Cave Tubing at Caves Branch

Cayo District Travel Blog

 › entry 14 of 14 › view all entries
Nick and I decided to spend a bit more time with Tanya and go cave tubing at Caves Branch. After 2 hours of sleep from a long night out, I rushed to pack up and bid farewell to Cornerstone. After a bit of a delay at the bank, we were finally on our way. Our tour guide for the day was Alberto. We were also accompanied by Gwen, an American, and Josh, a Canadian.

At the beginning of the tour, we set out on a 45-minute hike with our inner tubes. Alberto stopped every now and then to point out and explain some of the local flora. Some of it was review from previous tours - a good refresher, and some of it was new.  We were shown the Cockspur tree - which has some beneficial health properties. There bark can be used to slow down the spread of snake venim in the bloodstream after a snake bite. The Cockspur has thorns, which is where vicious ants live. The ants protect the tree from other plants and insects.  The ceiba tree initally grows with thorns to protect itself. As it grows, the thorns fall off from the top down. When the tree is mature, it no longer needs protection with thorns.

My favorite part was when we stopped at a termite nest. Nothing out of the usual at first - I've seen so many termite nest around here. But then Alberto asked us if we'd like to taste them. "Sure!" Tanya said with a shrug. Bethany would have loved to have been there. She always dives into new foods. Alberto stuck a stick in the hive, creating a hole. Out scattered several termites. This was actually my first time scoping out the insects. I was surprised that they were quite small - tinier than baby ants. Roberto encouraged us to eat them by explaining that they taste like carrots and peppermint. I was the first to grab one. It was impossible to pick up more than one at a time. After dropping a few in my mouth, I could taste the carrot flavor. The aftertaste was slighly pepperminty, but moreso just carrot flavor. Everyone dug in. We wondered how many we would have to eat to sustain us for the day. Well, we didn't have enough time for that, so we moved on.

The tour consisted of traveling in 4 caves: 2 dry caves, which we merely passed/walked in/out of and 2 caves which we tubed through. In the dry caves, Roberto explained that the stalacmites we believed by the Mayans to be a young Ceiba tree growing out of the ground. The stalactite from above was ceiba tree roots coming out from the underworld. In the wet caves, we traveled through sitting in the inner tubes. We looked around us at the stalactites, stalagmites and other rock formations within the cave. Each of us had a head torch to better see inside. The water moved slowly, so we constantly had to paddle backwards using are arms. I loved watching the light from the outside diminish as the water moved us deeper into the cave. At some parts, a wall opening up, leaking light into the darkness.

My favorite cave was the last one. The water varied and there were waterfalls and small rapids. At the end of the tour we swam in the river and swung off the rope swing - something I could do all day long if I had the time. Nick and I had planned on trying to get to San Pedro by evening, but we figured we were too short on time, so we headed back to San Ignacio for one more night.

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