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14 Maya Sites to Visit in Central America & Top Hotels Nearby

Central America offers travellers a chance to explore the rich history of the Mayas, which is considered one of the greatest ancient civilisations in the world. While there are hundreds of historic sites to choose from, we’ve created a comprehensive guide highlighting the best Maya sites to visit and some of our favourites.

With over 400 million annual visitors to HotelsCombined, we’ve uncovered the top Maya sites to visit for history enthusiasts and where to stay nearby to get the most out of your trip. Whether your adventures take you to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador or Honduras, visiting these archaeological gems will enhance your travel experience.

Xunantunich – Belize

Xunantunich Ancient Mayan archaeological site, Belize, mayan sites to visit

Photo| Xunantunich Ancient Maya archaeological site, Belize| GETTYIMAGES – SUZI PRATT

Stucco Frieze, Castillo, Xunantunich Mayan Ruins, near San Ignacio

Photo| Stucco Frieze, Castillo, Xunantunich Maya Ruins| GETTYIMAGES – RICHARD MASCHMEYER – DESIGN PICS

One of our top picks for the best Maya sites to visit is Xunantunich in Belize. Built around 1,300 years ago, this was a ceremonial centre in the Belize Valley. You can explore its six plazas and 25 palaces, then visit the small museum on-site to learn about its rich history, including the ghost said to inhabit the site. Located near the border with Guatemala, a highlight is the stunning views found atop of El Castillo.

Rumors Resort Hotel

Rumors Resort Hotel, hotel near Mayan sites to visit

Photo| Rumors Resort Hotel| Provided by BOOKING.COM

Set in a colourful complex, Rumors Resort Hotel boasts family-friendly rooms with cable TV, Wi-Fi and cosy seating areas. Upgraded rooms add coffeemakers and kitchenettes. In addition to free secured parking, guests have access to a sparkling outdoor pool. Alternatively, opt for a meal at Rumors Restaurant & Bar, which serves authentic Belizean dishes.

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 73 – USD 133
Guest Rating: 8.2
Address: 2 1/2 Benque Viejo Rd, San Ignacio 00000, Belize

Altun Ha – Belize

Altun Ha Mayan ruins, Belize City, Mayan sites to visit

Photo| Altun Ha Maya ruins| GETTYIMAGES – DENNIS MACDONALD

Ruins of the ancient Mayan Altun Ha

Photo| Ruins of the ancient Maya Altun Ha| GETTYIMAGES – © ANDREW HOUNSLEA

Located in northern Belize near Belize City and the Caribbean Sea, Altun Ha is one of the most popular Maya sites to visit. It features tombs, pyramids and temples, serving as a trading post during the Maya Empire’s Classic Period. See the man-made lagoon, then explore the Temple of the Green Tomb where kings were buried with lavish items such as jade, pottery and pearls. Keep your eyes peeled for crocodiles in Rockstone Pond.

Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina

Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina, hotel near Mayan sites to visit

Photo| Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina| Provided by ICE PORTAL

Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina boasts stunning views of the Caribbean Sea, conveniently located near popular cruise ports. On-site perks include a 24-hour fitness centre, two outdoor pools, free Wi-Fi and babysitting services for a fee. Also, upgraded Studio Suites feature large work desks, bottled water, flat-screen TVs and down-filled comforters.

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 138 – USD 243
Guest Rating: 8.3
Address: 2 Marine Parade, PO Box 321, Belize City, Belize

Caracol – Belize

Mayan site of Caracol Pyramids in Plaza, Mayan sites to visit

Photo| Maya site of Caracol Pyramids in Plaza| GETTYIMAGES – MATT CHAMPLIN

Arguably Belize’s most incredible Maya sites to visit, Caracol is located within the Chiquibul Forest Reserve in the Cayo District. It is the country’s largest Maya ruins dating back to around 330 AD and was one of the most important political centres of the Maya Lowlands. History lovers will appreciate exploring the plazas, ball courts, over 100 tombs and seeing incredible art. The “Sky Place” is a highlight, featuring multiple palaces and temples.

