Day 5: Trip to Downtown San Ignacio and Barton Creek Caves

San Ignacio Travel Blog

 › entry 5 of 12 › view all entries
Welcome to San Ignacio

I made breakfast burritos with ingredients we bought at the market in Succotz earlier in the week. They were quite tasty.

After breakfast we waited for the bus to San Ignacio. It's the local bus and drives right by the Trek Stop along the Western Highway - $1 BZ per passenger. They use old school buses from the USA. We got off at the main bus stop and headed to Eva's restaurant a few blocks away. We had read that her place offers several tours including Barton Creek Cave. That's a cave with a river running through it that the Mayans used over a thousand years ago for religious rituals, namely human sacrifice. What is great about Belize is that it is one of the few countries where the government allows tourists to explore these historic places up close.

Jon prepares to board the canoe.
(There is another famous tour- the ATM tour- where visitors walk right over treasure and skeletons from human sacrifices). We got to Eva's made arrangements for the tour and soon we were off on our way in the tour guide's 4x4. It was a rough bumpy dirt road that passed through 6 miles of orange groves.  I picked my first orange off a tree ever! Once past the groves we crossed land owned by the Mennonites. There is a second group of Mennonites in the area near the Trek Stop but the two groups don't get along. The Barton Creek Mennonites are much more primitive and conservative.

We got to the creek and found the Barton Creek Outpost which is run by a friendly family serving fresh juices and hosting a great rope swing over the river that you can tarzan swing from and jump into the middle of the river.

Getting read to head into the Barton Creek Cave.
The guide led us to the bank of the creek and into the canoe, Jon in front, me in back, and the guide right behind me. The cave was amazing.We saw stalactites and stalamites and one human skeleton as well as various mayan pottery as we passed through the cave. Human sacrifice as the Mayans practices is really revolting- it was their tradition to make the death a long drawn-out and tourtured one to please the Gods. The cave also at one time had drawings depicting homosexuality, murder, and other sins in the eyes of the Mayans because they believed some of the Gods reviled in such displays of sin.

About a mile into the cave we turned off our lanterns and it was pitch black, just dripping water. So amazing. One minor problem that impacting our journey was that the guide kept touching me inappropriately on the back and neck while in the cave.

Heading into the Barton Creek Cave
As with most women who find themselves in such situations I didn't know what to do/say. I didn't want to come off like a witch and yell at him and ruin our trip. So I just sort of tried to lean away from him everytime he put his hands on the back of my neck or ran his hand down my spine. I didn't want Jon to cause him bodily harm either so I didn't tell Jon about what happened until we were back in San Ignacio later that afternoon. 

After Barton Creek we were dropped off by the guide in San Ignacio. I asked him to drop us off at Lucy's - a taco stand that came highly  recommended by our guide book. It was fabulous and everything [tacos, burritos, tostadas, etc] are 3/$1. Thats $1 bz which is just 50cents US. SO CHEAP!!! And delicious.

Human skeleton, a victim of human sacrifice. This person was a commoner who was murdered so that they could accompany an important person who had died into the afterlife to be their servant.
 I have become completely addicted to Marie Sharp hot sauce - made with carrots and habeneros for a unique taste. Everyone in BZ puts it on just about everything.

After lunch we did some sightseeing of the town on foot. There is a small bridge between San Ignacio and Saint Elena that has some interesting history. Since the bridge is only wide enough to accomodate 1 car at a time the rule of thumb was that whichever car got to the middle of the bridge first "won" and the other car had to back up and let the winner proceed. Of course there were fender benders as people rushed to be the winner. And, according to our guidebook, often times neither party would acknowledge the other as the winner and the police had to be called to come out with a ruler and determine who was actually closer to the middle of the bridge.

They solved the problem by building a second bridge on the other end of town and converting the original bridge to 1 way traffic only.

We purchased a bottle or two of Marie Sharp's hot sauce and then picked up some presents for our friends back home. After that we went to the fresh fruit market and we were again amazed at the prices. 12 oranges for $1bz .10 banana for the same price. HEAVEN. Back in Virginia oranges are $1 each. Each! And here we are getting 10 for 50cents. Can't beat that. Needless to say we suspect we are going to be eating a lot of oranges and banannas while here.

After that we waited for and then took the bus back to Trek Stop, relaxed for a bit, showered, then wandered off to dinner at Benny's again in Succotaz. We relaxed the rest of the evening and tried to feel peace among the 18 teenagers who showed up with a tour group for the night.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Welcome to San Ignacio
Welcome to San Ignacio
Jon prepares to board the canoe.
Jon prepares to board the canoe.
Getting read to head into the Bart…
Getting read to head into the Bar…
Heading into the Barton Creek Cave
Heading into the Barton Creek Cave
Human skeleton, a victim of human …
Human skeleton, a victim of human…
The canyon wall just outside of th…
The canyon wall just outside of t…
Leaving the Barton Creek Cave, lig…
Leaving the Barton Creek Cave, li…
Jenni picks her first orange ever.
Jenni picks her first orange ever.
Lucys- the BEST taco stand in San…
Lucy's- the BEST taco stand in Sa…
San Ignacio fountain
San Ignacio fountain
San Ignacio
photo by: Biedjee