Iguanas, and Monkeys, and Jaguars! Oh My!

Hello Friends! Time flies when you are having fun, and it is amazing that we are already on our fifth day here in Belize! Up until now, we have been without internet but we should stay connected throughout the remainder of the trip.

Since our arrival in Belize we have been staying at the Nubatunich Resort in the Western Cayo district. We could not have asked for better weather on our first day, which was warm and sunny with clear blue skies! From our resort we were able to hike up to the Xunantunich Mayan Ruins, which borders Guatemala. We had about an hour to walk around the ruins and explored the many buildings and temple. Although the stairs were steep we were able to climb to the top of the temple and look out over the vast expanse, of both Belize and Guatemala! It was beautiful, but many stomachs were flipping because of the height. Our day was concluded by the alarming sound of 2 Howler Monkey's high up in the trees! I am not sure what they were talking about, but it sure sounded heated!

Our second day started off with a great breakfast of Fry Jacks! These yummy treats tasted as if they were made of funnel cake batter and the flavor only improved by adding eggs and beans. Conveniently, our tour guide was also named Fry Jack, and he led us on an adventure of cave tubing and zip lining! During our cave tubing excursion we learned about Chuc, the Mayan rain God. Mayans often altered large rocks, to make them appear as faces. These rocks would mark the beginning and end of caves that are believed to have been used for sacrifices. From the inside of one cave we were instructed to turn off our head lamps, which allowed us to see a stone image of the Mayan rain God, illuminated by the cave opening.

Day three consisted of a long drive and a boat ride to Lamanai, one of the larger Mayan ruins. On our tour we were again able to climb to the top of the Rain God's temple, this one even taller than the first! After a day full of activity and driving, we returned to Nubatunich for an intriguing conversation with Santiago, the resort owner. While discussing the reality of eco-tourism in Belize, Santiago expressed his distaste of our need for internet and other luxurious necessities. Eco-tourism started off with the idea of creating minimal waste, sleeping in barns and experiencing nature in its raw form. From then to now, these practices have changed a lot. Waste output has slowly been increasing as amenities such as TVs, hot showers, and air conditioning have become expected. As a result, Santiago emphasized the need to reduce our footprint as much as possible, both here in Belize and back home. Only by doing this, will these adventures continue to be around for generations to come.

Until next time! 

Xunantunich Mayan Ruins
A baby howler monkey snacks on leaves in the trees.
Madeline Bouslog '17, Deric Kalb '19, Caleb TeeGarden '19, Brooke Stauffer '17, and Jeff Boeke prepare for a zip lining adventure through the canopy.