Saturday, March 16, 2013

I get around, Part 2

Working on these posts totally, totally makes me miss living on the mainland, but here's the follow up to I get around - Part 1...

Ok.... starting with more ruins -
I've been to Altun Ha twice (the last time was when my parents were here - A week with the 'rents)
and to Lamanai once (I have a second trip planned for next week)

Altun Ha is one of the smaller Maya ruins sites - but it's pretty easy to climb and totally easy to get to, either on your own or with a tour guide.
Don't quote me on this (because I'm a horrible judge of time) but I think it only took an hour, hour and a half to get there (31 miles north) from Belize City.
(email me if you're looking for a guide, I know some good dudes.)

 from below

from above

It has to have been at least four years since I've been to Lamanai - which is why I'm planning on going again at the end of the week - but I remember taking a water taxi from San Pedro over to a cute little village called Bomba, where we caught a bus and took a ridiculously long ride to get to another boat that ended up at Lamanai.


The ruins, I thought, were pretty impressive.... this sign, though, not so much.
Maybe it's been replaced by now.

the first time I saw, and HEARD Howler monkeys, was here at Lamanai.
They don't look very big, but they sound like they could rip your head right off if they wanted to.

Oh man.... the High Temple.
I don't remember if I was just too afraid to climb it (which is totally possible) or if I bailed out because I had just had my first experience with Leaf Cutter ants, which SUCK.
I will climb it next week, though..... I think. Maybe even more than once, since I'll be testing out all of my flip-flops

I've taken the Coastal Highway - which connects the middle of the Western Highway with the end of the Hummingbird Highway, making it unnecessary to go all the way to Belmopan. 

That doesn't sound like a big deal, and it really isn't.... but not a lot of people have bothered taking the Coastal Highway once they read about how horrible it can be - 
36 miles of gravel road that has rickety old, wooden bridges that get washed away and potholes the size of elephants during the rainy season. 

During the dry season, it's just dusty as hell and super bumpy, and, you know, it isn't safe to drive fast on gravel... so it doesn't end up being much of a short cut. At all. 
You're way better off going to Belmopan to jump on the Hummingbird Highway, which is a more scenic drive, anyway. (My favorite highway in Belize)

There are so many places you can stop at along the Hummingbird Highway, too - waterfalls, little roadside restaurants and bars, parked wagons with Mennonites selling watermelons out of their horse-drawn wagons

Davis Falls in Alta Vista

you don't cross the river 7 times and have to use the winch to pull the truck out of at least four situations (this link should take you to the youtube video) and NOT get in that chilly water.

Cafe De Amor in Steadfast

homemade ice cream (and cheese, sour cream, chocolate milk, etc) from the Mennonite owned and operated country barn

And there are the bigger attractions along the Hummingbird Highway - like Ian Anderson's Cave's Branch, The Inland Blue Hole, and St. Herman's Cave...

the awesome jungle pool at Cave's Branch

So, apparently, there's a trail that leads you through da bush and up this huge ass mountain and, eventually, to some kind of cool observation tower above the rainforest canopy, from where you can see a panoramic view of the entire 575 acre park.

One day, when I'm better prepared, I'd like to try to make it all the way there... but I believe I put in a damn good effort the first time!
I must have climbed up and through the rainforest for a good two and a half hours before I had to turn around and complete the scarier task of climbing back down...
It was probably only 3pm or so when I gave up (I suggest getting an early start if you want to do it) but it was already starting to get dark in there and, since it was the rainforest, it was completely humid, everything was super slippery and the mosquitoes had been feasting on me the whole time.

the easiest part of the hike, and it was, like, straight up the side of a mountain.
after this I had to put the camera away and dedicate two hands to the mission

way easier to get to, the Inland Blue Hole-
a pretty, sapphire blue, 25 foot pool filled by an underground source

 so clear and beautiful

The Hummingbird Highway comes to an end in Dangriga - and if you've been following my blog for a little while then you've probably seen a lot of pictures from down there.... but here there are, anyway.
I really, really miss it there.

Time to lay this post to rest - I get around Parts 3 AND 4 (maybe even 5??) coming soon!


  1. interesting as always,looking forward to part 3.

  2. Great post! Have been to some of these places (Lamanai but not Altun Ha, the various highways, etc.) I am sure you will do just fine climbing the High Temple if my 51-year old legs could do it (but I did wear proper footwear -- NOT flip-flops! LOL) By the way, what brought you to San Pedro? I was enjoying following your back to the land/off the grid/animal-oriented lifestyle on the mainland. Then all of a sudden you were in San Pedro. What did I miss?!

    1. Things didn't work out with my husband, Emily, so I had to leave the mainland and come find work in San Pedro. I miss the land, the road, the goats, chickens, dogs, and cat SO MUCH... but I couldn't live with my husbands alcoholism any longer.
      I guess I've been pretty quiet about it so far, but I think I'm finally getting used to the idea that we aren't together any more.

    2. Awwww, I am really sorry, and did not mean to make you put your personal stuff out here if you were not ready. My theory was just that you needed to earn some moolah so came to San Pedro temporarily since you knew you could find work. I am sorry b/c I loved your "mainland blog" -- it was so interesting to me to read about your animals and life there, since I am familiar enough with San Pedro that your life near Dangriga was more exotic! Sorry things didn't work out, and I hope that your animals are being taken care of. I know it must kill you to be away from them. Thanks for filling me in, and I wish you many good things in the future. After all, we're "birthday twins". :)

    3. No worries! I love San Pedro, but if I end up staying in BZ long term, I'll eventually want to find a way to go back to the mainland to live -so keep reading! Maybe one day I'll be back to blogging in the jungle :)
      What are you doing for your birthday?!

  3. Those photographs are gorgeous! It's no wonder you miss living there. And I can't get over the ruins! I'm surrounded by medieval buildings where I live and I thought those were old, but those ruins are crazy old! :)