Southern Belize is a little-visited, wild, and beautiful district rich in the pristine nature that Belize is known for. It’s also an area with strong modern and ancient Maya ties. Toledo is said to have over 30 tiny and isolated, predominately Mayan settlements scattered throughout and several established archaeological sites to visit. The region is riddled with dense jungle and caves- imagine how many unexcavated sites are still hidden within.
While none of the Mayan ruins in Toledo district boast the impressive height or huge stelas that ruins in the north might have, they’re much less frequented by big tour groups and you just might find yourself alone with history as you walk through the ancient temples and ball courts.
We had Nim Li Punit virtually all to ourselves when we visited on New Years Day. The site is very easy to reach, a short drive up a dirt road directly off the Southern Highway. There’s a new paved parking lot at the bottom of some serious steps to the welcome center (its possible to drive directly up to the center which is handicap accessible).
The visitor’s center houses numerous artifacts uncovered here: tools, stone carvings, pottery.
Walking paths throughout keep visitors from trampling the structures or stomping through the surrounding broadleaf tropical rainforest (home to Howler and Spider monkeys). Everything is well labeled so it’s quite easy to have a self-guided tour if you don’t happen to come with one of the area’s many knowledgeable tour guides.
If the ancient structures don’t wow you, perhaps the view will- from a lookout point next to a tomb you can see down to the sea on a clear day.