we have been in San Ignacio, Cayo district in the western part of Belize for two nights now. we woke up at 1:50am on Tuesday to catch our 5:45 flight. we literally walked onto the shuttle bus as it was leaving, as well as our flight from Dallas to Miami and ran through the Miami airport to catch our connecting flight to Belize. we caught a cab outside the Belize airport to take us to the bus station, and in keeping with the theme of the day, flagged the bus down as it was pulling away from the station. we rode the entire way from Belize city to San Ignacio for $4 each, even though it took a couple hours as stopped alongside the road every few minutes to exchange passengers. it was pretty incredible to see the countryside as it changed from farm/beach land to rainforest/mountainside. San Ignacio is a sleepy little town that has few touristy things to offer, besides the multiples of guided tours for caves, ruins, rivers and mountains. we took advantage of one of the tours to a cave. we had done a little research about this cave, and the only thing I knew about it was that we had to swim into the entrance. ummmm. terrifying? yes. but for some reason, the sake of adventure got the best of me and I agreed. we signed up through our guesthouse and this morning met our tour guide at the front door. we have lucked out with traveling at the low season and could not believe that it was just the two of us for our full day tour. private tour? okay! we rode in a Isuzu SUV for an hour on the "highway" and then for another 30 minutes on the worst gravel road ever. we got to the entrance of the rainforest and started our 45 minute hike to the cave entrance, where I immediately saw my first ever real live tarantula (you know, not in a cage at the zoo) we got to the cave entrance and I was literally terrified. our guide was awesome, though, and talked me through the whole thing. there's something about swimming in deep, unknown water that literally freaks me the heck out. but I survived, doggie paddling and screaming included. we were in the cave for nearly three hours and saw the most incredible things we've ever seen. we climbed up and in rocks to get to the ancient Mayan ritual and sacrifice sites, where they would plead to the gods to bring them rain. we climbed even higher, away from the water we'd been swimming and walking in and saw the eeriest and most amazing human sacrifice remains. the final and most incredible remain was at the top, and reached by climbing a rickety ladder (ugh!) but it was well worth it, to see the "crystal maiden", a near perfectly preserved remain by the water that used to flow. in that part of the cave. it gave me the chills but was literally so amazing, I couldn't even fathom what we were seeing. it is so incredible that the country of Belize decided to turn the cave into a nature preserve and keep the many artifacts where they were found, instead of removing them as putting them in a museum. after a little apprehension about whether we chose the right tour or not, we couldn't believe our luck in choosing this cave! we only wish we could have gotten pictures but they have recently banned cameras due to stupid tourists. we are having a great time and will see another ruin (we walked to the one outside of the town last night and were pretty amazed) tomorrow morning before catching the bus again to dangriga, a southern coastal town where we'll stay for a few nights before moving on to the islands!
thanks for checking in, sorry for any typos-it's a little tricky doing a blog post from my phone and not having all the tools from the regular website.