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Published: April 25th 2012
Just spent a great couple of days in San Ignacio on our way through to Guatemala.
It's a mountain town with a river running through it, which is shallow enough to wade across but with some deep parts to swing and drop into. We spent a hour or so just chilling out down there watching the world go by and people taking a dip to cool off fully clothed, it's that hot you'd dry off in about 10 mins!
There is loads to do here like the ATM Caves, Caracol Mayan Ruins, Jungle Stuff, Zip Lining, Bartons Caves, loads of Waterfalls, Day trips to Guatemala for Flores and Tikal, horse riding, river tubing....... The list goes on...on our budget we had to pick wisely so we opted for a bit of a 3 in 1 as with the trip to the Caracol you stop at Rio Frio, which is a beautiful cave that the Mayan's used as a shelter or overnight stop off point. It has a river running thorough it and loads of stalactites and stalagmites.... Really pretty, and then after a 3.5 hour stop at the ruins of the largest Mayan city in
Belize- Tikal's arch rival.....which again is fascinating to see. It's deep in the jungle too and difficult to get to even for us in a 4X4 so imagine what it must have been like for anyone trying to attack them!!!! It's really really high too, miles away from water and this just shows how advanced they must have been as they survived by building a reservoir.... This was in 150 BC...... It also acted as a great defence tactic as by the time any enemy reached Caracol, they'd be dehydrated and begging for mercy and not looking to pick a fight with the City attacking down the hill, with plenty of food and water.....
They've done an amazing job of excavating the palace, which is huge..... When you sit on the top you can see for miles and are higher than even the tallest oldest trees in the jungle. Some other areas are excavated too but they reckon 90% is still covered in jungle..... Actually it's just as interesting to see the partly visible parts too and how the jungle has just taken them over and what a job the archeologists must have uncovering and restoring.... Painstaking.... Rather them than
us. We also got a bit of insight into some of the trees and fruits and their uses beyond the obvious.... Jungle medicine!!
But by far the highlight of the day trip, which was a good 10 hours in total, justifying some of the £100 it had cost us to both go for the day, was Rio On ...What a place, it's a set of pools and small water falls, which is just like a water park and you can scoot down the rapids on your bum, have a massage under a waterfall, swim in some of the lager pools, rock climb the rocks from one to another and chill out on the smooth granite rocks too, which are lovely and warm!!! We could have stayed for hours.... The rain came down too but as the rocks are so warm and some shallower pools are warm it just added to the fun!!!
Other than that we've just relaxed and enjoyed what the local town has to offer, the small local ruins at the top of the hill Cal Pach where we chatted to a local lad for ages and saw some great birds, sampling the great local food from the
lady next to the barbers shop, having 2 great traditional Belizian meals at Evras and one no where near as good at the Lonely Planet's favourite ko ox Han nah- far too salty!!!
The people here have customer service off to an art and genuinely want to share their knowledge and local area with you and it's so easy to just become part of their lives, from the guys at Bellas backpackers, to the taxi drivers, to the great waiter at Evras, to the little boy who we spent ages chatting to about how he makes slate art, everyone welcomes you into their lives...
We feel rested and ready now to say bye to Belize and head across the border ready for our last week in Central America and our last Central American Country- Guatamala
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