After five months of living in Belize, we finally received our first visitors, when Natasha's brother and sister-in-law came down. They planned a week vacation, spending the first half in our hometown of Cayo, and the second half on the beach in Placencia.
After picking them up from the airport in Belize City, we stopped at Belize's National Agriculture & Trade Show in Belmopan, on our way to San Ignacio. Strolling the grounds, we enjoyed some food & drink, while visiting friend's booths who were set up to sell their various products.
The following day we headed out to the ATM Cave on a guided tour we had booked through Mayawalk Tours. This was amazing! The four of us, along with four other tourists, took a bus into the jungle, then hiked about an hour through the bush. Unfortunately no cameras are allowed inside the cave because some careless tourist dropped one on a skull and cracked the ancient artifact, banning future use.
The rainforest trail provided views of new species of birds, as well as lizards and a aguati that crossed our path. Three times we forded the river as it wound its way along the trail, until we came to the cave entrance. You then have to swim in amongst huge wall-clinging cave spiders, until finally reaching solid ground...the very same ground the ancient Maya used to walk.
Inside the cave are hundreds of Maya artifacts, including pottery, spearheads, skulls, and full skeletal remains, all within reach as you are literally walking amongst history. After the Classic Period, around 900 B.C., the Maya started venturing into caves, providing offerings to their gods in the hopes they would provide refuge from the decimating droughts. The artifacts discovered in the ATM Cave shows just how far they were willing to go...starting with blood-letting and ending with human sacrifice! If only the Maya could've had the foresight to see that their own deforestation lead to the drought that forced them below ground. Something the present human race definitely should learn from now!
Monday we threw a party at Rawspa, a beautiful piece of land in Bullet Tree Village, with access to the Macal River, a bar, cabanas, and a great overall Rasta vibe complete with local artists and drummers.
Tuesday it was time to take the in-laws into the Mountain Pine Ridge. We spent time at both Rio on Pools and Big Rock Falls, both of which I have previously posted on.
Come Wednesday I drove our guests to Placencia for some relaxing on the beach. Here we spent the remainder of the week soaking up the sun.
Whale sharks appear in the coastal waters of Belize off of Placencia in May every year, but we tried to book a trip a little too late and everything was full. However we were able to secure a boat captain to take us offshore where manatees are active; sea cows are one of Natasha's favorite animals!
It was a good tour, the main attraction not being the manatees, but the coastal canals jutting in all along the back of the peninsula's lagoon. Besides the near collision with a charter boat whose captain was clearly not paying attention, our sunset cruise was very relaxing as we sipped on some local Cashew wine and enjoying a prepared picnic.
"Thinking and consciousness are not synonymous. Thinking is only a small aspect of consciousness. Thought cannot exist without consciousness, but consciousness does not need thought."