By day four we arrive at the bungalows and communal house at Pook’s Hill a 300-acre reserve and rain forest near the Maya Mountains, where our group geared up to canoe through Barton Creek Caves. Rainwater created underground rivers and carved cave systems that were inhabited by deities and Mayan ancestors. In Mayan culture, caves (actuns) were a portal to the gods of the underworld and are where sacred rituals and sacrifices occurred. Skeletons, footprints, pottery, and cathedral ceilings are discovered in Belize’s 250 cave systems.
Belize City is not the capital but richly represents the pulse of the country—it’s also a hub for island-hoppers. The country is bookended by Mexico and Guatemala and is two hours south of Miami. English is the official language though Spanish is widely spoken by its 320,000 residents. At the Belize Legacy Beach Resort the cedar and mahogany condos are appointed with the modern comforts city dwellers relish, and destination treats such as deep-sea excursions, aromatic spas, and fine dining by head chef Rafael Valdez.
Activities such as snorkeling in Shark Ray Alley in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve allow brave souls to pet and feed stingrays and Nurse sharks. Nightfall lures sleepless souls to Wet Willy’s in San Pedro Town, where two strong drinks of rum and the rhythmic sounds of crickets serve as a relaxant. I enjoy a sound sleep ready to wake to a new adventure with nature. Visit www.travelbelize.org to research other attractions in Belize.
This story originally appeared in the March 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.