Mexico/Belize 2016 – Day 7 of 18
February 26, 2016
Accommodation: Banana Beach Resort, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
At Banana Beach February 22nd to February 29th, 2016.
The nice thing about taking more than a week away is not needing to cram your activities into your relaxation time! On Day 6 we decided it was high time we did something other than walk around. We booked two trips. For Day 7 it was a tour to the mainland to see some Mayan Ruins and then Cave Tubing. The weather was still coolish and gray (by Caribbean standards), not so bad for a Canadian 🙂 7 am departure meant up at 5:30/6:00 (depending upon whether you are Melva or Johnny) out to the dock for 7 am to wait until almost 7:30 for the 7 am boat 🙂 A largish open boat with a canopy for a 1.5 hr trip to the Mainland in gray coolish weather.
A bit windy and chilly, but fun just the same! We sat in the only forward facing seats at the back of the boat and the ride wasn’t quite as bumpy or not quite as awkward as it was for everyone sitting along the sides facing in! We passed our next destination Caye Caulker, a really small Island and a few other cayes along the way. The water is really shallow in this area only a couple of feet in some places. The captain had to keep checking the motors to make certain they weren’t stirring up the sand (meaning the motor was touching bottom). The channel that they go across is marked with big sticks stuck into the ground. There are also sticks with little markers on them that denote where the locals leave their traps for some form of fishing.
After zipping between a couple of small cayes in mangroves we came to the mouth of a river with mangroves on both sides where we slowed down and they fend us a breakfast of fresh orange juice and ham and cheese on a Johnny Cake (kind of like a hamburger bun but a different texture). In the mangrove we saw some interesting birds and some amazing vines. I love mangroves!
We got into high speed for a short distance and approached the dock where we hopped out.
In our tour there were only 6 of us in a small van plus the driver and our tour guide Aaron (pronounced A ron). The other two were young couples (without their little kids). Anne & Matt from Chicago, IL and Tatjana & Joey from Austin, TX. We got to know each other all quite well because it seems we spent most of the day in the van the men drinking beer and the women downing rum punch! Joey and I hit it off and we had a lot of interesting conversations and decided we were two peas in a pod….as it turns out we are also both Scorpio and both in Sales…..cut from the same mould 🙂 LOL, we didn’t exchange astrological signs until the ride home after the 3rd or 4th rum punch 🙂
OK..the tour – first stop Xunantunich Ruin. Only about 40 km from the Guatemalan border you can actually see Guatamala from the top of the tallest temple/palace. Not all of the temples on the site have been excavated and some are only partially excavated. Aaron told us that unfortunately the elements aren’t kind to the ruins and exposure degrades the condition. It is a beautiful site on top of a hill with sweeping 360 degree views over beautiful country side. They have built stairs up the sides so that you don’t walk on the main stairs and you are able to reach the top. Even these steps are a bit challenging and a wee bit scary with no railings 🙂 Well worth the trip up though! I didn’t actually realize that the temples are solid and that the elite of the Mayan society lives on roofed terraces along the sides. It really wasn’t difficult to imagine daily life occurring.
We spent about an hour (or less) at the ruins, then hopped back in the van and headed to San Ignacio for a tasty lunch of chicken & rice (and other things)!
After lunch another ride in the van to Jaguar Paw. We donned our life jackets & helmets with head lamps, picked up our inner tube and hiked through the jungle (and across the river) to the start of the cave system. Bathing suits and water shoes were the requirements for this trip! Just Anne & Matt & Johnny & I were on this trip. Tatjana and Joey went zip-lining at the same site. Our guide Elmer tethered our rafts and we hopped on and float down the river as he told us all about the formation of the limestone caves, where we saw crystals and st (and you know..all that rocky stuff)…..lots of holes where bats like to hang out (literally) and we even saw one cluster of bats…a whole bunch of them huddled up together. We passed a sink hole (cenote). The cave is about one mile along and really doesn’t take long to get through but it was worth it!
After that we changed, hopped back in the van and Aaron plied us with cocktails for the hour long trip back to the boat where we had a VERY chilly trip back to Ambergris Caye! All well worth it though – not complainin’ 🙂 !!! Johnny and I changed and walked into town along the beach (about 3 km which we do once or twice daily)…..we wanted to try out a certain restaurant but unfortunately they had a reservation for 30 and we couldn’t get in – maybe try it tonight or tomorrow before we leave Ambergris Caye. We went to a little beach restaurant had a great meal and then so very tired from our long day grabbed a taxi back to our San Pedro home away from home. Sleep came fast! Saturday (which technically is today as I type) the weather is looking the same as it was the last two days, I think we will relax, walk, read….it’s a tough one 🙂 Sunday we are finally going on a snorkel trip!