Belize is known to have been occupied by the ancient Mayas as evidenced by the Mayan temples across the country and the RBCMA is no exception. Over 60 substantial Mayan sites have been located within the RBCMA with numerous Maya dwellings from simple house-mounds to elite dwellings and ceremonial centers. The La Milpa site, located in western Rio Bravo, is the third largest site in Belize and its ceremonial center was expanded to its full extent as one of the major sites of the Maya Lowlands.
This site and Rio Bravo has attracted archaeologist and anthropology students and gained international attention when it was featured in the National Geographic magazine – the burial of a King (a Royal Tomb) was discovered in front of the main temple, a unique discovery in Mayan archaeology excavation. (See Photo below)
The RBCMA contains an extraordinarily rich and ubiquitous Mayan archaeological heritage that highlights its cultural importance and forms and import resource attraction for the PfB tourism operation.
Programme for Belize to date has secured forested land in north-western Belize, designated as the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area (RBCMA) that was otherwise destined for clearance. Approximately half of this land is managed as a reserve for the protection of biodiversity and natural habitats. The RBCMA site is a total of 260,000 acres representing approximately 4% of Belize’s total land area and approximately 21.2% of the Orange Walk District alone in size.