Sunday, March 08, 2020

Land Trip Belize!

We've been plagued by a series of cold fronts coming down from the north. Every week so far we've had to duck into a safe anchorage while it passes through - either Placencia or Sapadilla Lagoon. As a particularly strong front was coming our way and lasting for several days, Jim & Renate on Emerald Seas and ourselves decided to take a 4 day land trip inland here in Belize and see some new sites. We left our boats in The Reserve Marina and headed off in our rental car. Our first stop was the Blue Hole National Park for a refreshing swim and hike. It's a lovely spot as you can see from the photos.
Next we headed for lunch in Belmopan. Scott and I love to pick a place after reading the reviews on TripAdvisor and we hit a winner this time. We weren't sure at first however as it was very hard to find - being down a pedestrian-only local street with very modest eateries. But the Everest Indian Restaurant was a terrific surprise. It's really not more than a shack but the food and service was unusual. Raj, the owner, convinced us to order "the full boat" and when the bill came to $35 US each we didn't complain (although that was a lot of money here in Belize for lunch at such a place). First, he painted our faces with colorful stripes, then we had an assortment of Appetizers followed by our choices of main dishes, which we could all share. Then a big plate of green leaves with a variety of spices like fennel seeds, coconut and honey were arranged (see the photo). Raj bundled each one up and fed us individually. It took a while to chew and swallow them - but it was fun and cleared the palate. Lastly, we had delicious cups of chai.
There are two "Blue Holes" here in Belize. One is at
Lighthouse Reef and is one of the top 10 dive sites in the
world. The other is a sink hole in a National Park with that
name. We entered at the turquoise blue hole and then
walked up the stream and into the cave. That's Renate on
the stairs leading down.

Jim has a waterproof camera and several of the shots
throughout this blog entry are his. This from's Scott's cell

These artistic cairns were balanced on
several of the rocks.

A charming family joined us and we had fun with their

Here's the four of us on our trip - Heather, Scott, Renate and Jim

Renate and Heather framed by the cave entrance.
Jim getting fed!
We were painted on the forehead, cheeks and
chin with colorful stripes.
Raj with his after dinner "packages"
After our long lunch, we drove north to our hotel for the next two nights in St. Ignacio, near the border with Guatemala. The Maya Mountain Resort was set in a beautifully landscaped garden. Individual bungalows lined the paths and one larger house with 7 rooms. Renate & Jim got upgraded to a big bungalow as their original room was already occupied. We had one of the comfortable rooms in the larger building - all with private baths and airconditioning (if necessary). After drinks on our porch meeting fellow guests, we had dinner at the resort's restaurant.
The next morning we parted ways after breakfast. Jim and Renate took the car to see Xunantunich (which we visited last year with Sean & Will) and dropped us off "near" Cahal Pech. I say near because we couldn't find the entrance and the road was marginal - so we said we'd ask a fellow nearby so "go ahead". After several requests for directions, we finally found the big parking lot and visitor's center. Here's a case where Google Maps had an old location for the entrance on the other side of the property. Scott sent an email with photos to correct it. We were the only visitors that morning and it was rather magical to explore the grounds and ruins by ourselves. There is also a small but nice museum at the entrance with lots of history and information in English.
More info on our trip in my next post.
May of the site.
The small but perfect "ball court"
The site was probably the home for an Elite Maya family
and although most construction dates to the Classic Period
evidence of continuous occupation has been dated back to
1200 BC.
These roofs were reconstructed but represent
 what archeologists believe existed then.

The site is a collection of 34 structures.
The tallest structure is 25 meters high
We walked up and down a lot of steps!
The narrow rooms were due to their not developing
more advance arch technology.
It was truly a beautiful and peaceful spot but sure would
have been different when occupied.

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