THINGS TO DO, PLACES TO GO, PEOPLE TO MEET
Lamanai, probably first inhabited 3,500 years ago, was one of the
largest Mayan cities in Belize. The majority of the ruins at this
site are unreconstructed but visitors may climb the stairway of
the major temple to a perch above the jungle, swamps, and lagoon.
Also at the site are the remaining walls of a sixteenth century
mission, one of the few signs of the Spanish presence in Belize.
To reach Lamanai, visitors take a leisurely cruise down a jungle
river where they can see hundreds of varieties of orchids and bromeliads
while listening to the exotic sounds of the forest.
Altun Ha: Many believe that Altun Ha was used by the Maya as
a trading center rather than the more traditional self-contained
agricultural community. The palaces and pyramids (excavated and
partially restored) of Altun Ha surround two central plazas.
Ek'Tun Nature Ride / Macal River: Trailer the horses to the
village San Antonio to mount up and begin the ride through the forest
crossing a limestone ridge to reach the Macal River. A gourmet luncheon
is provided at a picturesque cottage on the river. There is time
to swim, explore the caves and waterfalls, or relax before continuing
by boat down the river to San Ignacio.
Caracol: This site, currently under excavation by the University
of Central Florida, is believed by some to be even larger than the
Maya site of Tikal and it was occupied well into the Late Classic
period. Glyphs on one of the structures record a war with Tikal,
and there is speculation that Caracol may have become the dominant
site after the fall of Tikal.
The site of Xunantunich, "Maiden of the Rock," was occupied
during the later Classic period and is believed to have been an
ancient ceremonial center. It is the largest archeological site
in the Macal River Valley and it offers magnificent views of the
Pine Ridge and Rio Frio Cave: This reserve is set on a spectacular
range of pine clad hills, and in addition to being rich in exotic
flora, it acts as a refuge for deer. The excursion includes a visit
to the massive Rio Frio Cave, the Hidden Valley Falls (1000 ft.),
and swimming in the pools and falls of the Rio On.
Day Vaca Falls - Chech Chem Ha Cave Excursion - Located upstream
on the Macal Plateau the Morales family have made their home many
years ago. The small farm is not only the means that small local
farmers like the Morales family make a living but it is a also beautiful
jungle high on the bluffs overlooking the river. A small stream
"Chech Chem Ha" or "Poison Wood Creek" flows
through the middle of their farm and then plummets 1000 ft. down
only to continue on for a short distance and join the Macal. If
the pristine jungle and breathtaking scenery doesn't catch one's
eyes then a short guided hike to Chumpiate (corn wine) Cave definite
will. The cave was found only 5 years ago and through the auspice
of the Department of Archaeology, the Morales family are the caretakers
for an abundance of Mayan Artifacts dating back some 2000 years.
The cave is shaped like a corridor whereas everyone can stand up
and walk around and view the pottery. A few hundred meters in, you
find a small round room with signs of ceremonial use.
Trail: The trail is named for the Mayan healer, Eligio Panti,
and offers visitors the opportunity to see medicinal tropical plants
growing in their natural environment. Many modern medicines are
derived from tropical plants and scientists are struggling to discover
the secrets of the jungles before they are destroyed by man.
Basin Wildlife Sanctuary: The Cockscomb Basin is a moist tropical
forest bordered on three sides by the Maya Mountains. It is the
world's first jaguar preserve but it is also home to margays, ocelots,
jaguarundis, and mountain lions.
Caye: This tropical paradise is the northernmost island of the
world's second longest barrier reef and the geological tip of the
Yucatan Peninsula. Here one can sunbathe on the palm-lined beaches,
snorkel, dive, fish the incredible coral reef, or simply relax and
enjoy the incredible beauty of the area.
Ride (Maya Ranch): This horseback riding excursion is a favorite
among bird watchers and naturalists and it includes a two hour ride
through pastures, jungle and along creekside trails, as well as
a delicious breakfast of homemade breads, seasonal fruits, and juices.
Ranch: Join John and Beth Roberson for a stay in the charming
and cozy guest quarters of this 4,700 acre working cattle ranch.
Enjoy horseback riding, bird watching and great meals in a friendly,
Resort: A stay at the Maruba Resort is an experience in and
of itself. Located in the heart of the Mayan jungles, it offers
modern facilities, exquisite cuisine, and pampering fit for a king.