A Travellerspoint blog

December 2012

TIKAL, GUATEMALA

Tikal, Guatemala January 12th, 2012

sunny 30 °C

While staying in San Ignacio, Belize, we were only 30min from the Belize / Guatemala border. So we went to Guatemala for 1 day to visit the Mayan ruins of Tikal, only 2hrs over the border. Crossing the border was a breeze! Some countries are such a hassle & take forever, but it only took about 10min. Mind you, we were there bright & early so there werent too many travelers there yet. The drive through the rainforest was incredible! It was a gorgeous foggy / misty morning!
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Truck load of oranges.
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We made a pitstop to use the bathroom and grab snacks in a small village along the way. Here is a villager weaving blankets.
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Wooden masks for sale in a gift shop.
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We finally arrived at Tikal and our guide led us through the rainforest to the pyramids. Theres ALOT of walking required so wear good shoes.

This is a HUGE Cieba Tree - Guatemala's national tree.
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Looking up at the tree.
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There were Spider Monkeys swinging everywhere in the trees :)
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And noisy Howler Monkeys! Their howl is terrifying! It sounds like a jaguar. Its quite scary listening to them howl at eachother if you dont know its just a little monkey!
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This is the back of the main pyramid that you see on every postcard. Can you find me? I look tiny next to it!
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The front of the same pyramid in the above photo.
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There are 2 pyramids facing eachother. You are only allowed to climb one though. This is the view from the top.
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Me climbing some of the smaller surrounding ruins for a different view.
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Our guide found a tarantula and for some crazy reason I held it!!
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I was calm until it started climbing up my arm!
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Busy Leaf Cutter Ants were everywhere!
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'Highway' of Leaf Cutter Ants
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The view from the tallest pyramid. I guess a scene from Star Wars was filmed here.
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On our walks amongst the ruins we spotted a coatimundi.
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And we also saw some Wild Turkeys!
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Just before the entrance to the ruins is a zip-line course! So we gave it a go. It was the first time for both of us!! The first zip was scary because we didnt know what to expect, but after that it was fun!!
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We zipped over & through the tree tops :)
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Well, thats all for our day in Guatemala. We then headed back across the border. Spent a few more days with Jedd & Amanda before they flew home and we flew to the Galapagos Islands.

Posted by ChantelleS 13:05 Archived in Guatemala Tagged ruins guatemala mayan tikal Comments (0)

SAN IGNACIO, BELIZE

San Ignacio, Belize Jan 11-14, 2012

27 °C

On the morning of Jan 11th we took a ferry from San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, to Belize City on the mainland. From there we took a taxi 2hrs to San Ignacio located in the Maya Mountains, only 30min away from the Belize / Guatemala border.
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We stayed at the Maya Mountain Lodge just outside of the city. It was a secluded, which I really enjoyed. We couldnt hear the hustle & bustle of the city at all! Only the breeze in the trees, tropical birds & monkeys :)
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The lodge had a communal deck which was a great area for meeting fellow travelers.
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The 4 of us rented a taxi & driver for an afternoon and visited Barton Creek Cave. Before I go on about the cave, let me tell you a bit about Belize roads ... they are the worst I've ever traveled! If they're actually paved, they have car-sized potholes. But more likely they are unpaved, and pure bumps & potholes & gravel! We had to take the worst road in all of Belize to get to the cave. It was only a few km from our lodge, but took over an hour!
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Getting geared up to paddle through the cave. We had little lights on our helmets and one flashlight per canoe. Other than that it was total darkness. We saw Mayan skulls, and old pottery, as well as stalagmites. I didnt take any photos inside cuz it was too dark for them to turn out.
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The opening to the cave.
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After an hour or so in the cave, we took the same crappy road to Big Rock Falls. This waterfall is not on any of the day excursion routes (probably cuz tour buses could never make it down this road), so we were the only ones here! Awesome!
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We also made a quick stop at the Belize Zoo. I really wanted to see a toucan, as it is Belize's national bird. We didnt see any in the jungle / rainforest ... so we figured we'd for sure see one at the zoo. No such luck ... earlier in the year a hurricane had damaged the zoo and the birds escaped :(

We saw this talking parrot that would say 'Hola' (Hello in Spanish)
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A coatimundi ... there were a few white ones too (albino???) but I didnt get a good photo
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Harpy Eagle ... this bird was huge! At least 2ft tall!
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Howler Monkey
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Grey Fox
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For $50 they locked us in a cage, and let a jaguar out, and he climbed on top of the little cage we were in and we fed him chicken and got to pet him through the cage while he was occupied with the chicken! Cool experience being so close to such a big cat!
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Feeding him chicken
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It licked Kevin's forehead! He said it felt like sandpaper.
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Well, thats it for Belize. We crossed the border into Guatelmala for one day, but that will be my next post.

Posted by ChantelleS 16:30 Archived in Belize Tagged san cave waterfall belize ignacio Comments (0)

AMBERGRIS CAYE, BELIZE

Ambergris Caye, Belize January 6-14, 2012

sunny 30 °C

What a gong show trying to get to Belize!! When you look on a map, Belize is only a couple inches away, LOL, yet we had to fly from Saskatoon to Denver to Houston to Belize City, and then take a ferry to Ambergris Caye. Ugh. However, in Denver our flight got canceled cuz the flight attendant didnt show up to work!! So we had to sleep in the airport and got on a flight the next day to Houston, but now had to fly to Dallas and THEN to Houston. Of course, we didnt make it to Houston on time, and missed our flight to Belize City. Long story short ... by the time we FINALLY got to our resort on the island, we had lost a full day of vacation, and all 4 of us lost our luggage!!

This is our resort ... Villas at Banyan Bay.
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One afternoon we went for a walk down to the Victoria House Resort ... probably the nicest beach on the island!
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To be honest, theres nothing of interest to do on this island. We rented a golf cart one afternoon and drove around, and still didnt find anything exciting.
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Sunset in San Pedro
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The only thing we did was go snorkeling on the Mesoamerica Barrier Reef (the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world ... 2nd only to Australia's Great Barrier Reef).
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Me with a Nurse Shark.
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Kevin with a shark.
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Kevin & Jedd snorkeling
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Stingray
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Sea Turtle
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Moray Eel
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Eagle Ray
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Our last day on the island we just relaxed with some delicious drinks! Then it was off to the mainland.
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Posted by ChantelleS 10:33 Archived in Belize Tagged beach island belize ambergris Comments (0)

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