Ruins, Jungle and Bones in Caves

Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
Trip End Jan 31, 2012

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Where I stayed
J&R Guesthouse

Flag of Belize  , Cayo,
Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 1
Got up early to cross the border into Belize. No shuttle bus but not to hard to do. Minivan to border, walk across, taxi to bus station and Belize Chicken bus to San Ignacio. Belize buses a bit better in that its still a school bus but the seats have padding on them so a bit more comfy.

Arrived in San Ignacio and found the guest house. Given it was only just after lunch decided to visit the nearby ruins at Cahal Pech. Small but nice enough ruins. Knee still feeling a bit sore so decided to have a quite day.

Ended the day looking for a tour to the ATM caves that someone had suggested were worth a visit. Managed to find one going the next day but probably should have been looking harder for a tour to ine Mountain ridge or the nearby ruins since these would be harder to get enough people for. Problem with tours is that they require a minimum number of people and that number tends to be bigger than one.

Found a restuarant in town where I had dinner and an early night. Definately different to Guatemala even to the extent that there were a few drunks on the streets.

Day 2

Early start for the tour. Caught the bus to the start of the trail that leads to the caves. Day started with a nice jungle walk where I learnt a few interesting facts most of which went through one ear and out the other.

Fact one. Lucky I wasnt in Belize 2 weeks earlier since a huricane had passed through. Probably explains the bad weather in Guatemala for the last couple of weeks. Could see the desctruction of the storm by all the broken trees in the jungle. Guide was saying that they had had to spend 3 days cutting trees in order to clear the trail.

Fact two. Belize in riddled with tunnels and caves. Its possible to even enter a cave in Belize and exit it somewhere in Guatemala. Now that would make for an interesting hike.

After hiking through the jungle for an hour or so and crossing the river back and forth three times we finally reached the tunnel entrace. This required a short swim to reach the main tunnel where the water ranged from mid thigh to mid chest deep. Walk through this part of the cave slowly getting some more facts about how the myans used the tunnels. It appears that they saw the caves and tunnels as entrance ways to the underworld.

Unlike Semuc Champey, the tunnels were big all the way through with larger but fewer formations.

After walking for and hour and a half or so we reached a point where we had to climb up. This basically lead to a point where old pottery and bones could be found. Appears that sacrifices were made in some of the caves to appease the gods. Wandered around here a bit before heading back out. As expected took less than half an hour to get out since there were no stops or chats along the way.

In the end think I enjoyed the smaller caves of Semuc Champey since it was fun crawling up the water fall, along narrow tunnels and with candles. I think if I was going to do caving in Belize I would probably enjoy a multiple day walk (as discussed by the guide) more so than the short one we did. Only covered 1 mile of the 3 miles that had to be covered to the next exit.

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