Belize is an up and coming destination for those who seek active and educational vacations. Tourism is the now the country’s largest industry. The coral barrier reef and plentiful Mayan ruins is what makes this country so desirable. Ambergris Caye, Belize’s most popular destination offers a pleasing mix of restaurants and the country’s best restaurants and nightlife. Caye Caulker, Hopkins, Placencia, and San Ignacio also attract many visitors. New vacation spots include Punta Gorda, Corozal Town, and Sartajena are inexpensive and almost totally unspoiled by mass tourism.
Almond Beach is a beautiful property in Hopkins, a small coastal village. This area has not become overdeveloped and is quiet in the evenings. Perfect for a family getaway or couple’s honeymoon. A Garifuna population inhabits the town and these friendly people staff the resort. These pictures give you an idea of the flora and the fauna that surrounds you.
Today we met our tour guide, Omar Deras, at the entrance to St. Herman’s Cave in the Blue Hole National Park. St. Herman’s Cave is of great archaeological interest. It was used by the Maya during the Classic Period up to 2,000 years ago. The ancient Maya believed that caves, particularly those with rivers flowing through and out of them, were entrances to the underworld, Xibalba. We saw remains of pottery vessels which were used for the collection of Zuh uy Ha (virgin water) from driping speleothems, actively growing stalactites. There were also charred remains of pots which were used to catch and burn blood sacrifices to the rain god Chaak during droughts. The blood was collected during bloodletting ceremonies in which priests and elders would pierce their tongues or foreskins. No evidence of human sacrifice has been found in this cave, unlike some others in Belize and Guatemala. All of the pottery pieces found in the cave have been shards, since the ancient Mayans believe that it was necessary to smash sacrificial vessels to release the spirits within. All those items are now studied by the Department of Archaeology in Belmopan. This cave system has been carved out of limestone by the Sibun River.
SEE…Maya ruins such as Lamanai, Xunantunich, Caracol or Altun Ha
EXPERIENCE… swimming with nurse sharks and stingrays at Hol Chan Marine Reserve
EXPLORE…Cave tubing at Nohoch Che’en Caves Branch Archaeological Reserve near Belmopan.
SAVOR…Stew chicken served with rice and beans and fried plantains at Iris’ Sunnyside Up in Hopkins village.
SLEEP…Lodge at Chaa Creek with thatch roof cottages with Luxury services near San Ignacio.