Horses and ferry's on a horseback riding vacation in Belize with Hanna Stables
Horses and ferrys
When we reached the ferry landing in the Mayan village of San Jose’ Succotz, near the Guatemalan border, we dismounted. But Santiago Juan’s horsemanship and training ensured that his horses placidly walked right onto the tiny ferry next to that one automobile.
After this impressive river crossing, we rode up a steep, 1-mile track to the top of a limestone ridge where the spectacular Mayan site of Xunantunich stands. At the Visitor’s Center, we tied up the horses as howler monkeys roared in the forest canopy above.
The Mayan ruins of Xunantunich (pronounced shoo-nan-too-nitch), meaning “Stone Maiden,” are named after a ghost of a woman often sighted by locals. She appears to ascend the 140-foot El Castillo pyramid’s stone stairway and then disappear into a stone wall. Today, El Castillo is a national symbol for Belize and that country’s second tallest pyramid.
Standing since 400 BC, this important ceremonial center dating from the Classic Era occupies one square mile of six plazas and 26 temples and royal palaces. For unknown reasons, the Mayans abandoned Xunantunich around 1000 AD.
Re-discovered in the 1890s by a British medical officer, archeological study didn’t start until 1938. Here, one of the capable, expert guides on site joined us to enable us to really appreciate the Mayan magnificence.