05 – Belize

Houston | At Sea | Cozumel | Roatan | Belize | Cancun | At Sea || Ship Details

Day 5: Belize City, Belize

Pulling into Belize City.An island where clear burning had apparently taken place the night before.
Up till now, I’d been using a friend’s Sony DSC-92 (5mpxl. Sweet camera!) I left it in the stateroom and took a disposable underwater camera from here. Piece of junk didn’t take clear pictures at all 🙁
Belize doesn’t have a dock so instead we “tendered”. Tendering is when you have a small boat come out to pick up a bunch of people up and bring them in to shore. Once we reached the dock, we hopped into a rickety bus and took a 1-hour drive out into the lush country side for our cave-tubing excursion. Our guide’s name was Mary and the bus driver was Fidel.Belize City itself looked fairly run down, with lots of iron bars on windows, even in nicer neighborhoods. Like the other cities, I don’t think I saw any traffic lights. Kinda weird to think that a city of any significant size can get along without traffic lights.

The last 7 miles of the trip was off on a dirt road. We ended up at a remote resort called Jaguar’s Paw. Basically it was a house (with the usual satellite dish), a small restaurant and several other buildings. It was hard to tell how many buildings because several of them were behind dense foliage.

We picked up inner tubes and flashlights (the kind with straps that mount to your head) and followed our guide Rick. Here’s the mouth of the cave where our trip began and ended. Basically, we hiked to the river entry point and tubed down to the starting point.It was about a 45-minute hike through dense jungle – fairly smooth path. Didn’t see any wildlife, but we did see a tree off in the distance that had weird bird nests in it. The nests were about the size of a basketball, and hung in what looked like a 3-foot long sack. There were about 20 nests in this tree. Rick said they were Golden Montezuma birds. ..or something like that. He told us stories about howler monkeys and how they could aim pretty well. If they felt threatened, they’d crap on your head. I made sure not to threaten the wildlife.
Our entry point had 2 ways to get into the stream: jump from a 10′ cliff (far left) or walk down into the water. You can see a couple of guys getting ready to jump in after their innertubes.
Sheryl tried to take my picture when I jumped, but couldn’t figure out the underwater camera and missed my grand entrance. I didn’t care to jump again.
Here we are, about to enter the cave.

The cave was pretty cool. For the most part, it was about 30-40 feet wide, and about 10-20 feet from the water to the top of the cave. In some places, the water was only a few inches deep, but I think for the most part, it was about 10 feet deep. Sheryl asked our guide (Mary) if there were any snakes. She said “Poisonous – but they don’t like us making noise, so they stay away.” It’s hard to stay on an inner tube without touching the water.

If you looked at the roof of the cave, occasionally you’d see sticks and debris jammed in crevices in the roof. Obviously the cave was completely full of water at times. Mary didn’t seem too concerned.

At one point, we came to an opening that was about 100′ long before going back into another cave. The 2nd cave had more interesting stuff. There was a large cave-in where you could see the outside literally pouring in. The height of the 2nd cave in some spots was probably 50′ with stalactites and bats. Crappy camera couldn’t make heads or tails of any of it.
I took a few pictures while in the cave. Just imagine a black rectangle with a bunch of yellowish dots (flashlights), and that’s what the photos look like. The real deal was much cooler than that, of course. Crappy camera. It took us about an hour to make our way through the tubing part. When we came out, it was just a short 2-minute walk to the restaurant where we got a plate of food to eat and a coke.

Back in Belize City, we checked out some of the shops near the docks. We didn’t feel safe enough to venture too far away. We wanted to buy a bag, but the best quality bags we could find said “Guatemala” instead of “Belize” on it, so we didn’t bother.

Houston | At Sea | Cozumel | Roatan | Belize | Cancun | At Sea || Ship Details