Caracol, Cave’s Branch Outpost and Sea Trekking Belize — A Review

Cave's Branch area has some of the most desirable real estate in Belize

white water rapids on the famous Cave’s Branch River

Article Preview By David Gobeil

Freelance writer Cindy Ross recently paid a visit to Belize to check what all the fuss regarding the “Mayan end of the world” is all about. During her time in Belize she visited the remote, ancient Mayan pyramids of Caracol in the Cayo District, went cave-tubing on the Cave’s Branch River at the Cave’s Branch Outpost, and “sea trekked” beneath the waves with a big fiberglass he3lmet covering her head.

Ross interest in Belize was piqued when she read that the Mayan calender, which began on Aug. 11, 3114 B.C (5,125 years ago!), also known as the “Long Count” is ending this year on December 21st.

She quotes local archeologist Dr. Awe, “It’s very much the way most people would look at the end of one year and the beginning of another, but over a very, very long period of time. It is a time for reflection, and for considering future direction.”, meaning the Mayan’s don’t really consider this the end of the world, just the beginning of a “new era”.

During her stay at Caracol she partook in an early morning ritual with Mayan shamans and priestesses who burned aromatic herbs and spices harvested from the surrounding rainforest on a roaring fire while prayers and gratitude was conveyed to the Mayan gods.

At Cave’s Branch Outpost she ziplined over the jungle canopy before riding a large inner-tube down the Cave’s Branch River through dark caves and white-water rapids.

Finally on San Pedro she donned a 65 pound fiberglass and plexiglass helmet with an air hose attached to it before plunging 12 feet beneath the waves for an underwater “walkabout” amongst the fishes and coral.

She also says the simple, slow pace of life on the island, including riding a “beach cruiser” style bicycle and interacting with the locals was a highlight of her trip to Belize.

Here is the beginning of the article, and you can read the story at it’s source here:




CARACOL, BELIZE—As soon as we exit the jeep and enter the jungle, howler monkeys squawk high in the palms. Weaver birds zip by with grass in their mouths. Massive banyans engulf neighbouring trees with their strangling vines. Humongous ferns spring from the jungle floor. And in the distance, the stone pyramids of Belize’s Caracol rise out of the greenery as if they, too, are struggling for light above the canopy.

I am in another world, the Mayan world. Not much has changed over the last 600 years, except the passing of time. My friend Steve and I are here to celebrate this, as Dec. 21, 2012 will mark the end of the Mayan calendar and the beginning of a new age. What better place to consider the future of our planet than by spending time with the spirits of the Mayans, and their descendants today.

To climb up the 130-foot pyramid, Sky Place, I step high, lifting one foot at a time. It is steep. Sweat pours from my skin with the speed of water gushing out of a faucet. From the crown, the view of the Belizian mountains is spectacular. A breeze wicks my dripping skin. Human sacrifices were regularly held up here, the victim’s heart gouged out while still alive and then the bodies thrown down the steps, their vivid blood dying the white limestone red.

Down below in the grass courtyard, our tents are set up. In the early morning, I will take part in a more humane celebration with Mayan shamans and priestesses. A fire containing aromatic herbs and spices, gathered from the forest will be burned while prayers are said, requests are pleaded for, and thanks are conveyed to the Mayan gods.

Solstices and equinoxes have always been extremely important to the Mayan people, but this year especially holds special significance. Their calendar is ending. It is the end of the Long Count — a 5,125-year period, which began on Aug. 11, 3114 B.C. and will end on a winter solstice.

Perhaps not so much an end, modern reasoning has claimed, but the beginning of a new era for humanity. As Belizean archaeologist, Dr. Awe said, “It’s very much the way most people would look at the end of one year and the beginning of another, but over a very, very long period of time. It is a time for reflection, and for considering future direction.”

Throughout Mexico and Central America (Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico), you can participate in memorable Mayan ceremonies, learn from archeologists, become cleansed by shamans, get to know the warm and gracious Mayas of today and make a serious memory in your own life history.

Read the rest of the article at it’s source.