Saturday, July 14, 2012

A horseback ride to Maya Ruins - one of my favorite Belize experiences

My original plan for yesterday was to go and get my Belize Maya 2012 Passport stamped at Xunantunich and walk around the ruins again.

2012 Maya Passport

The passport cost $50bz and it gets you free admission to the ruins of Cerro Maya, Lamanai, Altun Ha, Caracol, Cahal Pech, Xunantunich, Barton Creek Cave, Nohoch Che'en, El Pilar, Serpon Sugar Mill, Nim Li Punit,  and Lubaantun.

My only stamp so far - Cahal Pech

If the weather had been nice during the early morning hours I could have possibly made it to Xunantunich AND to the farm for horseback riding, but we didn't end up getting our day started until around 9:30.... and I had to start making my way home around midday. (Noon - but everyone says "Midday" here)

Janell, Ricky and Janell's niece, Quevanni, got a taxi in San Ignacio and stopped at Rumors to pick me up. We headed west on Benque Viejo Road where, on the way, we decided to choose horseback riding over the ruins. This was a GOOD CALL! We still got to see ruins, AND Xunantunich!

Where we went riding, mile 70 on the Western Highway

My new friends/riding buddies

.I'm totally in love with this farm! 400 acres of pastured land with about 45 horses and a bunch of cows... I really can't think of a better way to spend my day.

The owner, Santiago, getting our rides ready.

We went for about a two hour ride through his property... that means you get to see lots of pictures...

Janell and Ricky

a cute little pregnant horse

It was kind of cloudy in the morning so a lot of the pictures didn't turn out as well as I was hoping.

I love all this open land!

I love being on a horse - it reminds me of when I was younger and I would ride all the time; at camp and at the barn where I held my first job. I was so tempted to make my horse, Bird, run like the wind so I could feel like I was flying.... but I held back and stayed with the group. Running while wearing flip flops and using a Western saddle isn't how I'm used to riding.

I've done a lot of trail rides and river crossings on horseback in my day, but when we got to the river we were meant to cross, I got a little nervous. It looked deep and it was running strong... but we made it.

Umm... we're going in THERE?

Let's GO!

The water was very refreshing, I just let my feet dangle and get wet and let Bird do all the work.
Once we got to the other side the land was more raw and there were cows hanging out over there with a few more horses.


 Santiago took us further onto his property since he knew we wanted to see some ruins. He said he has the largest, unexcavated Maya sight in the country right there on his land - Altun Kan.

This was so cool! There were two big mounds and two smaller mounds which you can clearly see used to be the ball court. (Playing ball was serious business is the Maya world - at the end of the game, someone was getting sacrificed to the Gods!)

Quevanni was having such a good time

We went a little further and tied the horses up to some trees and went for a walk to climb on top of another ruin that was further in the bush.

Sacrificial tomb?

Climbing and sweating and getting eaten alive by mosquitos was all worth it once we saw the view from the top...

It's kind of dark but - do you see it?! Xunantunich!!

another view from up top

We made our way back down - Quevanni and I by sliding down on our butts most of the way, then got back on the horses and headed back to the barn. I noticed that Bird picked up his pace a little bit on the way back, and even trotted a few times when we got to the home stretch.

"A halo around the sun or moon - snow or rain soon."

I was bummed that I had to start heading home so soon after the ride - I could've hung out there all day.

They take excellent care of their horses and seem to love what they do, and Santiago is a really nice person to talk to. I have a million questions for him, so I'll definitely be back again.... and again, and again, and again!

Visit for more information - they apparently have cottages and a restaurant and host other activities in addition to the horseback riding.
If you go, tell them that "Carrie, the tattooed white girl from Stann Creek" recommended them!

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  1. Sound wonderful. I remember your riding from when we were kids. By the country club on Newtown/Richboro Road, right?

  2. The barn I started riding at was Churchville Stables on Holland road. I used to walk through the corn field to get there. Maaaaaan, I miss those simple days.