Thursday, June 4, 2015


I stayed in Belize for a week and a half, about three days inland and a week on an island. I left Flores in Guatemala and crossed the border. I was slightly taken advantage of because I had no clue what I was doing. I got out of the van near the border (which almost left with my luggage - I was running behind it to tell him to stop) at the wrong end of town and later saw people from my same van at passport control. It was only a few bucks though so I wasn't bothered too much and the extra 'taxi' took me from spot to spot so I didn't have to walk in the heat. I don't think I've ever walked through a border crossing before, so that was a first.

Once through, I got a taxi to a nearby town, San Ignacio. It's a good spot to stay when you want to do some cave tours, tubing trips and ruin visits. I did a cave visit that was like three hours in the cave and you got to see Mayan ruins and skeletons because the caves were sacred places for them and rituals were performed here. It was more legit than the candle in a cave and more informative. The ruins and skeletons were pretty cool to see. 

Then I did some exploring on my own and caught the bus out of town to a small village across from more Mayan ruins. You had to cross a river and there was a manually powered ferry. It was hooked up to cables and pulleys and a guy pulled you across - people, vehicles and horses too. A couple vehicles doing other tours asked me if I wanted a ride. I think it was like a mile walk back to the ruins. They seemed a bit surprised when I politely thanked them but declined. 

The ruins were fun and you could climb up top this really high one and even see back across the border to Guatemala. I did some exploring and went to a smaller ruin. There were not many people there and I had it to myself. I walked up and started to walk around the back when I was scared to death by a giant iguana that was white/grey and blended perfectly into the rocks/ruins. I laughed afterwords but it did scare the crap out of me, something so large suddenly scurrying when I was near. 

I headed back on what had to be the slowest bus ever. I don't think we got over 30mph. It took probably triple the amount of time to get home. But I made it. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find my pictures from San Ignacio :(. 

Then I headed to the airport. I shared a ride with another American - maybe in his 50s. Turns out he's a caver. It's his hobby. He comes to Belize frequently and they hire him to lead teams into new unexplored caves in order to map them and identify any new ruins. He had found ruins on this trip! He had a book that illustrated some of his adventures including creatures he has found in the caves. Freak out now. Huge spiders, scorpions, bats. Not to mention he may be underground for miles and days at a time. Definitely not my idea of a fun hobby :). It was neat to meet him though. 

I was headed to the airport to pick up a friend who was joining me for a long weekend on the island. I was so looking forward to it and I know she was too. Seven weeks without friends from home does get lonely even as you meet new friends. Anyway, long story short I saw her for like 10 minutes before she was whisked away to a return flight to the U.S.  Passport troubles that prevented her from entering the country. :(  It was super sad and she was super upset. I felt so bad for her. She did end up making it back home but not without a lot of immigration discussions. Enough on that. 

I headed to the island on my own. I arrived just after a torrential downpour. It had been storming there recently and they were actually without power from one of the three generators that electrify the island. Lucky me, my rental apartment was in the no power zone. But it only lasted the afternoon and then was fine. And the apartment was perfect! My first AirB&B rental and I loved it. The owner lived next door and was the nicest and super helpful lady. She drove me around the island in her golf cart (no automobiles allowed) to give me the tour. 

It is a small island but still plenty of shops to buy food and tour operators to book trips. I did a day snorkeling trip and then a night snorkeling. I had never done night snorkeling before and that experience was awesome! On both trips I got to see a lot. I also kayaked around the island one morning and went to a place where these huge fish chill for the day. The water is clear and you can see them swim right under you. I tried some local food and bbq. I almost did kiteboarding. But I only had one day and he said it takes at least a couple sessions for you to figure it out and get comfortable without being exhausted :). Next time. 

I'll make up for pictures here ;)
We started at a spot where they feed the sharks and rays which was really cool because then they were all swarming below you. These are not people eating sharks by the way. 

One of the crew took my camera and dove down to get closer shots for me. 

Thanks man!

Some type of ray 

We got to see a lone manatee by chance. It was awesome!

She went right by us and below us. 

Then I happened upon what I think is the biggest turtle I've ever seen in real life. Just chomping on some grass. 

Another one swimming alongside me. 

The crew made us some ceviche and had tortilla chips. The leftovers were thrown overboard and the birds had a fiest. 

This is one of the pelicans from my kayaking the next morning. 

These were the big fish swimming in their protected area. 

This guy had his canoe out. 

One night we went out at sunset to do the night snorkel. 

It was a little harder to figure out my flash and get the camera to work well underwater at night. Here the guide is holding a huge hermit crab. 

There's an octopus here, but it's hard to see. Right in the center is its head, the bluish green area. 

Here's one in action moving across the sea floor. Again, middle of the picture a brighter blue green that is almost see through. 

Another turtle we found roaming at night. 

The turtle at a different angle. 

And this is a super small squid floating near the top of the water, thus the reflection. He was able to fit in the palm of the guide's hand. It took me forever just to figure out what he was showing me :).

Otherwise I read a lot. It was very quiet and peaceful. Before I knew it the week was up. I headed back to land and started a long bus ride back to Flores, Guatemala. I stayed in a hotel with a pool there so I could enjoy my last day in Central America. That night I headed to the airport for the red eye back to Chicago. 

No comments:

Post a Comment