These jungle-choked Maya ruins are only visited by a handful of curious tourists each day; the rough approach road plus the lack of attention paid to the site by most tour operators helps make El Pilar the excellent, uncrowded day trip that it is.
Two groupings of temple mounds, courtyards, and ball courts overlook a forested valley. Aqueducts and a causeway lead toward Guatemala, just 500 meters (1,640 feet) away. There have been some minor excavations here, including those by illegal looters, but the site is very overgrown, so the ruins retain an intriguing air of mystery.
El Pilar is remote, with no set hours. Entrance is US$10. Even if you book your El Pilar trip in San Ignacio , be sure to start your quest with a visit to the Amigos del Pilar visitors center (9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily) and Be Pukte Cultural Center in Bullet Tree Falls. Here you’ll find a scale model of the ruins, some helpful booklets and maps, and guide and taxi arrangements.
The Festival del Pilar is planned for April 21, 2012.
El Pilar is located seven miles north of Bullet Tree Falls  (nine miles from San Ignacio). It’s about US$25 for a taxi from Bullet Tree Falls (the driver takes a group out and wait a few hours before taking them back). You can also rent a mountain bike or take a horseback ride at Cohune Palms  and make a workout of it—the road’s so bad, you’ll probably beat the cab anyway.
For more travel information on things to see and do at El Pilar and in the surrounding area, please visit the El Pilar section of our Moon Belize travel guide .