One of my news year’s resolutions was to travel more often…or I should say as much as possible. I had a long weekend coming up and a friend and I were trying to decide where we should go. Recently we had read about Mayan ruins and thought it would be fun to go explore some. We had planned to go somewhere for about 5 days but didn’t know if 5 days was enough time to travel to Belize and Guatemala. We also had as an option – Cuba. After doing some research we found that the flights to Belize and/or Guatemala were going to be too high for just a few days.
Fast forward a week and less than a month before we were going to go….we lucked out and found some cheap flights to Belize! The plan was to fly into Belize and then make our way to Guatemala to visit Tikal. When I got more into planning I thought it may be nice to have a day or two in Belize so that we were not just heading all the way to Guatemala without stopping.
I stumbled upon a lodge called Caves Branch that was on the way to Tikal (somewhat) and had lots of tours on offer. I thought we could stay there a day or 2 and do a tour and then head onto Tikal. Well let’s just say we had some much fun in Belize that we never even made it to Guatemala on this trip…stay tuned though because we make it there on our next trip over!
I found the overnight caving expedition tour and after much persuasion that we should do it my friend and I booked it!
Backpack LL Bean (similar) // Dry Bag (similar) // Boots // Leggings // Top – Academy // Sweater
This was the lightest I had ever packed for a trip!
We flew into Belize (I couldn’t believe how clear the water looked from the plane) and took a taxi to the bus terminal in Belize city. From there we got a bus to Belmopan. It was about a 2-hour bus ride. Once in Belmopan we boarded another bus to Dangriga. On that bus, you get off at the Caves Branch stop and walk the last bit to the lodge. We got off a bit to early….we started walking but were picked up by a passing van (scary I know) which dropped us at the long drive way to Caves Branch. After checking in and signing our life away (for the tour the next day) we headed to our room. We were both exhausted from traveling all day and getting to sleep. After a family style dinner, we went to bed early so we could be up and ready for tomorrow.
The tour starts out with a hike up 3 peaks. Here we got to try termites (they taste like carrots), all spice, and Cohune nuts. We also saw copal (which is good to start a camp fire), Howler monkeys, an inch worm and Lucy!
What I didn’t mention about the tour is that it involves a 300 ft. repel down the blackhole. Once down there you eat lunch, set up camp, and go explore the caves.
Once in the cave there is some repelling but lots of climbing, maneuvering through rocks and formations, river swimming and one of my favourites – climbing a clay mound and sliding down it. You also get to see some Mayan bones and pottery!
We also got to see and hold a scorpion spider!
After exploring the cave for hours, we made our way out and back to the camp. I remember as we got closer to the outside hearing all this noise. We came out to a dark sky where it was thundering and lightening.
We slept that night in covered hammocks and listened the noises of the jungle! It was one of the most amazing places I have stayed. We were woken bright and early by all the animals!
The hike out involves a 30 ft. ladder you have to climb up but a lot less weight since much of the water we were carrying the day before we have drank. Before heading back to the lodge, we stopped to pick oranges from the orange trees at the start of the blackhole hike. We used machetes to peel them. From there we went to the river to swim about and cool off!
This was hands down one of the best tours I have ever done!
Once back at Caves Branch we showered, ate lunch and got ready to set off to Tikal…
We had a slight change of plans when we realized how late it was and how long it would take us to cross the border and get to Tikal!
Check back to see what we got up to instead!
Lots of Love,