For some reason I have always wanted to go to Belize. To me, it has always sounded like a faraway land, even though their official language is English and Belize City is just a two and a half hour plane ride from Houston.
Being in the airline industry, I have the opportunity to travel pretty much anywhere (if there are open seats), so in order to commemorate my 25th birthday I decided to jump on a Houston-bound plane and try to catch the first flight to Belize City.
I had done a little research beforehand, emphasis being on little, and knew exactly the place I wanted to go for my long weekend birthday gateway. Since my summer body wasn’t (and still isn’t) ready I opted out of the beaches, cays, and diving that other Americans flock to Belize for.
No, I had another place in mind.
Actun Tunichil Muknal is a cave in Western Belize that was used by the Mayans for various purposes and was named by National Geographic as number one of the top ten sacred caves . The cave is riddled with various Mayan artifacts including skeletons. I happen to love anything spooky so I knew this was exactly what I wanted to do in Belize.
The tour itself was no joke – at least for me, somebody whose only exercise is walking through the airport. You have to hike through the rainforest and cross various rivers to access the cave, which seemed great until my tour guide mentioned venomous snakes that live in the rainforest.
After arriving at the entrance of the cave and donning our helmets equipped with flashlights, we were ready to swim and climb through the cave system. At some point you do have to take your shoes off and do part of the climbing in your socks in order to help preserve the cave system and artifacts. When inside the cave, I had never experienced darkness like when we all shut off our flashlights – pitch black.
Even though this was more physically demanding than I thought I am so glad this is how I decided to celebrate my quarter century on earth.
For anyone traveling to Belize this is a good way to step off the beaten path and see a very interesting part of history. The tour was easily booked through my hotel in San Ignacio.
The downside, I should mention, is you can’t capture any of this beauty and history on film because cameras are prohibited inside the cave. So, you’ll just have to trust me when I say this was one of the most beautiful excursions I’ve taken.
By Kristina B, a full time flight attendant and textbook Aquarius. She doesn’t like to work therefore she takes every opportunity to travel to whatever place pops into her mind!