Sunday, May 4, 2008

Cave Tubing

On Thursday we went cave tubing in the Caves Branch River. Despite visiting Belize as tourists multiple times and now living here for over a year, we’d never been cave tubing even though it’s one of the most popular tourist activities in Belize. Every time we talked about doing it, somebody always came up with a different activity, and people here who know us were always sort of non-committal when we asked about doing it.

Finally, a month or so ago, we were contacted by a friend of our good friends Del and Vicky. The friend, June, planned to go on a cruise that was stopping in Belize, and she wondered if we could get together. We found out that their Belize activity was cave tubing, so we jumped on the opportunity to meet June and Mark and to do something in Belize that we hadn’t done before. We had a blast, meeting June and Mark and the friends that were with them, but cave tubing was the most un-Belize thing we’ve done in Belize. We’re used to going to the “tourist traps” around here, and we frequently have them all to ourselves. If a dozen people are at Big Rock at one time, we think it’s crowded. At Caves Branch, we saw more people than we’ve seen in one place since we’ve been in Belize.

Buses and buses and buses full of cruise ship passengers kept pulling into the parking lot, and there was a steady line of tubers carrying their tubes on the path to the river entry.

In the river, we were hooked feet to shoulders in rafts of a dozen tubes each, and the rafts were pulled by the guides. The guides made a good effort to teach the tourists about some of the flora and fauna we passed both on the trail to the river, and as we floated down the river, but it was impossible to hear them because of the high buzz of conversation.

Nonetheless, floating through the very large caves in an inner tube is pretty neat and the insides of the caves are beautiful. And, you can go to Caves Branch on days when the cruise ships aren’t in Belize and avoid most of the crowds, which is what we’d advise doing unless, like us, you’re meeting someone from a cruise ship. In that case, it’s the perfect activity!

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