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Caracol was absolutely fascinating because it is actually a working excavation, much of it still hidden under a blanket of rainforest for over a millennium, unlike other famous Mayan ruins in Central America. In the top photo you can see a smaller pyramid in the main plaza across from the main temple undergoing the process of being unearthed. Imagine, during the Mayan heyday, the surrounding area was cleared of trees and was actually a big city of over 180,000 people in 650 AD. From recent discoveries, it is now known that Caracol even conquered the famous Mayan city of Tikal in Guatemala, twice, and was a major center of Mayan culture and power.

The photo to the left, shows the North side of the main Temple. You can see the rooms where royal and priestly Mayans lived and worked. Behind the pyramid structure there, a tomb of one of the kings went into the side of the temple.

The two photos below show some barrios, on the left, where Mayan peasants lived and a covered Mayan structure, on the right, as one would see it before excavation begun. Imagine walking through the area only to find trees, wildlife and tons of odd hills and mounds popping out of the ground. That's what most of the site still looks like.

The lowest photo shows the huts that local workers and archeologists live in during peak excavation periods during the year. They are very spartan with wooden bunks, screened windows, extremely rustic kitchens, and not many amenities. At this ruin, one lives mostly to discover and excavate.