I awoke early to the sounds of the jungle birds at Caves Branch Jungle Lodge. It was early, but I didn’t mind. I lay with my eyes closed for 30 minutes and just relaxed. Breakfast was similar to yesterday, served buffet style with a choice off eggs, fresh fruit, cereal, potatoes and pancakes. Delicious!
At 9 o’clock on the top I met my tours guides, Edgar and Darryl for the River of Caves tour, another popular choice for guests of all ages. Today my group was made up of a family of four from Boston with two curious seven year olds and a mother and daughter from Maine. The tour began with a short bus rain through the orange groves. Great mountain views greeted us with a few clouds in the sky, but otherwise sunny and beautiful. We received a tube and a headlamp, our tools for the day. Dressed in a pair of running shoes, shorts and a tank top I was ready for whatever challenge greeted me in the river. We sat in our tubes and slowly paddled upriver for about 10 minutes until we reached the mouth of the cave. This proved to be an excellent photo opportunity. The sun shone on the vines that hung from the jungle canopy and cast a soft shadow on the wall of the cave. Once everyone had captured the beauty on film we switched on our headlamps and slowly paddled into the darkness. We were greeted by fruit and insect bats, slowly gliding through the cave and pack to a perch on the wall. Stalagmite and stalactites were beautiful and name for their physical appearance. Some shone like diamonds, others cast an eery glow while our lights shone past them. The guides joked about seeing an eight foot scorpion spider, which turns out is a slightly larger than a daddy long legs spider with eight legs.
We paddled to an area of the river that was low due to the rainy season and stacked our tubes. We climbed up about 30 feet into the air and admired the beauty from above. At one point we sat in a circle around an old Mayan fire pit where some ancient pottery was stacked. We all turned off our headlamps and sat and listened to the sounds of the caves. We heard the water running below where a new current was running as well as the faint sounds of bats in the distance. Some areas of the cave were low and required us to carefully hunch down until we reached an open area, which appeared to be a ceremonial site. The guides shone their headlamps onto various rock formations showing us how the ancient Mayans had done picture shows with shadows
I arrived back at Caves Branch and tidied up my bags before heading up to the main lodge. I spoke with some of the staff and thanked them very much for the excellent opportunity to be a part of their experience for the past two days. It was such a treat.
Late afternoon I took a shuttle from Caves Branch to Dangriga. We travelled though the mountains, shopping once at a Mennonite roadside stand to pick up the most delightful chocolate chip cookies. We arrived at the boat dock and took the 45 minute journey across to Thatch Caye Resort.
I am in Cabana #1, which was decorated with fresh flowers on the king-size bed and in the three piece bathroom. After quickly changing clothes I went to the main palapa to enjoy a pre dinner snack of nachos. The bar area was busy with other guests telling stories of their snorkeling and diving adventures of the day.
I sat down to dinner in the thatch roof dining room, while some of the other guests ate in the screened in open air dining room, and it was served in three courses. The first course was a lovely garden salad with a citris vinaigrette sauce. The second course was grilled zuchinni, rice and beans. The third course, an apple crisp served with cream and star fruit.
After dinner, I sat and chatted with some guests and staff before walking back to my cabana. It was a clear night and the stars were beautiful. I sat in a hammock for a few moments and the wind blew evenly. As I headed to sleep, the breeze was steady and refreshing as it blew through the open window. The wall fan is also doing its part to cool the room. The temperature is pleasant. Tonight I will drift off to sleep with the sounds of waves washing into shore and the light wind.Contact Thatch Caye for more information or to book your upcoming vacation by calling 1-800-435-3145
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