San Ignacio Resort Hotel

San Ignacio Resort Hotel tour, Top hotel near maya sites to visit

Photo| San Ignacio Resort Hotel| Provided by SAN IGNACIO RESORT HOTEL

San Ignacio Resort Hotel, hotel near mayan sites to visit

Photo| San Ignacio Resort Hotel| Provided by BOOKING.COM

Set on a seven-hectare estate, San Ignacio Resort Hotel is a family-owned hotel with the award-winning Running W Restaurant and an on-site tour company (Cayo Gial Tours). Further, guests can get pampered with in-room wellness treatments, relax poolside or take a swing on the tennis court. Luxe rooms feature hillside, garden or rainforest rooms, while opulent Royal Suites add balconies with outdoor Jacuzzis.

San Ignacio Resort Hotel image

Photo| San Ignacio Resort Hotel| Provided by SAN IGNACIO RESORT HOTEL

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 137 – USD 645
Guest Rating: 9.1
Address: 18 Buena Vista Street, San Ignacio 99999, Belize

Cerro Maya – Belize

Cerros Maya Ruins in Belize. Mayan sites to visit

Photo| Cerros Maya Ruins in Belize| SHUTTERTOCK – DUARTE DELLAROLE

Once an important trading centre, Cerro Maya is accessible by boat from the town of Corozal. Its name translates to “Maya Hill” in Spanish and research believes that it was at its peak during the Late Preclassic Period from 350 BC to AD 250. A highlight of visiting this popular Maya site is climbing to the top of its tallest building (at 21 metres high), which offers stunning views of the Caribbean Sea.

Almond Tree Hotel Resort

Almond Tree Hotel Resort, hotel near Mayan sites to visit

Photo| Almond Tree Hotel Resort| Provided by BOOKING.COM

A top hotel in Belize, Almond Tree Hotel Resort features spacious rooms and suites, coastal views and a large pool with sun loungers. Marvel at Cerros Maya from Suite 2 or enjoy views of Corozal Town from Suite 3. Alternatively, opt for Suite 10 for direct beach access. The on-site restaurant serves breakfast daily, while Turtle Bar serves juices, wraps and soups.

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 103 – USD 207
Guest Rating: 8.1
Address: 425 Bayshore Drive South End Corozal, Corozal, Belize

Lamanai – Belize

Central America, Belize, Yucatan peninsula, New River, Lamanai, Maya ruin, Lamanai Mask Temple, Mayan sites to visit

Photo| Lamanai Mask Temple| GETTYIMAGES – WESTEND61

Central America, Belize, Yucatan peninsula, New River, Lamanai, Maya ruin, High Temple

Photo| Lamanai, High Temple| GETTYIMAGES – WESTEND61

Set in the northern region of Belize, Lamanai is in the Orange Walk District. Built in the pre-classic period from 1500 BC to 1680 AD, it’s a must-see because it was the oldest continuously occupied Maya sites in Belize. It’s also one of the largest ceremonial sites in the country at 31 square kilometres and features various historic structures, a ball court and the notable Temple of the Mask. Combine a visit with nearby Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.

Belize Boutique Resort & Spa

Belize Boutique Resort & Spa, hotel near Mayan sites to visit

Photo| Belize Boutique Resort & Spa| Provided by BOOKING.COM

Set in the Maya rainforest, Belize Boutique Resort & Spa provides an oasis for nature lovers. It features pampering amenities such as a luxury spa, multiple restaurants, two pools (one with a waterfall) and hookah lounge. One-of-a-kind retreats, ranging from two-bedroom villas to treetop Penthouses, feature mosaic tile floors and exotic fabrics, each individually designed with locally crafted furniture.

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 99 – USD 505
Guest Rating: 9
Address: 40 1/2 Old Northern Highway, Maskall, Belize

Cahal Pech – Belize

Cahal Pech Mayan pyramids and ruins, Mayan sites to visit

Photo| Cahal Pech Maya pyramids and ruins| GETTYIMAGES – MATT CHAMPLIN

Mayan ruins of Cahal Pech

Photo| Maya ruins of Cahal Pech | GETTYIMAGES – CUTE KITTEN IMAGES

Cahal Pech, which means “place of ticks”, is an ancient Maya site that was once surrounded by pasture land. It served as the royal palace of an elite ruling family and features multiple historic plazas, temples, residential buildings, ball courts, an altar and sweat-house. There’s a visitor centre and museum on-site showcasing an interpretive film, while one of the temples offers stunning views over San Ignacio and the Belize River Valley.

