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Published: April 28th 2009
After the slow day we had in Cozumel the day before, we wanted to kick it up a notch in Belize. This stop and Roatan were the two I was most looking forward to, so we booked the Land Rover and Cave excursion, not really having any idea what to expect.. and what we got was far more than we could have imagined!
We were off the boat by 8:30 and began the first leg of our jouney quickly thereafter. We took a covered/open air truck through the city passing schools and other parts of daily Belikan life. In Belize city, there are rows of schools, not spread out like what we see in the United States. School aged children wear uniforms. We went through a little bit of rain, but since we were under the canopy, it didn't affect our day at all.
We were not in the city too long as the scenery quickly spead out before us. Belize sits at sea level and the land in the area we were in is very flat. We passed a cemetary, and due to the low sea level and "6 foot under" requirement, they acutally bury 3 feet down,
and build up 3 feet on top of that. We did not pass new developments, so I was left wondering even more about the effects of weather on the area, and if the everyday person is benefitting as much from the growth in tourism as they should.
The truck pulled into an area where we were encouraged to stow our day packs in lockers before we went into the caves. It's a good thing we did too! Some of the cave portions we were about to enter were tight squeezes! The walk to the cave led us through some lush jungle area and our guide pointed out local plants and their medicinal uses. I'd never seen a termite nest before, but now I know if I was ever lost and desperate, I could at least claim some of it's inhabitants as food!
The cave was warmer than expected, but dry. The stalagtites and mites are constantly forming, so it was interesting to learn about them. I heard the bats squeeking, but wasn't lucky enough to see any like Jason did. I wanted so badly to get at least one in a picture! At one point in the cave,
our guide had us all turn off our head lamps. It was pitch black!
After the caves, we grabbed our stuff and got ready for the land rover trek. We were paired with 2 other couples (We later found out one of the couples got married on the ship!) and one of the girls got behind the wheel for the first part of the trip. She was a great driver! (It was a manual) and had us tearing through the mud on the trails. I think she did better than the guys would have! It was so much fun! Later on, they swapped out drivers and Jason got a chance to drive, but we were done with the rough terrain at that point, so all he really got to drive on was the Belikan highway.
We drove past pasture, open land, and also through areas with homes. In the United States, you would assume the houses would be condemned based on their outside appearance, but the children waving at us from the porches almost broke my heart. It was a strange feeling for me, I wanted to be sad for them, but I was not, as they were
happy in this being the only life they knew.
We ended up at an area by the river. I should have asked the name of the river, but I'm assuming it was the Wallace. We had lunch there consisting of rice and beans, chicken, cole slaw, and fried banana. It was so good! Rum punch flowed freely also. We could have swam in the river, but myself and Jason decided it wasn't worth getting wet for just 15 minutes or so. Instead we walked around and took pictures.. and more rum punch!
I have a love/hate relationship with the boat ride back. It was beautiful riding through all the lush greenery and seeing the iguanas in the trees.. but remember that rum punch that flowed so freely? Well, it continued to flow freely on the boat ride. Myself and a couple other ladies had the LONGEST 45 minutes to hour of our life as they wouldn't stop for us to take a quick "river break". Once we docked back at the pier, I was the first one off that boat and never in my life have I been so happy to find a restroom! wow!!
at the pier area, myself and Jason walked around for a bit longer and took some photo ops. I got a belikan mask for the wall and he got a tshirt and some bar glassware.
I'd DEFINATELY recommend our excursion for anyone considering it with Carnival!
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