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A great, convenient day trip is a visit to Altun Ha, a nearby Mayan Ruin. It takes about 1 hour to arrive in Altun Ha via car. Altun Ha directly translated mans Rockstone Pond. This ruin used to be a large trading and ceremonial center in the Mayan community. Altun Ha reflects typical Mayan social structure, as it is believed there were rural farming communities built around this capital centre. It was settled around 250 BC; it is estimated around 10,000 Maya lived around this area. To stand on top of these temples and look out at the verdant land and bright blue sky is an exhilarating and spiritual experience.
The ruin consists of 275 structures, split into two central plazas with temples, tombs and alters. Visitors can explore each of the pyramidal-shaped temples. One of the temples, called Temple of the Green tomb contained jewelry, skills and pieces of Jade. The largest temple is the Temple of the Masonry Altars, where archeologists believe much of the religious ceremonies occurred. It was at this temple that a large jade head of Kinich Ahau, the Mayan sun god, was discovered. This is the largest Mayan artifact found so far and is a source of great pride for the Belize (on the Belizean dollar bills, there is a drawing of this head).
Altun Ha was discovered in 1963 and is the most excavated site in Belize.