Cahal Pech Village Resort

Cahal Pech Village Resort, hotel near Mayan sites to visit

Photo| Cahal Pech Village Resort| Provided by BOOKING.COM

Nestled beneath Cahal Pech, Cahal Pech Village Resort offers a prime location. In addition to three outdoor pools and an on-site restaurant, guests can choose from Standard Rooms with Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs or Suites with living rooms. Alternatively, thatched-roof cottages feature verandas with hammocks. Activities include cave tubing, horseback riding and canoeing, while nearby Placencia is a popular beach getaway in Belize.

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 95 – USD 288
Guest Rating: 8.4
Address: Cahal Pech Hill, San Ignacio, Belize

Hotel Location

Tikal – Guatemala

Mayan ruins at Tikal National Park, mayan sites to visit

Photo| Maya ruins at Tikal National Park| GETTYIMAGES – MICHAEL GODEK

Tikal Amidst Trees At Forest Against Sky

Photo| Tikal Maya ruins| GETTYIMAGES – STUART BIRCH – EYEEM

Undoubtedly the most popular Maya sites to visit in Guatemala, Tikal is a UNESCO-listed site and one of the great cities of the 8th century. Adventurous travellers will love exploring the various trails that lead to the towering pyramids and over 3,000 structures, as well as the lush jungle home to local wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for resident monkeys and wild turkeys, then take a guided tour to see the elaborate water harvesting system.

Hotel Jaguar Inn Tikal

Hotel Jaguar Inn Tikal, hotel near Mayan sites to visit

Photo| Hotel Jaguar Inn Tikal| Provided by BOOKING.COM

Set within Tikal National Park, Hotel Jaguar Inn Tikal offers a unique jungle setting. Wake up to the sound of toucans, parrots and monkeys in one of the cosy bungalows, which feature ceiling fans, porches and hammocks. Also, you’re just a 15-minute walk from the Tikal ruins, which means you’ll have easy access for sunrise, sunset and full moon/night tours.

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 69 – USD 90
Guest Rating: 8.1
Address: Tikal National Park, Tikal 20001, Guatemala

El Mirador – Guatemala

El Mirador archeological site in Guatemala

Photo| El Mirador Archeological site in Guatemala| GETTYIMAGES – EDDIE GERALD

El Mirador temple, Sayil Archeological site, Yucatan, Mexico, mayan sites to visit

Photo|El Mirador temple, Sayil Archeological site, Yucatan| GETTYIMAGES – PAWEL TOCZYNSKI

If you’ve got a thirst for adventure, head to El Mirador in Guatemala to explore one of the oldest and largest ancient Maya ruins. Only accessible by helicopter or a 5-day trek through the jungle, this now overgrown jungle site was once the thriving capital of the Maya civilisation. Once home to an estimated 200,000 people, it features one of the largest pyramids in the world built during ancient times. You can even camp overnight here.

Bolontiku Boutique Hotel

Bolontiku Boutique Hotel, hotel near mayan sites to visit

Photo| Bolontiku Boutique Hotel| Provided by LEONARDO

Set on the shore of the picturesque Lake Peten Itza, Bolontiku Boutique Hotel is a relaxing retreat. The laid-back hotel is just 21 kilometres from Mundo Maya International Airport and features an on-site restaurant with lake views, a stylish lounge and outdoor pool. Spacious suites feature flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi and decks with garden or lake views, while Suites add whirlpool tubs. If you need a bit of pampering, massages are available.

