Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Belize, Jan 31

Hello, everyone!

We're supposed to have rain and snow here in Wichita tomorrow and Thursday, oi. It's things like this that make me want to be back on my cruise, soaking up the brilliant sunshine and not having a care in the world.

With that in mind, it's time to review probably my favorite day of the entire cruise. What started as a sketchy and potentially icky day blossomed into one of the most wonderful days I think I've ever experienced.

Guys, I was actually considering NOT going on our cave tubing excursion in Belize (I know, right?). I was hung over after the previous evening's Booze-a-palooza, dreading the 20-minute ride on a smaller boat to Belize City and what cave tubing itself would do to my stomach. I was fully expecting to hurl chunks, but rallied!

{my friends on the tender to Belize City...this was the only point where I regretted going, but I soon felt better}
{good to have my feet on land}
We got to port and found our way to our tour group, ViV Tours. At first, they didn't have our group listed, though we'd made reservations, so they called our guide. Once he was there, we piled into vans and headed off on the long drive (a little over an hour). There were concerns raised that we wouldn't make it back to the port in time, but David, our guide, said he wasn't in the business of getting people back late. This dude was AWESOME! The whole drive to the tubing park and back he educated us on so many aspects of Belize. I didn't know they are taught English as a first language in school. 

Once we got to the park, we got geared up and started out on a trek through the jungle. We didn't have to carry our tubes like with other tour groups--they had taken them up the trail that morning.

{this is a hawt look}
While on the road to the park, David had said there'd be cliff jumping for any adventurous types. I initially thought, "Yeah freaking right. And break a bone while in another country? Pshaw." But, for reasons I don't know, when we got to the actual cliff, I immediately decided I wanted to do it. I'd jumped off stuff like this at our local lake, and this looked like SO much fun! (Spoiler: it was!)

{what's that?}
{oh, just cliff jumping. woo!}
After jumping into the refreshing water, we started our hike, which first went into a cave system.

{beautiful rays of light coming through the treetops}
{we're in a cave and totes awesome. word.}
After our hike, during which we learned about various plants in the forest, we arrived at the point where our tubes were waiting for us. From there, we got our tubes in the water, and David clipped them together. We saw other tour groups setting off from the same point as us. Some of the tubes didn't have head rests or were connected in a long line. I'm just glad we didn't have to carry our tubes down that whole trail.

{the view of the caves next to the starting point}
{ready to go after being clipped together on our tubes}
{hey there! let's go!}
{group photo!}
The first part of the trip down the river went through some dark caves. We used our headlamps to illuminate various features of the caves. Most of my digital photos turned out kind of dark/blurry, so I didn't add any here. We got to see some cool sights--there was a large log lodged into the ceiling of the cave that had found its way there during previous cave flooding. 

{tall trees}
{for real? this place was SO gorgeous!}
{King David leading our tube-flotilla, all while regaling us with facts and stories. He's amazing.}
{during the "relax" point of the trip. David told us to forget our troubles. "You're on vacation!"}
{seriously, these are the neatest trees!}
{before we left, a last photo of this beautiful place}
David drove us back to the port, all the way continuing with stories and such. He played this game with us where he sang his Belizian national anthem, and then we sang ours. Then we all sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."
{golden mountain? sun reflection?}
{awesome group photo}
{on the tender, waiting to head back to the Mariner}
{lighthouse on the way out of the port}
{we weren't the only ship in port that day. I think that was maybe the Carnival Magic?}
{hey there, Mariner!}
{when Jen and I got back, Rachel and Erika stayed behind. We got worried they didn't make it back to the ship in time. Turns out they were just at the bar, LOL}

I can't say enough how glad I was to make it to this part of the trip. And the tour company, ViV Tours, was AWESOME. $45 for a fabulous cave tubing experience with them versus $154 going with the cruise line cav tubing? Worth it! If you ever find yourself in Belize, book a cave tubing excursion through ViV Tours and request "King David Castle" David Castillo as a guide. You seriously will not be disappointed (and no, I'm not getting paid for these kind words. I had a marvelous time!). Here are some other reviews.


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