Day 2: Xunantunich and River Tubing in the Cayo District

San Ignacio Travel Blog

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Crossing the Mopan river on the hand-cranked ferry

Belize is amazingly beautiful. We started our day right with breakfast burritos at the Trek Stop restaurant. It's great that they have dining right on the property and very affordable too.

Today we hiked up to and around the Mayan ruins of Xunantunich. The entrance trail to the ruins is literally right down the road [about 1/4 mile] from the Trek Stop. On the highway side of the river we boarded a hand-cranked river ferry which took us to the other side. It's also capable of ferrying cars across the river as well. The ferry is free of charge but it is customary to tip the operator. Once across the river it's a 1 mile hike up the hillside to the ruins.  There is a small entrance fee for the ruins ($5 US pp) and its worth every penny.

Welcome to Xunantunich
Speaking of money, one great thing about Belize if you're coming from the USA is that everyone accepts US dollars. The exchange rate is $2 BZ for every $1 US. The ruins were spectacular and there is a nice outdoor display area with information on the history of the ruined city and Mayan history in general. While we were touring the grounds we saw a howler monkey and we also passed a snake crossing our path on the way back down. Very cool. Read here for full details on Xunantunich: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xunantunich

Lunch was rice and beans again, but this time at Benny's in the little village of San Jose Succotz. That's the closest village to the Trek Stop and the ferry across the river is in the heart of it. Benny's has delicious offerings and I highly recommend it.

Xunantunich structure and Mayan carvings adorning the side. The original carvings were reburied a few feet behind this fiberglass replica to protect them from the elements.
As with the rest of our meals in BZ the entree costs are $5US pp or less.

After lunch we spent the afternoon tubing down the river, courtesy of some rented inner tubes from the Trek Stop. Tino of the Trek Stop drove us down the road just east of the river ferry and we got into the water. There were several sections of rapids and a 3 foot waterfall at the end - a little spot called Clarissa Falls. I'm a water wimp so the rapids were a bit scary for me. Besides the tubes are not fancy with handles or anything. Very low tech. I scraped my palms and bum on rocks a few times. We saw several dozen orange iguanas. They were males sunning themselves in the trees hoping to attract the ladies. Once we reached the Falls we called Tino from the restaurant on the bank of the river and he came to get us.

Back at the Trek Stop we enjoyed chili and cornbread for dinner at the restaurant on the grounds and then an early bedtime.

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Crossing the Mopan river on the ha…
Crossing the Mopan river on the h…
Welcome to Xunantunich
Welcome to Xunantunich
Xunantunich structure and Mayan ca…
Xunantunich structure and Mayan c…
Xunantunich grounds
Xunantunich grounds
Xunantunich grounds
Xunantunich grounds
Hubby Jon waving from atop Xunantu…
Hubby Jon waving from atop Xunant…
Jenni atop one of the Xunantunich …
Jenni atop one of the Xunantunich…
View of Xunantunich from atop one …
View of Xunantunich from atop one…
View of 1 city structure while ato…
View of 1 city structure while at…
View of Belize from atop Xunantuni…
View of Belize from atop Xunantun…
View from atop Xunantunich
View from atop Xunantunich
2 lizards blending perfectly into …
2 lizards blending perfectly into…
vines overtaking a tree in the rai…
vines overtaking a tree in the ra…
Butterfly
Butterfly
Snake we met on the road coming do…
Snake we met on the road coming d…
Male iguana sunning himself
Male iguana sunning himself
Iguana in the trees
Iguana in the trees
Mopan river we tubed down. Just be…
Mopan river we tubed down. Just b…
San Ignacio
photo by: Biedjee