Favorite Travel Destinations: Belize Part II

Sunday, January 18, 2015

We decided to book a private tour to the ancient Mayan site of Caracol. I, typically, will go at this on my own but since this seemed to have so many different structures I thought it would be best to hire a guide. So glad we did since many of the sites were not even marked. 

In order to get to Caracol you will have to stop at a military check point where you have to sign in and then they will have a convoy escort you to the entrance. This was instituted after many incidents of tourists being stopped by armed robbers which is now basically non-existent since putting this in place.

If you are driving on your own you will need a 4x4 vehicle as the roads were not paved and if it rains (like it did for us) the roads get very muddy and a few times I thought we were going to get stuck.

It stopped raining as soon as we arrived and we started our extensive tour. The nice thing about being on a private tour is that you can see as much or as little as you want without having to wait around for others to move on. This, for me, is worth the extra money. 

We climbed the steep steps of the Sky Palace and made it to the top (135 ft). I found my room and wanted to take a little rest. 

 But the views were too spectacular.

It was a great experience learning more about the Mayan culture. Our guide was wonderful and very enthusiastic about his heritage which made it all the more interesting. 

We made our way back on the bumpy road to the lodge for our last night where we finally got to eat at the Guatemalan Restaurant. So good. 

It was our last morning at the Blancaneaux Lodge and I was sad to leave.  I felt like there were so many things that I did not get to experience, and rightfully so.  There is so much to see and do in this area that with just three days there was absolutely no way we could fit it all in but all the more reason to return.  

On the list of things to do when I return…zip lining through the jungle, canoeing at Barton Creek Cave, midnight jungle trek to try and catch a glimpse of the elusive jaguar, and the ATM cave expedition.  For now we bid farewell to the jungle and we begin our drive to the coast of Placencia.

We were greeted by our driver, who we would come to find out has a slight obsession with birds, and were escorted to our vehicle for our three hour drive to Placencia.  We passed small villages where school children were playing and we drove through dense jungles.

This is where our driver would look back at us with this look I can’t even describe into words, stop the vehicle (the first time I will admit I did get a little nervous), jumped out of the car and pointed to the trees where there would be one microscopic bird perched high in the treetops.  

We must have stopped over a dozen times and we would get back in the car and he would pull out his “Birds of Belize” book and show us what we just witnessed. I could not believe he was able to spot them while driving and he would roll down his window and make cooing sounds to attract them.   

He would also show us something unexplainable during our drive, which he would point out, that no other guide knew. 

We were driving down the mountainous jungle and he immediately stopped the car and turned off the ignition. He looked back at us with “that” look and smiled. He said “We are going downhill, right?” 

Jeremy and I looked at each other and hesitantly agreed.  He then left his foot of the brake and the car began to roll UP hill not DOWN. We were in the WTF amazement. How could that be? He did not have an explanation but it was incredible denying the force of gravity.  It was an eventful three hours to say the least. 

We arrived in Placencia where huge million dollar homes mingled with tiny beach shacks.  Our driver was quick to point out that he did not understand the point of those huge million dollar homes and why people needed that much space.  Agreed, sir, agreed.  

To be continued...