Bone fragments found at the Marco Gonzalez Maya Site. Photo © Lebawit Lily Girma.

Bone fragments found at the Marco Gonzalez Maya Site. Photo © Lebawit Lily Girma.

Those looking for a little Mayan history on Ambergris Caye can find it at the Marco Gonzalez Maya Site (contact Jan Brown for a tour, 501/662-2725, US$10 site, US$8 transportation), just a 30-minute golf-cart ride from San Pedro to the south end of the island. Of an estimated 18 Mayan sites on the island, Marco Gonzalez was the first site to receive archaeological reserve status in 2011. History and adventure buffs will enjoy private guided tours of this virgin site, currently under study, which was inhabited by the Maya for 1,600 years. Head here with Jan Brown, a passionate expat and the reserve’s chairperson, as your guide.

History and adventure buffs will enjoy private guided tours of this virgin site, currently under study, which was inhabited by the Maya for 1,600 years.While the site continues to be preserved, cleaned, and examined for its history of the coastal Maya, it is literally a museum in the wild. A tour is an eco-adventure in itself, requiring careful navigation to avoid stepping on pieces of Mayan ceramics, with rainforest wildlife encounters along the way. Over the past few years, students have helped excavate parts of the site, revealing plaza structures and tombs. Human bones have been found, including skull fragments and skeletons as well as cutting tools made out of volcanic rock, thought to have been imported from Honduras and used for Mayan bloodletting rituals.

This may be the only place in the world where you can visit an ancient Maya trading city on an island and spot pieces on the site that date back to 100 BC. On the way back to San Pedro, stop along the way to enjoy the scenic views from the south side, some of the most beautiful on Ambergris Caye.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Belize Cayes.