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 240 – USD 366
Guest Rating: 9.5
Address: Km 18 Punta Piedra, S Andres Peten, San Benito 3001, Guatemala

Takalik Abaj – Guatemala

Guatemala life. Takalik Abaj Retalhuleu. Maya

Photo| Takalik Abaj Retalhuleu| GETTYIMAGES – BYRON ORTIZ

Once an important centre for commerce, Takalik Abaj is located in southern Guatemala in the Retalhuleu Department. Occupied during the pre-classical and classical periods, this ancient Maya site is known for its ancient carvings and artwork that showcases Maya hieroglyphic inscriptions. It also boasts a unique hydraulic system with a sauna bath, as well as various monumental structures, stone monuments, plazas and altars.

Mansion Los Guichos

Mansion Los Guichos, hotel near mayan sites to visit

Photo| Mansion Los Guichos| Provided by BOOKING.COM

Located near family-friendly attractions, Mansion Los Guichos is a laid-back hotel with inviting amenities. In addition to a swimming pool and gym, guests have access to free Wi-Fi and breakfast daily. Cosy rooms and spacious suites feature TVs, mini bars and air conditioning. Further, two-bedroom bungalows add living areas. When hunger strikes, browse the menu of local specialties at the on-site restaurant. Are you up for some thrills? Dino Park and Xetulul Theme Park are both a short drive away.

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 68 – USD 165
Guest Rating: 8.7
Address: Santa Cruz Mulua Km 178.5, Retalhuleu 11007, Guatemala

Iximche – Guatemala

Temple 2, Iximche ruins

Photo| Temple 2, Iximche ruins| GETTYIMAGES – PATRICIA HAMILTON

Set in the highlands of Guatemala, Iximche boasts beautiful mountain views. It has a rich history as a fortress until the Spaniards arrived and it turned into the first capital city of Guatemala and all of Central America. In addition to temples, palaces, ball courts and a ceremonial area, it has a small museum displaying artefacts found during excavations. Don’t miss the altar at the back of the complex, which is used for rituals by modern Mayas.

Regis Hotel & Spa

Regis Hotel & Spa, hotel near mayan sites to visit

Photo| Regis Hotel & Spa| Provided by ICE PORTAL

Regis Hotel & Spa is set 500 metres from Lake Atitlan, one of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders. The boutique hotel offers a peaceful setting with beautiful botanical gardens and features an on-site restaurant and lounge bar. Immerse yourself in the healing waters of the spa’s thermal Jacuzzi, or enjoy a massage, facial and hydrotherapy. Afterwards, relax in one of the spacious rooms, which feature cable TV, coffee makers and Wi-Fi.

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 86 – USD 115
Guest Rating: 8.5
Address: 3a Avenida 3-47 Zona 2, Panajachel, Guatemala

Quirigua – Guatemala

Quirigua

Photo| Remains of ancient Maya building in Quirigua| GETTYIMAGES – PIERO M. BIANCHI

Set on 34 hectares of land, Quirigua Archeological Park is a UNESCO-listed site in Guatemala’s Izabal region. Once an important military and trading centre, it contains intricately carved altars and statues, with scriptures written over some of the tallest stelae in the New World. At the core of Quiriqua is the Great Plaza, the largest known public space in the entire Maya area, which features pyramids, terraces and staircases.

Amatique Bay Hotel

Amatique Bay Hotel, hotel near mayan sites to visit

Photo| Amatique Bay Hotel| Provided by LEONARDO

Amatique Bay Hotel offers a tropical escape in the Amatique Bay in Puerto Barrio. Not only does it boast two on-site restaurants, an outdoor pool and private beach, but it also offers daily tours and excursions that include kayaking and zip-lining. Study Rooms can accommodate two guests and feature air conditioning, Satelite TV and two queen-size beds, while Magna Rooms are ideal for families with a living room, sofa bed and dining room.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 70 – USD 261
Guest Rating: 9
Address: 14 Calle Final, Finca Pichilingo, Puerto Barrios, Guatemala

Hotel Location

Joya de Cerén – El Salvador

Ancient Ruins of Mayan Farm Houses in Village Buried by Volcanic Ash, Mayan sites to visit

Photo| Joya De Ceren, El Salvador| SHUTTERSTOCK – DANIEL ANDIS

 Joya de Cerén – El Salvador

Photo| Joya de Ceren archaeological site, El Salvador| SHUTTRSTOCK – MATYAS REHAK

A top pick of Maya sites to visit in El Salvador, Joya de Ceren is a UNESCO-listed archaeological site in the central region. Populated for only about 200 years, the pre-Hispanic farming community is like Pompeii in that it was buried under an eruption of the Laguna Caldera volcano. Its one of the few ancient Maya sites that shows how the lower class lived, featuring small homes with rooms, kitchens and saunas.

