Monday, March 3, 2014

I can't belize we're in Belize!

As we enter the final stretch of our Central American adventure, we cross into Belize and spend a couple of nights in San Ignacio. For our free day activity we decided to try our hand at cave tubing. Just like it sounds this is where you stick your ass into an inner tube and let yourself free ride down a river which goes through caves.

It was quite cold that day, so not the best of activities while fighting colds. It even rained, but when you have limited time in a place, you can't let that stop you too often or you might as well go home. So off we went down the river and into our first cave. With torches on our heads and bums in the water we spent a large amount of time inside pitch black caves. It was a lot of fun and quite exciting with some breathtaking moments. Like seeing a small waterfall inside a cave. Other times we were floating down the river outside in the rain with the occasional tiny rapid. You have very little control and just need to be careful to push off the sides of the river, as well as keeping your bum high enough to avoid scraping it at the shallow spots. Afterwards it was hot coffees all around and a hot lunch.

Next stop was the tiny Caribbean island of Caye Caulker, just 32 km off Belize City and a short boat trip from the Belize Barrier Reef, about the third largest barrier reef in the world (go Australia). There is a real rastafarian culture on this island and you'd better like Bob Marley and dislike cars as the only traffic is by golf buggy. This is one relaxing island and the in thing to do at sunset is to go to 'the strip' and watch the sun go down.

We could not leave here without going out to the reef on a sailing boat and doing some snorkelling. That was one awesome day. We snorkelled in three different spots including one with a huge number of stingrays. At the second spot the crew threw out some food to attract sharks and we were soon surrounded. We were then allowed to go in the water and being accustomed to sharks from Galapagos, Elizabeth and I went in. At the last spot we swam to the reef, and by taking a large circle route came across a wide variety of fish, some sea turtles and I saw a large moray eel. On the way back we were treated to ceviche and as much rum punch as we could drink. It was hard to leave this little island paradise.

Can you see the Iguana?

Our last stop was back in Mexico at Playa Del Carmen where we had time to squeeze in one more Mayan ruin and some trips to the beach and one very cheap, but good, massage. The ruins were at Tulum and were a 1 hour shared taxi ride away. Tiny when compared to some of the other ruins we have visited but wow! location, location, location. Overlooking the beach, these ruins were once part of an important trading port.

Lastly, on a day forecast to be 30 degrees Celsius we boarded the first of what would be four plane flights and around 30 hours to get to Tromso in Norway, deep into the Arctic Circle, to start my search to see the northern lights...

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