This past Thursday Rocky and I were finally able to take a day off to make a last minute trip out to the mainland of Belize! We had been looking forward to this since before we even moved here in November, so needless to say we were pretty exited!!! We hopped on the last San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi for the day on Wednesday evening and took a relaxing hour and a half trip over to Belize City. We had been trying to rent a car for that evening through the next day but by the time we arrived all of the car rental companies were closed. We were trying to figure out another method of transportation when I decided to ask a local if he knew of a place that we could rent a car that was still open. He called someone up and about 15 minutes later we were being picked up! I thought the car was probably gonna be an old beater or something, but I was pleasantly surprised when a super nice Jeep Patriot pulled up. Less then a half hour later, after filling out paperwork and what not, we were on our way out to San Ignacio on the Western Highway! To put it mildly we were super stoked!!!
Driving on the Western Highway in Belize
We decided to stay at a tree house lodge just outside of San Ignacio called The Parrot Nest. It is located about 10 minutes NW of San Ignacio in the smaller town of Bullet Tree Falls. We arrived later in the evening but the owner was super sweet and hooked us up with a beautiful little tree house to stay the night in. The room was so cozy and had a wonderful tropical feel to it! We drank a couple celebratory beers and then went to sleep.
The tree house we stayed the night in
In the morning we awoke to the wonderful cacophony of bird sounds and what we thought was rain falling on the roof (it turned out just to be dew, it’s so humid here that there’s a crazy amount of moisture in the air). It was magical to say the least. I looked out the windows at the dense fog surrounding and obscuring the jungle we were in, it was gorgeous!
The tree house at the Parrot Nest Lodge and Rocky and I being silly as usual! Also he just hates when I take his picture, but I force him to lol.
I would have loved to spend all day cuddled up in that bed with Rocky and exploring the lodges tranquil grounds but we wanted to spend that day cave tubing and zip lining so we reluctantly packed up and headed over to the main area of the lodge to grab breakfast and coffee before hitting the road again.
An old motorbike on the grounds
The gorgeous Parrot Nest Lodge!
We went to Nohoch Che’en Caves Branch Archaeological Reserve and picked up an awesome tour guide Juan Hernandez. We started with zip lining – neither Rocky nor I had done it before and both of us were super excited about it! They geared us up and we hiked a short way up to the first line. Rocky went before me and when they were hooking me to the line I was a little nervous. As soon as I jumped off the platform all my nerves went away- it felt like I was flying through the trees, I loved it!
We did nine lines in total – one that was 1000ft long and we also got to cross an awesome wobbly line bridge (we felt like we were in Indiana Jones lol). I would definitely recommend zip lining to anyone visiting Belize!
More zip lining and the flag of Belize
Next we drove a little farther into the reserve to where the cave tubing was. We grabbed tubes, life jackets, and helmets with headlamps attached to them and started hiking out to the caves. Along the way Juan pointed out numerous trees and plants and told us all about them, which ones were edible (we tried a few and they were delicious), which were poisonous, and which had healing properties. Juan also showed us a termite nest and tried to get me and Rocky to eat them (Rocky did eat them and unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of it). We walked through two dry caves and saw a lot of little bats (I love bats!!!!) and some cool formations.
The dry caves and a “plastic” leaf.
We arrived at the river and jumped in to cool off before floating. Then we climbed up into our tubes and floated into the first cave. It was awesome! We saw lots of stalagmites, stalactites, ribbons, and bat holes! We also saw some beautiful crystal quartz which glittered like crazy! Juan told us all about the history of the caves as well as how the Mayans used them for sacrificial offerings, it was very interesting!
The entrance to the river, Rocky and our guide Juan, and Rocky and I looking ridiculous in our cave tubing gear.
We floated out and through the jungle for a couple minutes and then into cave number two. This one was even more spectacular then the first! It had a few little waterfalls in it and Juan let us walk around a little on the raised part of the cave floor as well as drink the cool water that flowed out of the waterfall. It was spectacular!
After we came out of the cave we enjoyed the 10 minute jungle flat back to where we started the adventure from. It was all absolutely amazing!!! Cave tubing was even better then zip ling but they were both an epic adventure that I’ll never forget!
Floating the river
After cave tubing we had to head back to Belize City to drop off the car and catch the last water taxi back to San Pedro. We were super sad to be done with our vacation so quickly (we were on the mainland just shy of 24 hours) but we were also still so elated from our wonderful day spent in Belize! I honestly think it was one of the best days of both of our lives. I can’t wait to go have more adventures on the mainland!
Rocky and I with our awesome guide Juan at the reserve and Rocky and I outside the tree house