24 Jun Belize: Snakes, Tarantulas, Iguanas and Mayans
If you have a problem with bugs or lizards, the Belizean jungle may not be the best place to go – but we had a great time seeing these cool creatures (thanks Animal Planet). Last Friday was spent mostly at Black Rock Lodge, doing activities on their property, including a hike to the top of the hill, tubing on the river and a night hike to look at all the stuff that comes out at night. One of those animals was one of the most venomous snakes in Belize, the “fer de lance” — luckily none of us is particularly scared of snakes, since Andrew was obsessed with snakes when he was younger and we all had to get used to them. However, Brandon is scared of spiders, and our hiking guide decided he was going to help Brandon get over his fear. So he found a tarantula, and actually convinced Brandon to first touch it, then hold it – he was very brave! We saw a few more night creatures, including a very well camouflaged bird, scorpions, and various insects.
The next day we started out with a trip to the weekly market in San Ignacio. It was very colorful in a variety of ways. Lots of produce, clothing and crafts. Also, lots of people from different backgrounds, showing the diversity of Belize. We stopped at one shop and bought a couple of items:
After the market, we went to the Belize Iguana Project at the San Ignacio Resort hotel – they do tours every hour, and it was a very hands on experience. They started by showing us the larger iguanas, once they reach full size, they release them into the wild. We started with feeding them, and we could hold and touch them — one of them decided that Andrew was tasty!
When we went in to see the baby iguanas, they had one that had been born the day before, very tiny. We got to hold the older ones (anywhere 3 to 10 months old) and Brandon held a bunch of them all at once!
After the iguanas, we headed to the Mayan archeological site that is just down the road from San Ignacio. My favorite guide on this part of the trip is Edgar Avila 501 624-2415 (a Belize number so you have to dial 011 from the US) – we met him at Xunantunich, where he offered to be our guide. This site has the second tallest pyramid in the Mayan world, known as El Castillo, or the castle. Edgar was very knowledgeable and helped us understand what we were seeing, including the numerology used by the Maya, the legends and why they built on high ground. We also hired him to guide us at the cave tubing which we would be doing on Monday – more on that later.