Pech a unique place to visit. In only a few minutes walk a person leaves the hustle and bustle of present-day San Ignacio and enters an atmosphere where life remains in its natural state and ancient monuments become silent testimony of a vigorous civilization that once was.

There are no facilities at the site, which is a 10 minute walk south of the Benque Viejo junction of the Western Highway.