Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ari, Cara, Talia, Carin, & Mach

Our last guests were a family of five from Georgia. They took off on vacation the day after the three girls, Ari, Cara, and Talia, got out of school and headed for Belize for a surf and turf vacation. They decided to spend the first part of the trip inland, which Tom and I endorse since the “turf” part of the vacation usually requires a little more physical exertion, and it’s nice to do all the physical stuff and then relax by the seaside.

The rented a car, which provided them with a lot more flexibility and allowed them to do things like head into San Ignacio for dinner for a few of the nights they were here so they could experience a little bit more of the tastes of Belize than what you get when you’re basically stranded out here in the jungle. The first day they were here, we took them on a horseback ride from here to Big Rock Falls, with Nicole, Joe’s daughter, as our guide. Nicole shared a ton of information about the jungle and life in Belize, and it was interesting to me to go on a tour with a girl guide who had a lot more insight than most of the men about how many of the plants in the jungle were used in cooking traditional Maya and Belizean dishes. After a nice ride through the jungle and the Pine Ridge, we arrived at a very muddy Big Rock, where everybody declined the chance to swim in water that looked like coffee. We still enjoyed the scenery and lunch at the falls, before Nicole, Tom, and I ponied and rode the horses home, while Mach, Carin, and the girls took off to tour the Mountain Pine Ridge in their car which Tom had delivered to Big Rock for them.

The next day they all headed to ATM with Carlos and Selmo, with Gonzo driving since he’d broken his toe over the weekend and wasn’t able to go in the cave. It’s been raining quite a lot here lately, so we weren’t even certain they’d be able to go in the cave, but while the water was high, everybody managed to do it. We saw Carlos a few days later, and when he told us exactly how high the water was, we were very impressed that everybody was able to do the whole tour, especially Ari who is only 12 and not very big. Carlos said there were places where the water was up to his chest, which would have put it over Ari’s head, and her sisters and mother are all very slim and not overly tall, so it was an impressive feat that everybody did the whole trip.

On their final day here, they did the self guided tour of Caracol. We went over the whole routine the night before to make sure they knew about all the bends in the road, meeting the convoy, touring the site, and making the stop at Rio On Pools on the way home. Our information must have been good because they made it there and back just fine, and were glad that they had elected to do it on their own and save the amount it would have cost for five of them to go on one of the standard guided tours. We’re always a little hesitant about telling people to go without a guide because there are a few different places where it could be inconvenient or even dangerous to get confused, and while 37 miles, the distance from here to Caracol, may not seem like a long way, it’s 37 miles from here to nowhere and if you have any trouble and you’ve somehow missed the convoy, you’re on your own. Mach was diligent however, and made sure he knew exactly what to expect and what he needed to do, and we were very comfortable sending them off on their own.

The next morning they took off early to go to the Zoo before dropping the rental car in Belize City and then heading out to Caye Caulker. They took our advice on not trusting the Caye Caulker Water Taxi (or any water taxi association, for that matter) to heart, and zip-tied all of the zippers on their bags – a very good idea that we will be passing along to all of our guests and using ourselves. We hope they had a good time on the reef and didn’t let a little bit of rain get in the way of their vacation!

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