Mayan ruins Xunantunich in Belize

Mainland Round 2

For our second day off Rocky and I decided to head back to San Ignacio, but this time we were accompanied by our roommate Jessica Fry (whose birthday was the following day) and some fun jumper friends visiting from Colorado- Derek and Meghan Evilsizor. We took the last water taxi over to Belize City, picked up the rental suv, crammed all five of us in, put on some tunes and made the hour and a half drive in the dark out to the same place we stayed last time we were on the mainland: The Parrot Nest Lodge.

We got into San Ignacio around 8pm and decided to try out a local restaurant for dinner before heading to the lodge over in nearby Bullet Tree Falls. I pulled out my trusty Lonely Planet: Belize book and we settled on Ko-ox Han-nah (the name of the restaurant means “let’s go eat” which I thought was cute). Dinner was amazing! I wish I would have remembered to take photos (sometimes I’m such a bad blogger) but Rocky had lamb curry and it was fantastic! I had a veggie quesadilla and I gobbled it right up! I let the waitstaff know that it was Jessica’s birthday and they brought her a delectable cheesecake and sang her happy birthday, it was a great way to start our adventure!

We awoke the next morning to the sound of the jungle (also a rooster started crowing around 4am, but I strangely found it comforting) and enjoyed our coffee and breakfast in the main living area of the lodge while listening to the sound of the river nearby.

Rocky and Jessica with the chubby cat at Parrot Nest Lodge

First on the docket was to see some Mayan ruins, so we piled back in the suv and headed south west to Xunantunich. On the way there we had to cross a river on a hand cranked ferry-it was so much fun!

Taking the ferry over to Xunantunich, Rocky hand cranking the ferry over.

Ferry over to Xunantunich in Belize

Ferry over to Xunantunich in Belize

We arrived before the crowds did and so we got to take in the beauty and awesomeness of the ruins relatively on our own. I have never seen any form of ruins before and for me they were so interesting and awe striking! It was weird standing in a place that you knew others had stood way before you had, and climbing up buildings that were built over a thousand years ago!

Next we were headed to St. Herman’s Blue Hole and Cave, on the way back towards Belize City on the Western Highway. On the way there we made a quick pit stop for lunch at a quaint local place off the side of the highway where Derek enjoyed a favorite local dish- cow foot soup. I was too shy to try it so Rocky and I just split the staple dish of Belize- Stewed chicken with beans and rice and a plantain.

Cow foot soup on the left and stewed chicken on right.

St. Herman’s cave is one of the few caves in the Cayo district that can be explored without a guide. We made the short but gorgeous hike over to the cave mouth (the mountains are so pretty here!) and started our decent into the cave. We all sorts of rock formations and even spotted a cave spider chilling on the wall. I slipped in the mud on the floor and we all enjoyed the cool water running through the lowest part of the cave. I don’t know what it is about caves, maybe the cool temperatures or the silence and darkness but I find them fascinating. Unfortunately we didn’t see any bats 😦 I love bats! But we did see some tiny birds swooping around by the cave entrance.

On the hike to St. Herman’s Cave through the mountains.

Jess, Derek, Meghan, and me posing in front of the cave.

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St. Herman's Cave in Belize

St. Herman’s Cave in Belize

Afterward we hiked back to the parking lot and headed over to the blue hole (the other blue hole- a naturally occurring cenote that flows into the cave). We got into our bathing suits, made a short hike down the hill, and jumped into the chilly but refreshing water of the cenote. Little fish nibbled at my ankles as we swam around and enjoyed the current which pulled us down towards another opening to St. Herman’s cave. We had fun making echoes in the cave and lounging around in the blue water.

A hand drawn map our host at Parrot Nest Lodge gave us and the Blue Hole Sign.

All too soon our day off was over and we had to head back to Belize City to catch the last water taxi home to San Pedro. Days off have been few so far but they also have been pretty epic! Can’t wait to see what the next one will bring! Thanks to Jess for sharing her birthday adventure with us and Derek and Meghan for sharing part of their vacation! Rocky and I had a fantastic time!

Rocky and I on the water taxi home and on the car ride back to Belize City.

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