3/19/12

Belize...

We are just back from Belize and really enjoyed our time in this beautiful country.  The people are so friendly and the food was amazing... and we felt very safe, always a bonus when traveling with children.  We had originally planned on going to Machu Picchu and the Amazon but decided to wait and not go during the rainy season.  This was Belize's dry season but as it turns out Belize is having their wettest dry season in years. :)  Were not afraid of rain but most people visiting the Cayo plan on visiting caves and caves close after heavy rainfall.  We waited it out and were happy to finally make it to the Barton Creek Cave.

We hired a driver to take us from the airport to Five Sisters Lodge and were glad we left the driving to someone else.  It was about a three hour drive and the last hour was on a dirt road, or should I say a muddy rough road.  The Belize drivers have some mad skills navigating their muddy roads.  I know if I was driving we would have been stuck on the side of the road.  After a long day of traveling we were happy to finally reach the Five Sisters Lodge.       

Five Sisters Lodge
The Five Sisters Lodge is Beautiful!  We liked our accommodations and especially the sitting area over looking the waterfalls.  This lodge would be a great place to stay if you plan on visiting the Caracol Ruins (since the ruins are past the lodge on the lovely dirt road).  I did laugh after reading a few reviews for this lodge.  Remember if you visit here you are in a jungle... the jungle has bugs and critters etc. :)
Sitting area.  We also had a hammock we hung in our room... very nice!

Five Sisters Falls
The Five Sisters Falls are in the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve.  We had a great view of the falls from our cabana.

Ferry ride to Xunantunich Ruins



Greg working the crank that pulls the ferry across the Mopan River

Xunantunich

Me and Charlotte in front of Xunantunich, the second largest archaeological site in Belize.  Charlotte is holding her new Mayan Doll.  

Guatemala in the distance

Bumpy dirt road to Five Sisters Lodge

Muddy road part 2

Because of all the rain we spent one day hanging out at the lodge.  We lounged on hammocks near the falls and went on a great hike through the jungle.  The rain slowed us down which in the end made for a nice relaxing day... and a break from the rough road which was also nice.  :)

Did I mention how much we loved the hammocks?  The Five Sisters Lodge had screened huts just for hammocks.  I'm really feeling like I need a hammock!

Greg and CC chillin!
Hiking in the jungle
Barton Creek Cave
Visiting the Barton Creek Cave was the highlight of our Belize vacation.  There are lots of caves in Belize but this was the easiest to maneuver with a young child.  We canoed for about one mile on this amazing underground river.  The Barton Creek Cave was once used by the Mayan's for human sacrifices.  We saw bats, a skull, ancient Mayan pottery, stalagmites and stalactites.

We looked up and saw lots of bats in this hole... little creepy!  I was praying they wouldn't fly in my face while taking the picture.
Because of heavy rain we had to wait a few days for the water to recede before we entered the cave.  Glad we waited!  We had to lay back in the canoe to enter this part of the cave.  Visiting this cave might not be a good idea if your claustrophobic! :)  
Leaving the cave

We passed a community of Amish people living in a beautiful area near the Barton Creek Cave.

Belize Zoo
After hoping to see a Jaguar in Costa Rica and now Belize, Greg finally got his wish.  He would have liked to see one in the wild but this will have to do for now. 
Ambergris Caye
After visiting the Belize Zoo we took a 1 1/2 hour water taxi from Belize City to Ambergris Caye.  After exploring the ruins and jungle we were ready to relax on the beach.
Ramon's Village Resort
We stayed at Ramon's Village, South of San Pedro and really enjoyed this tropical resort.


Hol Chan Marine Reserve


Shark Ray Alley
Stingray

Charlotte looking for Nemo!
Nurse Shark
Grouper
Nice boat!

Charlotte had a great time playing with some local kids!

We explored the island on a golf cart and hid under this tree waiting for the rain to stop.

Our View from the golf cart...


North end of the Island

Our Belize Souvenirs:
Table runner, Mayan doll,  painting, frame, table cloth and coaster (of course).

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