After our eventful morning in Tikal, it was time to move on to a new country. It was time to venture into sweet Belize. Unfortunately I didn’t get off to the best start, just a sight of our new “hotel” – if you can even call it that! – for the next 2 nights gave me an uneasy feeling. This would be a struggle. Now I don’t need luxury accommodation. I’m fine with basic. But this. This wasn’t even basic. This was a wooden shed with 3 beds in it. It smelt like wood, the beds were dirty, there was just a piece of thin fabric over the windows acting as “curtains”, the mosquito net covering the window had massive holes in, there were holes in the walls, dead ants in the bed, and marching ants infesting the walls. It was rank to put it simply. That’s without mentioning the compost toilets and showers with no ceiling.. Now I haven’t mentioned any names of hotels in my posts, but this one I feel like you should be aware of, and if you stay there just know what your getting yourself into. So beware of Trek Stop people. If I had the chance, I wouldn’t even stop, I’d keep going until I found somewhere better. I also feel I should mention that although this isn’t the worst place you could stay in the world, it was just under the standards GAdventures led us to believe we would be staying in as well, and for the price of the trip I feel this is sort of unacceptable. But here I was in Belize! 2 nights and I would be out of this place. I hate to wish away any part of this holiday but this place just made me uncomfortable…
But to remember the great moments of this day instead of the bad, my highlight, apart from Tikal of course, was my first experience in the back of a pick up truck. In England, the back of a pick up truck is used for building materials/storage, in Belize however it is used for extra seats. Extremely uncomfortable, but it was fun having all that wind whooshing through your hair and looking up at the starry sky whilst you drove along!
Day 9 (Tuesday): To get out of my wooden shack for the day I decided to partake in a caving excursion to A.T.M otherwise known as Acton Tunichil Muknal. It was amazing. Fantastic. Brilliant. Everything and more. We started off doing a 45 minute walk though the jungle, having a little swim in which I jumped off a big rock and nearly crashed into another! We then had to swim into the cave through its entrance. The whole journey through the cave varied from walking, wading through water, climbing over rocks and full on swimming. Once we travelled through the cave for approximately 45 minutes we reached the opening to the chamber which has various stalagmites, stalactites, calcified ceramics and skeletal remains. To get up to the chamber we had to climb up this massive rock several times higher then me, then crawl through tiny nooks and crannies. It was very tiring and a lot more rock climbing then I expected! At last we finally reached the “Crystal Maiden” which is a crystallised skeleton of a teenage girl (now thought to be a boy) in which this cave has become famous for, it was stunning. The whole skeleton was pretty much in tact, it was sort of breathtaking to see. What made it even more emotional was the fact that the reasons these skeletons are here are due to the fact that the Mayans would make human sacrifices in which they’d kill people (the more horrifically the better) in this cave to please the gods. The whole skeleton just shimmered in the dark cave under the lights of all our headlamps we were all wearing. Literally one of the most amazing sights I’ve ever seen. And hands down one of the best things I’ve ever experienced. After having a silent moment or two we then started to make our way out of the cave which was a lot more difficult then getting up! I think I nearly came close to falling to my death a few times! It’s shocking, if this cave was in the UK no way on earth would they let you in this place, there are literally no safety guidelines. Anyone could fall at any point, and it would be fatal. I guess maybe that’s why it was such an amazing experience but definitely, definitely unsafe. After coming back I got to relax in our God-awful wooden shack, then later went out to dinner in San Ignacio.
**Unfortunately I couldn’t take any pictures of this amazing experience, as a few years ago someone dropped their camera on the “Crystal Maiden” breaking part of its skull so consequently all photography is banned within the cave.
Day 10 (Wednesday): Finally left my wooden shack of a hotel!! We started our journey to Caye Caulker (pronounced Key Cool-ker) early and was on a bus at 7am. For the first time we got public transport. Yes, hello Central American Chicken buses, goodbye comfortable private mini buses. The experience wasn’t actually that bad. The buses in Sri Lanka were far, far worse. But 3 hours on it was far too much for me, considering you had no space to move what-so-ever and the seats weren’t that comfortable but asides from that it wasn’t too bad. It was breezy and well I suppose that was actually the only upside… But doing how the locals do is always the best experience, so I’ll surely cherish this moment. Once we arrived in Belize City we hopped in a taxi to the ferry stop and go on a small ferry to the island. From the moment I stepped off that ferry I could tell this place was definitely my favourite. Finally we were in the Caribbean which speaks to me (considering half of my family are from Barbados and I’ve spent many holidays there). I was back in my comfort zone. This place just seemed a million miles away from any of the places we’d been so far. We were definitely out of the jungle now! Everything was so much more chilled and relaxed here. I mean, what other island do you arrive on to see a Rastafarian man cycling around the street calling out “Special brownies for sale”? He looked so happy, no wonder why! Cannabis isn’t even legal here yet it’s so relaxed no-one even cares! I actually don’t think I saw one policeman here during my stay! It was great! I even saw the most prettiest sunset here! This is the sort of stuff I live for. And to make this day even more special I had some deep fried Oreos for the first time in my entire life and just.. oh my.. I can’t even begin to explain how amazing they were or how amazing I thought this place was.
Day 11 (Thursday): To get in the true spirit of the Caribbean lifestyle and take advantage of that glittery sea, we decided to go on an all day snorkelling tour with “Raggamuffin Tours”. It was bloody fantastic. I was a bit dubious at first as I haven’t snorkelled in a few years, and I tend to get squeamish with the thought that you can’t see fully around you and a shark could just pop out of no-where (not like this actually happens… like ever…) but I decided to just do it. Why not. Who knows when I’ll ever be in Caye Cualker again and get this opportunity.
We had an hour boat trip before we reached “Coral Garden” which was stunning. There were various colourful corals pretty much everywhere you looked. And the visibility was so clear, you could see the bottom of the ground and your surroundings very well. I don’t think I’ve ever snorkelled in water so clear before. There was actually a baby shark here but it was too tiny to fear. This swim lasted for 45 minutes, we had a guide showing things to us, explaining what they were, what they did and guiding us the way which was brilliant as it actually put context behind the pretty colourful things I was seeing. We were then treated to some lunch from our tour guides which was great! As I’m a vegetarian mine pretty much consisted of rice, beans and salad but others had meat and fish along with it. Our next stop was “Shark Alley” which was a very scary stop! It was full of nurse sharks (who are harmless but very large) sting rays and other large fish. They were so big, and I kept accidentally floating almost into to them it was making me squeamish! But now I can say I finally swam with sharks! I was so excited afterwards, as I wanted to swim with the nurse sharks before I even came on this holiday so I felt like actually accomplished something! We didn’t stay here too long, probably like 20 minutes maximum, then we moved onto the “Hol Chan Channel” which was great. This was a much more vast area with corals and large fish such as barracudas, eels, turtles (I only saw one) and lots of shawls of fish. It was fantastic. All the places visited on this trip are apart of the “Hol Chan Marine Reserve” which is the second largest barrier reef after Australia. It was just a fantastic experience. On the boat ride back, it was very relaxed, we had reggae music, and unlimited amounts of rum punch. The 3 guys who looked after us on this tour were just outstanding, they were so professional but at the same time so friendly and lively. It was just great.I felt so exhausted by the end of it, it was definitely one of my biggest highlights from this whole trip.
Once we arrived back to land, I got myself so more Oreos (I’m going to be devastated to leave these behind!), then we went out to dinner next to our hotel. A friend of our CEO who put on a while barbecued spread for us. But there’s only so many vegetables and rice a girl can eat so I think the greatness of it was a little bit lost on me!
Can’t believe I’m going back to Mexico tomorrow, this trip has gone so quickly, in a couple of days it’s all going to be over! So many people say it, but time flies so much when you’re having fun. I could definitely stay in this place a lot longer.