El Pilar is located north of Bullet Tree Falls in the Cayo District about 10 Kilometers from San Ignacio.
El Pilar lies in an area that had been cultivated for many years with numerous milpas. The road, recently cut and bulldozed, is dry and dusty in the dry season but becomes quite difficult to pass in the wet season. The site is located on high terrain, giving the visitor a beautiful view across the Mopan River Valley.
El Pilar means “pillar” in Spanish and it was named after an army camp in the area. El Pilar is one of Belize’s largest Classic Maya sites with a well-defined ceremonial section including both private and public areas. There are at least 15 courtyards or plazas covering an area of 50 acres. The center has one ballcourt in the south, a major palace in the north, and a causeway leading to Guatemala. The site covers approximately 75 acres. Some buildings reach 50-60 feet in height. Aguados or water reservoirs, which are located throughout the site, provided much needed water during the dry season. Tikal in Guatemala is only 32 miles from El Pilar.