If there’s one other thing I’ve been doing in Mexico, apart from cooling off in the lovely cenotes, it’s working up a sweat wandering round the many Maya ruins. I thought Belize was well-represented in that department, having been to six of them (including the two biggest, Caracol and Lamanai). But Mexico has about ten major ruins, and tens of smaller sites. Continue reading
Less than four months after visiting The Land of Eternal Spring for the first time, I’m back for another bite of the Guatemalan cherry. I’ve decided to revisit the eastern Petén department, as not only is it the closest one to where I live in central Belize, but it’s covered in jungle and full of Maya ruins (only one of which – Tikal, the most famous – have I explored).
Despite living in Belize for three years (and despite spending most of that time living less than 150 km from the Belize-Guatemala border), I’ve never been to Guatemala. Shameful, I know. I’ve not even popped across to Melchor for the shopping (regular readers may know, from a previous post, that Belize has such limited shopping options that the locals are forced to go abroad!). I’ve been to Mexico four times (which, ironically, is further away), but not once have I visited the only other country that borders Belize. Until now, that is – having seen just about everywhere in Belize (everywhere I want to visit, that is), it’s time to finally see The Land of Eternal Spring. Continue reading
As I mentioned in my last post, as pretty and quiet and relaxing as the progressive Mennonite village of Blue Creek is, there isn’t very much to do there (to be honest, there isn’t really anything to do there). But there is a large Maya ruin south-west of the village at La Milpa, and that’s where my travelling companion Maki and I ended up on Sunday afternoon. I promised I’d post the details of that day (and some of you may already know that it didn’t go entirely to plan); and here they are. Continue reading
The six ruins that I’ve described in the previous posts are the ones that I’ve seen. But my list doesn’t include the other fifteen-plus ruins that are mentioned in the guidebooks or on the internet. And those twenty-something sites are just the ones that are tourist-ready – they’ve been discovered, excavated, mapped (at least partially), and named. There are countless others in the country, known only to locals or historians, unexcavated and unexplored, except by adventurous locals or looters. And there may be tens, or hundreds, more, lost in the jungle, undiscovered, unnamed, and untouched. Continue reading
Of the other ruins that I’ve seen, they all have something worth visiting for, but in my opinion, none of them are must-sees like Caracol and Lamanai. Continue reading
Lamanai is in Belize’s north, about 40 kilometres south of Orange Walk town. Like Caracol, it’s in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by jungle. It’s also on a long dirt road (although there are several small villages along the way, so the area isn’t quite as deserted as the road to Caracol). You can drive yourself, but the much better option is to join a tour from Orange Walk – not only do you get the previously mentioned benefits of the tour guide, but, instead of going overland, the trip is done there and back on the New River, a welcome alternative to the ‘road’ (notice the ironic quotation marks), and one of the best river trips in Belize. Continue reading