This fascinating tour focuses on the contrast between the ancient Mayan city of Altun Ha and modern day Belize City, highlighting 1,000 years of development within this former British Colony. Altun Ha (Mayan for 'Rock Stone Water') thrived as a trading post to the Mayan world during the Classic and Post Classic periods. The site was made world-famous by Dr. David Pendergast of the Royal Ontario Museum upon his discovery of the world's largest carved Jade Head, depicting the sun god Kinich Ahau. Note: The Belize City tour portion is conducted on a bus without stops.
(7 Reviews) 7
Rating Snapshot(7 reviews)
7 of 7(100%)customers would recommend this to a friend.
A leisurely day at the Mayan city of Altun Ha. We got a comprehensive history of Belize and the Mayan people on the drive out to the ruins. Our tour provided a bottle of water once we arrived, which was welcome in the warm weather. The fully guided tour allowed time to take photos and climb on several of the ruins. The guided portion of the tour ended at the Sun God Temple where there were “somewhat normal” steps that allowed you the climb to the top (without scrambling up larger stones). From the top, you think of yourself as the high priest predicting the next eclipse of the sun, which keeps you in power. Our tour ended at a local restaurant just outside the gates of the port where we were given the choice of a complimentary rum punch or local Belizean beer. Lots of time left to shop along the pier shops and restaurants.
I booked this thru NCL. I'm glad I did. There is no way to get lost or confused on these field trips. The tickets are sent to your room the day ahead of time. They print on the tickets where on the ship to gather the morning of. Then you all walk together to the gathering point on the pier, where a guide meets you, and walks you to the bus. The guide is under orders to come back with the same number of passengers he came with. Now about the ruins. The site has about 4 large structures, and you can climb them all. A couple are not completely excavated, and a few are fully visible. We went to the top of one temple, and sat on the alter where sacrifices were made. The guide was Pedro, and he was part Mayan. He was very informative. The guide asks for tips at the end of the trip, and I gladly gave him one. Oh, the mic on the bus didn't work to well, and food was not provided on this trip, so bring snacks and extra water. The A/C was not the best, but tolerable.
This is a nice tour to see the ruins. The ruins are small but very interesting. We had two tour guides. We rode a boat to the island and then boarded an air condition bus. The first tour guide told us about the city as we drove through. They do not stop for pictures. Once you get to the ruins the other tour guides took over and gave us a very interesting history lesson on the ruins. There are some locals selling items at the ruins. You will get about 20 minutes to shop if you want. The locals are very pushy so beware. You do not get lunch or a bottle of water so purchase a bottle of water as you leave the ship. You can buy banana chips or sweet potato chips at the ruins. They were both very good. You will get back to the ship in time for a late lunch. If you have to eat then try to take a banana or apple from the ship in your bag. This is a great tour for someone that cannot do to much. We had alot of people who were limited in their movement. We traveled in January 2013.
Altun Ha is a very small site with only a few fully excavated buildings. This makes it quite manageable, but for those who are looking for more to see and more to learn for their investment in the travel time (an hour bus ride from port), try something else -- especially if you're going to see only one ruins site during your cruise. It is possible that a visit to Altun Ha would be more interesting if you have time to walk through the jungle path to the pond. (We did not have time for this and might have given the overall experience a higher rating if we had.) Also, most of the site is in full sun (except for the aforementioned jungle path to the pond), unlike other ruins sites where there is a mix of sun and shade. Our guides were excellent, both on the bus and at the site. The bus was very comfortable and we appreciated being handed a cold bottle of water as we got off the bus at the site. (This might vary from driver to driver.) Lastly, we were pleasantly surprised that the tour ended at a restaurant just outside the cruise ship village. We each got a coupon good for one rum punch, one fruit punch (no alcohol) or a local beer. We weren't hungry enough to stay for lunch, although it looked like a nice restaurant.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Share this review:
Review 5 for Altun Ha Mayan Ruins
I traveled with:Family
Cruise Date Month:December
Favorite port:Belize City, Belize
I want to go here next:Panama Canal
Date:December 20, 2012
The tour was very informative. I would also like to comment on our tour guide, Peter. He was the best. He was warm, friendly, professional and knowledgeable. He made a good tour "Great"!
Took this excursion in December 2011. The ruins were incredible however the guide we had was awful which almost overshadowed these great ruins. Trip to the ruins was about an hour and half from Belize City, good bus and about half the trip was on good roads. Nice site seeing to the ruins of the area. Nice little market area at the site and local vendors selling fresh coconuts with tops cut off and straws to drink the fresh coconut milk. Experience of a lifetime being able to climb on the ruins! Ended the tour with a stop at a local restraurant and a free rum punch, which was DELICIOUS! Walked back to the port - only a few blocks after our drinks. Trip would be great if you get a good tour guide, ours spent half her time holding us up right outside the ruins talking forever about nothing!
Fantasic guides who were interesting and informed! They were veryhelpful to the people on their tour! They were very thoughtful guides....wonderful!! LOVED the fact that one guide made about living in Belize and it was this....IF YOU DO NOT WORK YOU DO NOT EAT!! NO FREE LUNCHES! WOW Loved the site and the information obtained by these very good, NO, excellent guides! WONDERFUL TOUR!