Nim Li Punit and Lubantuum Maya Ruins – What You Need to Know
The two Maya cities of Nim Li Punit and Lubaantun are some of the best places to see the incredible engineering skills of the ancient Maya. Built more than 2,000 years ago, these magnificent cities feature majestic pyramids, sacred temples, and elaborately carved buildings deep in the heart of the Belizean jungle.
If you’re interested in visiting Nim Li Punit or Lubaantun, here’s what you need to know:
Nim Li Punit
The original name for Nim Li Punit has been lost to the mists of history, but today, the site is known as “Big Hat” in the local Maya dialect, named for a gigantic stone carving found on the site that depicts a royal leader wearing a large headdress or hat.
Located in the southern Toledo District of Belize, Nim Li Punit contains three large plazas which feature a number of distinct buildings, including several pyramids, the tallest of which is more than 40 feet (12 meters) high. Next to these plazas is a long row of carved stelae that feature depictions of the former rulers, including the one wearing the big hat.
In the local Maya dialect, Lubaantun means “a place of fallen stones,” a name given to the site by local villagers. First investigated by modern archeologists in 1905, Lubantuum is unique because the buildings were constructed from black slate instead of the limestone blocks that were used elsewhere in the region.
Perhaps the most interesting ancient artifact ever discovered was allegedly found in Lubaantun, a crystal skull discovered by Anna Mitchell-Hedges, the daughter of famed explorer Frederick Albert Mitchell-Hedges, in 1924.
Located in Belize’s southern Toledo District, many of the buildings in Lubaantun were, curiously, built entirely without mortar, each large stone perfectly fitted with its neighbors. The site is also home to three ball courts where the losing team would forfeit their lives as a sacrifice to the bloodthirsty Maya gods.
Harvest Caye Cruise Ship Passengers
If you’re a cruise ship passenger docking in Harvest Caye and would like to visit these ancient Maya wonders, book your tour with Roam Belize.
Based in southern Belize, Roam Belize specializes in organized tours to all of the top destinations in the country, including trips to Lubaantun and Nim Li Punit, Maya cultural tours to learn more about the descendants of the people who built those sites, Garifuna cultural tours, trips to the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, and boat expeditions on the Monkey River.