2019 Belize Part 2: Inland Adventure

One of the main things we're trying to teach our Well Rounded Travelers is to experience new locations with an open, unbiased mind to the maximum extent possible. We want them to grow up not only with a thirst for exploration and adventure, but also with a sense of their place in the world. By exploring new places and experiencing the breadth of what our planet has to offer, our hope is that they will understand that people and places are all special and should be cherished for their uniqueness.

 Fully stocked and ready for the week, we decided it was time to visit our first bit of history. Since our house was literally next to the parking lot for Cahal Pech, a quick walk up the hill + $5BZD/person had us exploring this important Mayan Ruin.

Belize 2019 Maya historic sites

We think that it's great that Belize is not as popular as other countries for ruins. During our time at Cahal Pech, we were able to explore at our leisure and even snap a few unspoiled photos. Guides are available for a small fee, however we chose to explore on our own. So. Many. Stairs.

Once we fully got our bearings as San Ignacio visitors, it was time to search out a little Belize inland adventure. The top item on our list: cave tubing.

Belize has dozens of cave tubing options since so much of the geology consists of soft limestone rock. The ancient Maya used these same caves for religious ceremonies but today, they're a top tourist attraction.

Although I downloaded Google Maps before I left home, and we had WiFi for navigation, I still took us down a deserted 2 track road in search of a cave tubing experience. Luckily we found a small national park visitor area near the (inland) Blue Hole, where we met a local guide (Oscar) who agreed to take us on the Caves Branch Tour.

While it's possible to do a full day, 7 mile tour of the Caves Branch river, we opted for a shorter half-day since it was already almost noon. With Oscars help we got outfitted with life jackets, helmets, lights, and of course tubes.

Next was A short walk to the river for a complete soak, then about 25 minutes through the jungle toward the pit-in location. Since we had Oscar all to ourselves we were able to trek a bit further than most groups, which allowed us to experience a completely private cave.

Belize 2019 Cave tubing jungle hike

The guides in Belize are required to pass an extensive training program that includes first aid, rescue, and history courses. Oscar has been a guide for over 10 years and is very knowledgeable about the jungle, caves, and obviously Belizean culture.

Our tour took us in and out of multiple caves over the course of about 2.5 hours. We were able to spend some time taking photos and videos, jumping off rocks, and really enjoying the day. We even got to see an underground waterfall!

Belize 2019 Cave tubing

The last 10 or so floating minutes were outside the cave, which allowed the children to warm up a bit as the river water is a little chilly. Oscar was not only an amazing guide, but a great ambassador for Belize.

The next day we awoke to very hot and humid conditions. Since we're all Acclimated to the cool, dry Rocky Mountains, temperatures pushing 100 degrees and nearly 100% humidity was not our favorite. Still, we came to Belize to explore, so off we went.

Xunantunich (Yucatec Maya: 'Stone Woman') is a short drive from San Ignacio. The directions did not mention the human powered ferry across the river, so that was interesting.

Xunantunich Belize Maya Site

The site has been excavated numerous times since the first photo was taken in 1904, and today it's one of the largest Maya Sites in Belize.

Xunantunich Belize Maya Site

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