Belize III

I'm finally posting the last details from our trip to Belize. I originally asked Aaron to write about it, but he is pretty busy with school and studying for the first actuarial exam. So you get to hear from me. Again.

After seeing the buildings and cities of the early Mayans, we took an adventure through a cave to see the deep, dark remains of Mayan rituals and sacrifices.

Actun Tunichil Muknal, or ATM for short, was absolutely the coolest thing we have ever done! We hiked through the jungle and saw some cool creatures, including a CORAL snake, poisonous centipedes, and butterflies the size of my hand. In fact, one of the butterflies landed on the my should and I could actually feel the small breeze from its wings.

There was a river flowing through the cave, so to get inside we had to swim for the first 20-30 feet. It was very refreshing, especially since there were little piranhas swimming around us (don't worry, they only eat dead skin). We hiked, crawled, swam, etc. for about 1 km into the depths of the cave. I can't even describe to you how large this cave is; it is over 3 miles long and has caverns with ceilings higher than cathedrals. I'm not exaggerating; it is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.
Once inside the inner parts of the cave, we saw lots of pots that were used for rituals and sacrifices, and we saw a few skulls as well. Towards the end of the tour we took climbed up a ladder and sat in a small room that contained a crystallized skeleton! Scientists believe it to be a young woman, therefore it is known as the "Crystal Maiden."
Unfortunately, no cameras were allowed. So the following pictures are borrowed from the internet.

The next day we went through more caves, but this time we were on tubes! We had the best guide ever. He took us on special routes that led us away from the mass amounts of cruise tourists. We got to see more ritual sites and caves that most tourists don't get to see. We had a great time just floating down the river in and out of caves and then eating a hearty lunch of rice, beans, and stewed chicken.

Click on picture to view source.

We did this! So intense, I thought I was going to slit my own neck.

The last part of our trip consisted of traveling back across the country to Belmopan, the capital of Belize, and then staying overnight at the "Baboon" Sanctuary. Below is a picture of our little hut. Ironically, it was the only room we stayed at during our whole trip that had air-conditioning. All other nights were... uncomfortable to say the least.

The only grocery store in town
After settling in our little bamboo hut, we took a 3-hour canoe ride down the river with our knowledge guide who is known as the "Crocodile Hunter of Belize."

While riding along the gentle river we saw tons of iguanas, howler monkeys (known as baboons in Belize), basilisk lizards (the kind that run on water), and all kinds of colorful birds. The howler monkeys make calls that are so loud that you can hear them from a mile away. It sounds a lot like a dinosaur/lion.

The Belizeans eat iguana like nobody's business. In fact, they call it "bamboo chicken." The rumor, according to the locals, is that it works just as well as the little blue pill...

After our canoe ride our guide actually 'called' to some wild howler monkeys to get them closer and we got to feed them! The monkeys would climb to a lower branch and reach out to one of the young leaves we were holding and start chowing down. It was so neat to see the monkeys in their natural environment.

Male iguana, about 3 1/2 feet long!

Candy of the jungle (they taste like bananas)

After spending the night at the Baboon Sanctuary we hopped on a bus and then caught a taxi to the airport to head back to the states!

This was an incredible adventure and we feel so blessed that we were able to experience it together. If you have any questions about where we stayed, who we booked our tours with, or anything else please let us know!

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