This post could have been titled 'You Better Belize It', but it isn't.
Mayan Ruins: Cahal Pech
We ventured as far inland as we will go this trip to San Ignacio, roughly 30 miles from the Belizean/Guatemalan border. We traversed dirt roads until we stumbled upon the archeological site, Cahal Pech, hidden just above the city.
The ruins were impressive, revealing many intact rooms where the more respected societal members would reside. The Mayans buildings were structured in a literal representation of hierarchy in which the lowest level was a plaza for peasants to come and sell crops and goods to the upper class in markets and the highest level was the housing for the god-like king of the city.
The number nine was also influential in the building process, representative of the nine dark lords of the Mayan underworld. There were nine steps to enter the main entry to the ruins and nine initial rooms on the front face of the entry way. The doorways and bedplaces were relatively tiny, inferring that Mayans were small people. Most of them had to be shorter than 5'6" to fit through the doorways comfortably.
"Yes, [I liked the ruins]," said Ashley Erickson, a junior on the trip.
The peak of the visit was the top of the king's pyramid. The stairs were very steep to ensure every climber was 'bowing' to the king as he ascended.
Horseback Riding: Outback Ranch
I'm guessing the Ranch was named 'Outback' because the owner was from Australia. But that is not an ofiicial statement.
We boarded horses, and ventured deep into the thick caribbean pine forest. Some of us were nervous, but a few gallops and machete chops later, we all made it back in one piece, glad we had a chance to see a crocodile infested pond.
When we weren't riding, we had the opportunity to explore the other parts of the ranch. The place was self sustainable, and we got to pet piggies and hold baby goatlets.
Down By the River
We found a little extra time in our day to explore the local area around Monkey Bay. Following the dirt road into the forest, we discovered a well-appreciated swimming hole. Sharing with the locals, we basked in all its glory before returning to Monkey Bay for our last night in the tents.