Intercontinental Hotels San Salvador-Metrocentro Mall

Intercontinental Hotels San Salvador-Metrocentro Mall, hotel near mayan sites to visit

Photo| InterContinental Hotels San Salvador – Metrocentro Mall| Provided by LEONARDO

A shopper’s paradise, Intercontinental Hotels San Salvador-Metrocentro Mall is a sophisticated hotel next to one of the largest malls in Central America. Chic rooms feature soundproofed windows, custom mattresses and high-speed Wi-Fi, while Suites add living and dining rooms. Foodies will love the multiple on-site restaurants, from a refined Brazilian steakhouse to a laid-back pizzeria. Also, there’s a fitness centre and spa.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 170 – USD 495
Guest Rating: 9
Address: Boulevard de los Heroes and Avenue Sisimiles, San Salvador 0544, El Salvador

Tazumal – El Salvador

Tazumal mayan ruins in El Salvador, Mayan sites to visit

Photo| Tazumal Maya ruins in El Salvador| GETTYIMAGES – HELOVI

Tazumal

Photo| El Salvador Tazumal Pyramid Ruins| SHUTTERSTOCK – JAY LIMA

Populated for a little over a century, Tazumal is a pre-Columbian Maya site in El Salvador. It’s set in an architectural complex within the ancient Mesoamerican city of Chalchuapa, featuring unique architecture influenced by the Mayas, Copan and Toltecs. Take a guided tour to learn more about the historic structures, stelae and tombs, then visit nearby Cerro Verde National Park for scenic trails with volcano views.

Hotel Remfort

Hotel Remfort, hotel near Mayan sites to visit

Photo| Hotel Remfort| Provided by LEONARDO

Located in Santa Ana, Hotel Remfort is a 3-star hotel with inviting facilities. Guests can take advantage of the outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre and 24-hour front desk, while the daily breakfast is complimentary. Unwind in one of the spacious rooms, which feature flat-screen TVs and air conditioning, or select a room with a private patio for stunning views.

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 85 – USD 100
Guest Rating: 9.2
Address: Avenida Independencia Sur y 11 Calle Pte, Santa Ana 01101, El Salvador

Hotel Location

Copan – Honduras

pyramid in precolumbian old city Copan

Photo| Old city Copan| GETTYIMAGES – TOMFORT

The last on our list of Maya sites to visit is Copan, a protected UNESCO-listed site in Honduras. Discovered in 1570, it is one of the most important sites of the Maya civilisation. In addition to large, open plazas, altars and monoliths, it features a main complex with five major plazas surrounding it. Check out the Hieroglyphic Stairway Plaza, which has the longest known Maya inscription with over 1,800 glyphs.

Hotel Marina Copan

Hotel Marina Copan boasts colonial-style rooms in a hacienda-style building, just three kilometres from Macaw Mountain. HotelsCombined visitors love the tropical outdoor pool and Jaguar Venado Bar serving frozen cocktails, as well as the luxe spa, fitness centre and multiple on-site eateries. Upgrade to one of the suites for living rooms, kitchenettes and whirlpool baths.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 129 – USD 212
Guest Rating: 9.2
Address: Barrio el Centro; Copan Ruinas; Honduras, Copan Ruinas 00000, Honduras

Hotel Location

Top Maya Sites to Visit on Your Next Trip

Ancient Painted Maya pottery vessel at Nim Li Punit, Belize

Photo| Ancient Painted Maya pottery vessel| GETTYIMAGES – KAREN BRODIE

Central America boasts a long list of fascinating ancient structures dating back thousands of years. Plan to tick a few of these historic attractions off your bucket list? If you’re a history buff, use our guide to map out the best Maya sites to visit and top hotels nearby.

What do you think are the Maya sites to visit in Central America? Let us know in the comments below.

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