For our honeymoon we choose Belize since we've heard nothing
but good about it, they speak English, and it would be relaxing and warm.
Luckily we took only a couple backpacks for carry-on, since the flights were
screwed up and we probably would've lost our luggage. After a couple layovers in
Texas we arrived in Belize City around 4:30pm and hopped in a cab for the Hotel
Mopan. First thing we did was strip off our pant legs and long sleeve shirts!
Belize City is not the prettiest place and we were glad we weren't staying more
then the night.
Wednesday we got up early and were going to catch one of the first buses out to
San Ignacio where we would stay for five nights. On the plane Jean joked that
"well, atleast there's not a transit strike in Belize like New York
guess what?! The biggest bus company went out of business that day! D'oh! We
found this out in the middle of a shady neighborhood at a bus stop. Great way to
start a honeymoon! We quickly took a cab to the tourist bureau and found out
other buses were running, so luckily we went to a different bus stop and got on
one right away. According
great and it seemed like lots of fun!and
packed away our stuff in dry bags for the three river crossings we would
encounter during the 45 minute hike through the jungle to the mouth of the cave.
This was starting out a bunch of fun and we even stopped at a tree to eat
termites and check out 120yr old giant trees! At the mouth of the cave we had a typical Belizian lunch (a thin
ham/cheese sammy, plantation chips, and lots of fruit) then heard all
about the cave and exploring it. Next we jumped into the deep pool and had to
swim into the cave! From there on for the next 400yards
was a combo of swimming, wading, squeezing through rocks, and looking
around at the cool mineral formations all in complete darkness except for
our headlamps. We then climbed up some steep rocks to a shelf where we took off
our shoes and got our camera's back. The next 400yards was through cave openings
and rooms where Mayan ceremonies and sacrifices took place over 1000 years ago!
It was really wild and a bit spooky! Over 35 skeletons have been found so far,
including infants and women. We eventually retraced our steps
back and woke up some bats along the way. By the end of the 2.5hrs through the
cave and back our jaws were
on the ground with amazement and we couldn't believe how cool it was!!!! Back to
San Ignacio for dinner and Belikins.
we signed up for a tour of the ancient Mayan city of Caracol. This proved to be
just as cool as the ATM cave tour but with a longer and bumpier road!!!
Less than one percent of the site has been excavated and there are mounds
everywhere of Mayan home sites and villages surrounding the central Acropolis. We saw Mayan
courts, plaza's, sacrificial grounds, carving of giant rocks, and the royal family temples. The temples
(largest at 141ft called Caana) were amazing and from the tops of them you could see
the Belizian jungle for miles and miles. It was weird to be followed
around by Belizian army dudes, but being close to the Guatemalan border, but in
previous years there was some "trouble". Hard to believe that these
temples and building are between 1200 and 1500 years old! WOW! On the way back
along the 50mile bumpy road we stopped at the gigantic Rio Frio cave and Rio On pools.
More cool formations formed by hundred of years of water running over and
Saturday we signed up for the Caves Branch tubing tour. This was a cool and
relaxing day. Basically ya hike a mile through
the jungle to the mouth of a cave, then hop in an inner tube and float through a
mile of cave with just a headlamp!!! It was spooky being in such complete
darkness with the roof of a cave just a few feet above your head! Back in San
Ignacio we watched part of a locals soccer game. The highlight was an old man
running on the field after a yellow card and getting tackled by police. Through
all this he never dropped his cigarette!
Sunday was Christmas so we laid in bed watching movies all morning then finally
ventured out around town. It was completely dead and silent! Nothing was open
and we figured we would have a hard time getting to the Xunantunich Mayan ruins.
Oh well, we were ready for a down-day, so we went to the only food joint open in
town...a Chinese restaurant!!! We had lunch there then read on the porch for
hours before heading back there for dinner.
Monday was riding another fully packed bus back to Belize City then hopping on a
ferry to Caye Caulker.....
Belize City stuff:
Martha's Guesthouse and the local vegetation:
Actun Tunichil Muknal
caving tour river crossing:
Termite nest and us eating them:
Leaf cutter ants:
In the ATM cave and the Mayan sacrificial ruins:
Ancient Mayan city of Caracol:
Rio Frio Cave and Rio On Falls:
Tubing through Caves Branch Cave: