Just a short walk from the present-day town of San Ignacio, Cahal Pech, also known as “The Place of Ticks” in Yucatecan Maya, this Maya site is very convenient to visit. Located in San Ignacio along the banks of the Macal River in the Cayo District, Cahal Pech was a ceremonial center, with temples, palaces and a ball court. The site offers you a spectacular panoramic view of San Ignacio and the Belize River Valley.
The site is particularly important for the information it has provided on the earliest Maya settlements in the region, for its large number of Pre-classic figurines and for its complex residential architecture. Indeed, its maze of interconnected rooms provide an excellent example of Late Classic Maya palace architecture.
Cahal Pech is located on an imposing hill that overlooks the twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena. First settled between 1200-1000 B.C., the site is one of the oldest settlements in the lowland Maya world. By Late Pre-classic times (300 B.C.-250 A.D.), Cahal Pech had developed into one of the most imposing centers in the Belize River Valley. Its Pre-classic inhabitants acquired exotic goods from the Caribbean coast and highland Guatemala and shared the symbol systems of communities across Mesoamerica. The central precinct of the site consists of 36 structures, which include tall temple pyramids, two (2) ballcourts and several range-type buildings or palaces. The tallest temple in the central core is Structure A1, which stands at 77 feet high.