Since we were already on the western edge of Belize, we decided to take a short trip into Guatemala, especially since my friend had never been to Tikal before. I had a few years ago, because it wasn’t going to hurt me to visit again. On the way to Tikal, we stayed in Flores, Petén for a night or two, not very long at all. Flores is actually a small (almost) island in the middle of a lake. It’s the strangest town because there are cobblestone streets, it’s quite touristy, and yet very much not so in certain parts. From the pictures, it looks like we spent the most of our time eating in Flores. That’s probably true … eating and enjoying the beautiful lake!

Read about our other Belizean (and Guatemalan) adventures: belize city firstsbermudian landing baboonsbermudian landing eatscaye caulker splitcaye caulker waters • caye caulker snorkelcaye caulker lobstercaye caulker non-lobster eatscaye caulker sunset • san pedro sightssan pedro eatssan ignacio atm cavingsan ignacio poolssan ignacio cahal pechsan ignacio rio frio cavingsan ignacio caracol ruinssan ignacio eats

A Flores, Guatemala photo adventure:

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Read about our other Belizean adventures: belize city firstsbermudian landing baboonsbermudian landing eatscaye caulker splitcaye caulker waters • caye caulker snorkelcaye caulker lobstercaye caulker non-lobster eatscaye caulker sunset • san pedro sightssan pedro eatssan ignacio atm caving

After our time in the Cayes (Caye Caulker and San Pedro, Ambergris Caye), we headed inland toward the Western part of Belize (Cayo District) quite close to the Guatemalan border. Here, we did some pretty neat adventuring, of which I think the first was the absolute best! Our first San Ignacio-based adventure was visiting Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM). ATM is an incredible cave that the Maya people used long ago. Known to them as Xibalba, this 3-mile long cave is in the northern foothills of the Maya Mountains.

This trip is unique though because you’re not just walking into a cave, walking around it while avoiding stalagmite and stalactite before coming out again. In fact, the only way to get to the cave is go on a guided tour that involves hiking through the jungle and crossing Roaring Creek (I think) four times before you get to the mouth of the cave. The cave itself is not dry. In fact, there’s a river that rushes through it so first you have to swim to the entrance and then essentially wade and/or swim (depending on how high the water happens to be when you’re there) almost the entire length of the cave. It’s incredible. Eventually, you reach a massive opening where you see plenty of pottery and human remains. At the end, you see the remains of the woman Actun Tunichil Muknal. At this point you have to actually take off your shoes and you’re only allowed to wear socks or go barefoot. After all that, you wade/swim back out again. Our guide was pretty good and even led us into some incredibly narrow portions where the water was rushing very fast. It was quite the rush!

Camera are not allowed into ATM due to an incident years back when a tourist dropped the lens of his camera onto one of the skulls and broke it! All the photos here were shared with me from our guide at Pacz Tours based in San Ignacio.

Read about our other Belizean adventures: belize city firstsbermudian landing baboonsbermudian landing eatscaye caulker splitcaye caulker waters • caye caulker snorkelcaye caulker lobstercaye caulker non-lobster eatscaye caulker sunset • san pedro sightssan pedro eats

A San Ignacio, Belize photo adventure (photos courtesy of Pacz Tours):

One of the big things we wanted to do while on Caye Caulker was to go on a scuba trip. Just off the shore of Belize is the second largest barrier reef in the world (after the Great Barrier Reef). This was the perfect opportunity to get to see this amazing natural phenomenon. What would have been more amazing is seeing the Great Blue Hole, but being a certified scuba diver would have made going there pretty pointless since there’s not that much you can see just from the water’s surface.

In the end, we decided with going on a sailing trip, which was slower, but way more exciting than going out on a motor boat. We went to four different spots in and around the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. At Shark Alley, we saw tons of nurse sharks and rays. We also snorkeled in the Hol Chan Channel and Coral Gardens. On the way back, we stopped and saw moray eels but obviously weren’t going to swim in the water with them and their giant teeth! What a run trip!

Read about our other Belizean adventures: belize city firstsbermudian landing baboonsbermudian landing eatscaye caulker splitcaye caulker waters

A Caye Caulker, Belize photo adventure:

{belize} caye caulker waters

September 30, 2017

Upon leaving Belize City for the second time, we took a water ferry to the cayes. Our first stop is the less popular Caye Caulker. I say it’s less popular because it’s not the famous “La Isla Bonita” sung about by Madonna. It’s still quite popular though and many in fact prefer is the its larger sibling “La Isla Bonita”, locally named Ambergris Caye. Of course, the most wonderful thing about being on a caye is that there’s water everywhere and it’s incredibly relieving just to take it all in and relax, especially since there are no motorized vehicles on Caye Caulker except for golf carts and really you rarely need one of those.

While on Caye Caulker, I learned that a caye is different from an island because it’s a natural island on top of a coral reef. Crazy! That’s also why the water was so clear in these pristine waters. Caye Caulker is unique is that it’s technically split into two sections (the split being called “The Split”. We actually swam across (quite difficult considering the current) and explored some of the northern side, which does have some fancy resorts being built, but otherwise very desolate and covered with mangroves.

Ahhh … just looking back at these pictures makes me sigh, reminiscing about those beautiful Caye Caulker waters!

Read about our other Belizean adventures: belize city firstsbermudian landing baboonsbermudian landing eatscaye caulker split

A Caye Caulker, Belize photo adventure: