A Travellerspoint blog

Belize

San Ignacio

Adventures in the ATM cave

sunny 30 °C
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San Ignacio is a small town in Belize near the Western border with Guatemala. It seems a strange place at first, with one main bar and restaurant street and not much to see or do in town. In the end I liked it though, it had a nice feel to it.

The main reason I went there was the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave, a large cave in which Mayan pottery and skeletons have been found. The tour of the cave is very expensive, but I really wanted to see this unique place. After driving for about an hour, the adventure started with a hike through the jungle to the cave. It is about 45 minutes to walk there, but with the many explanations of our guide, it took us much longer.
Hike to the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave

Hike to the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave

After stopping for a small snack, we entered the cave. We first had to swim a few meters to get in. Then it was about an hour of walking through more or less wet parts, climbing over rocks etc. We got to admire the great formations in the cave and were shown some of them that are supposed to look like Mayan gods... We also turned off our headlamps and walked in the dark for about 10 minutes, led by our guide, which was an interesting experience.
Actun Tunichil Muknal cave

Actun Tunichil Muknal cave

At the end we reached the dry part of the cave. Here we saw the remainders of the Mayan sacrifice rituals, broken pottery and the bones of the humans sacrificed.
Actun Tunichil Muknal cave

Actun Tunichil Muknal cave


Actun Tunichil Muknal cave

Actun Tunichil Muknal cave


Actun Tunichil Muknal cave

Actun Tunichil Muknal cave


Actun Tunichil Muknal cave

Actun Tunichil Muknal cave

It was strange to see these things in such a place. At the end of the dry chamber came the highlight, the Crystal Maiden, the entire calcified skeleton of a girl that was sacrificed here.
The Cristal Maiden at Actun Tunichil Muknal cave

The Cristal Maiden at Actun Tunichil Muknal cave

After seeing this, we walked back out of the cave, had lunch and then hiked back to the minibus. I enjoyed the tour a lot and am glad I went, despite the cost. Especially our good guide made it really interesting.

That night, we all felt like we deserved a bit of a party, especially because it was a Friday night. So we had some drinks with the other people staying at the hostel and then went out for a big party in San Ignacio...

After finally trying the typical fry jacks for breakfast (a fried dough, which you typically eat with butter and jam), I was ready to leave San Ignacio and Belize and travelled back into Guatemala together with one of my roommates. It was a short but nice stay in Belize.

Posted by sarahm_lux 19:14 Archived in Belize Tagged san_ignacio actun_tunichil_muknal atm_cave Comments (0)

Caye Caulker

A Caribbean paradise in Belize

sunny 35 °C
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I arrived in Belize city at 5.15 in the morning. Belize City is known to be pretty dangerous and the bus station was almost empty at that time of the day, so it all felt a bit dodgy and I was happy to not be the only tourist in the place and waited together with the Welsh woman that was on my bus until the sun went up. We then got a taxi to the watertaxi terminal where we took the boat to Caye Caulker, a very small island about 45 minutes from the mainland.

Belize straight away looked and felt very different from the rest of Central America, much more Caribbean in a way, and of course it was strange that the people were speaking English all of a sudden.

On the boat I met a Swede with whom I ended up spending the afternoon, hanging out at the hostel, which was beautifully located at the seafront, walking around the village, eating jerk chicken on a pier, hanging out at the hostel some more and talking very silly things...
Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker


Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker

Later on we went to a bar to watch the sunset and then back to the hostel where we drank some rum and then joined a group of people in going to a couple of bars/clubs. Unfortunately there were not so many people out and it was all a bit quiet, but we all got to dance a bit which was nice.
Sunset in Caye Caulker

Sunset in Caye Caulker

The next morning some of us had to change hostels because they had reservations and the hostel was full. Luckily the other hostel was nice too, although not in quite such an amazing location. Afterwards, I went to one of the piers with the Swedish guy and we just lay in the sun, rhyming and playing movie games (don't ask...) there till it was time to get some lunch.
Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker


Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker

Then we went on a snorkelling tour (finally really did something!). The snorkelling was great! But the highlight was that we got in the water with loads of stingrays and nurse sharks. The captain fed them so that they stayed near the boat and we got to watch them from close by and had them swimming around us at times. It was an incredible experience!

That night we had a really good dinner. I ate a whole snapper and a shrimp kebab with rice, garlic bread and coleslaw on the side, while drinking rum punch. For a starter nachos with salsa and for dessert a small piece of tasty chocolate was included. A big meal!

The next morning, I left the island. I would have liked to stay longer because it was such a nice place to relax and just enjoy the sunshine and the ocean views, but unfortunately I had no time left.
Sunset in Caye Caulker

Sunset in Caye Caulker

Posted by sarahm_lux 20:55 Archived in Belize Tagged caye_caulker Comments (1)

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