Cayo District, Belize
Favorite thing: If you make it out to San Ignacio, and you're looking for a trustworthy person to show you around -- find Pedro! You can find him at David's Tours (right across the street from the bus parking lot) -- just ask around for him. He took me on canoe trip down the Macal river -- stopped at the medicinal forest -- and a couple small villages along the way. He is very helpful and informative. He also drove me around (in my truck) to several areas around San Ignacio the next day -- people seemed to know and love him every place we went!
Favorite thing: bring a pair of cotton socks, they don't tell you this and then when ur already on the bus they stop by the store to buy some, i think they get commission. Also, set of dry clothes to change in after. Bring repellant but do not use until cross all the small rivers, locals drink that water down the stream and use it to prepare food, lets not poison them with chemicals. In the cave wear swim suit, shorts, waterproof shoes (no flip flops as will have to swim). Enjoy the cave, it's a fun trip.
About 15 mins from the capital Belmopan. There is a set of caves. You must take a guided tour, first you walk for about an hour (belizan time more like 1 1/2 hours, through the jungle, your guide will tell you about the different uses of trees/plants as well stop and let you taste various foods (we had sugarcane). Once you get to the first cave you notice paradise once again. With only your headlight you float on your innertubes through the slightly cool caves. for only 2 hours you float, getting occasional explanations of things, and between every cave there's an opening like you'd see in the movies. This is for sure at the top of my list.
Fondest memory: You must take a short boat ride from belize city to tiny caye caulker, it's pretty small but makes up in hospitality, and relaxation. I spent my last 3 days here, activities from playing street ball with the locals, enjoying some of the finest diving and snorkeling in the world. Some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet and some of the best food i ate all trip. Don't waste your extra money at the largest/busier ambergies caye, and i reccommend you come to caye caulker last because from experience you don't want to have your burn bugging you for the rest of the trip.
Check out the capital of the Cayo district, san Ignacio is the last major town before the Guatemalian border, we is the beginning of many tours to mayan ruins, jungle tours, cave tubbing, etc
Fondest memory: The hospitality of the people
Swim with the rays and nurse sharks at Shark Ray Alley and visit the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.Dive the Blue Hole on Light House atoll. Visit the Belize Zoo. Float on inner tubes with a head lamp through limestone caves filled with glistening stalagmites and stalagtites. Visit the Mountain Pine Ridge(1,000 ft falls, Rio Frio Cave and pools)and get to see a Mayan ruin and the new Museum of Belize(world class Mayan stuff eg. Jade, odsidian, shell, polychrome pottery from all periods.)
Fondest memory: When I'm away from Belize I miss the local food and the friendly people.
'I swam and jumped and climbed and learned and challenged myself...I truly felt I go to 'know' a rare, unspoiled paradise and I am enriched because of it.'
This quote was with some of the paperwork i collected about Belize. This should be their motto because this is truly the way you feel after the experience. The places we went to were wonderful and quite different. All of us enjoyed them for different reasons. The picture was taken on the way back to the airport from San Ignacio on Western (Eastern) Highway. This is what many of the homes looked like.
traveling back into the jungle and observing the many interesting plants and animal life
Fondest memory: The heavy rains that poured down each night, followed by the cool breezes. When the full moon would shine through the foliage as I lay under the mosquito net.
By all means, stay at Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge. It's rustic, but there is plenty to do with local guides (i.e. hiking, caving, tubing, etc.) The food is great.
Fondest memory: Hiking through the jungle to a 300 foot sinkhole accessible only by sliding down a rope and dangling 200 feet above the forest canopy.