Languid Rivers, Spooky Caves

San Ignacio Travel Blog

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The river that runs through San Ignacio


Now then, Belize.  Many of those I met on the road were not going to Belize because it is viewed as expensive. Well, that depends on where you go.  I understand that the world class destinations Belize has to offer are quite expensive - some of the Cayes on and around the Barrier Reef are such places, but San Ignacio isn't and there are some great things to do around there.  Indeed, I wish I had more time there.

San Ignacio itself isn't spectacular and I spent my first day there in bed utterly exhausted after the ridiculous temperatures in Tikal the day before.  That turned out to be the best sleep I got in that bed as it was totally uncomfortable.  For some freakish reason, half of the mattress was supported by wires and the other a hard, flat board.

Canoe and comedy hat you might have seen before
  The DMZ of this contraption went straight across the small of my back so my arse and legs were about 3 inches closer to the floor.  Still, it was about £4 a night for a single.

Thank You Ray Mears and Ray Goodwin

So, I get up the next day still feeling drained and groggy.  I get some breakfast and begin to be warmed by a relatively cool 35 degree celcius day.  What can I do when I am recovering from too much sun in a hot climate?  I know, let's go for a 4 hour open canoe trip up the river.  Idiot.

I blame Ray Mears.  I went on the Ardeche trip on this site (underneath the expedition courses) in May of 2005.  Whilst it was a fabulous journey, and an experience I will remember until I get old and forgetful, it did ruin my knees for months.

Spooky cave formations at the ATM
  It also taught me the rudiments of paddling an open canoe in a straight line and I wanted to practice.  So off I went, up the river with no cover from a blazing sun except for my Don Juan Coffee Tour hat.  And it was great.  Yeah, I was too tired for the trip and by the time I got back, I was in no state to shoo the Belizean urchins from the canoe, but it was a really relaxing way to exercise, if that makes sense.  The river was quiet with only a couple of class 2 rapids to navigate (the Ardeche goes up to Class 4).  I was able to use all the skills Mr Mears and his companion Mr Goodwin taught and I had a good time.

Touring an ATM? Xurely that is dull?

English speakers are stupid and can't say Actun Tunichil Muknal, so we get to go to a cash machine instead.

Long dead Mayan
Or maybe it is a clever pun on money spending tourists?  Anyhoo, this place is great and a first - somewhere no other traveller had told me about.  The basic premise is simple, it is a cave system in the woods.  However, it was also a Mayan religious site and is jammed full of artifacts from those times, and skeletons.  To walk around museum exhibits that are still in situ is amazing and I can't see as this will be allowed for all that much longer.  It is a real insight into history and our guide was really well informed, if somewhat racist towards the English - it isn't my fault your country was once ruled by mine, so get over it.

But for me, the natural beauty of the place far outweighed the experience of walking in the footsteps of long dead humans.  It was very much like Semuc Champey in that respect, but with less wandering in rivers where you can't see sharp rocks.  And we got to eat termites on the way in which taste strangely like carrots.  And got to see flocks of indigo birds sweeping out of the fields as we passed.  Belize really is a lovely place.

thenewextrememimi says:
I kinda wish I had done ATM, but it was so expensive! The name is sure fitting. I didn't go because I kept getting the feeling the tour operator was trying to talk me into the more expensive option -- but it sounds like it was worth it!
Posted on: Nov 11, 2007
Amanda says:
You know, there is a reason I am not a "breakfast person"; my stomach and I don't really get along for many hours after I wake up. I read this originally at 7:00 am this morning. I got to you eating the termites and had to shut down the computer, it made my stomach lurch so. Two hours later however, it still makes me queasy...
Posted on: May 08, 2007
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The river that runs through San Ig…
The river that runs through San I…
Canoe and comedy hat you might hav…
Canoe and comedy hat you might ha…
Spooky cave formations at the ATM
Spooky cave formations at the ATM
Long dead Mayan
Long dead Mayan
San Ignacio
photo by: Biedjee