Today, I’m going to tell about my freaking trip to Central America’s. We said farewell to the last of the beaches for a while and boarded the ferry back to Belize City. From there we caught the express bus to San Ignacio- express might make it sound fast and comfortable, but in reality it was an old school bus.
Our accommodation for our time in San Ignacio was in cabanas in a forest area just outside the town. From the verandah you could see some Mayan ruins nearby and there was a butterfly sanctuary in the grounds. However, I should have guessed when we saw a tarantula by the pathway on the way in that it was going to be an interesting couple of days. It was a very eco friendly lodge, with compost toilets and rainwater for the shower.
I took minimal showers during my time there- I’d like to say it was because I was being environmentally conscious, but it had more to do with the rather large wolf spider that Andrew found joining him in the shower on the first night.
Needless to say I made him check the cabana thoroughly but I still didn’t sleep well. I did have a lucky escape though as Fiona and Raisa actually had a tarantula in their cabana and the screams could be heard all round the camp.
For our full day in San Ignacio we went caving in Actun Tunichil Muknal- a Mayan ritual site. We hiked into the jungle, seeing Central America’s most poisonous snake en route, and waded across three rivers to get there. After donning our hard hats and head torches we swam into the entrance of the cave to make our way to the sacrificial chamber. This was a really fun experience as we had to clamber over boulders, through narrow gaps, swim across pools and finally climb up into the chamber. We had to wear socks in the chamber so as the oils on our skin did not damage the cave formations.
The site was found in 1987 and opened to the public in 1997. It remains exactly as it was found, with sacrificial pots and artifacts all over the place. There were incredible stalactite and stalagmite formations, and it was somewhat eerie as we could only see by torchlight. The final part was a climb up into a smaller chamber where we saw the calcified remains of a young woman who had been sacrificed to the gods.
Our last stop before leaving Belize was to the Mayan ruins we had seen from our camp- Xunantunich. This was a small site but impressive as it contains one of the tallest Mayan structures and there were beautiful views from the top.