This past weekend we headed out to Belmopan. On Friday evening we attended an 80's party in honor of our soon to be leaving training director. It seemed as though the girls were the only people who took the theme seriously, but with some fun music and yummy treats to eat, it was easy to look past the outrageous hairstyles and ridiculous outfits (people were amazed at what they found in the local thrift stores. Everything from stretchy pants to the clasic 80's mickey mouse tshirts). We had lots of fun catching up with other volunteers from around the country, and also had some time to say some see ya laters to our trusty training director as she prepared to head back to the states.
Some PCVs showing off their 80's attire
Guest of honor, our departing PC Training Director
Us with Elva, our training director
On Saturday a small group of PCVs and staff traveled out to Jaguar Paw Resort (about 25 minutes east of Belmopan). Jaguar Paw is a luxury resort situated deep in the jungle of belize. The resort has 16 individual cabanas which cost around 200USD per night, slightly out of our budget :)
One of the resident howler monkeys at Jaguar Paw
Getting psyched up before heading out to the course
We spent the day at Jaguar Paw ziplining through the rainforest canopy and cave tubing crystal caves. The aerial zipline was through a series of 8 platforms all of varying heights and distances apart.
Zipping down the longest line (300 feet!)
Ginnie makes easy work out of the high platform
Just like riding a bike, but a lot more exciting!
It looks relaxing, but it's really a lot of work...and all fun.
The highest platform was about 90 feet in the air and the longest cable run was almost three hundred feet. We had an amazing time zipping through the jungle (although it was pretty difficult to see much of anything in terms of wildlife, it was fun nonetheless). After ziplining we had a typical Belizean lunch of stew chicken with rice and beans (something neither one of us had eaten since we left our last host family. It's strange how the rice and beans becomes an almost daily love/hate relationship). After lunch we headed out into the bush once again, hiking approximately 25 minutes out to crystal caves.
The entrance to crystal caves
Exiting the caves. The water is an amazing azure color that reflects all of the jungle colors and shear rock structures around
The last glimpse of sunlight as we enter the cave
We donned headlamps and hopped into large inflated tire tubes (dump truck I think) then prepared for our trip down the river through the caves. Although many claimed the water to be quite cold, we found it relatively mild compared to the Atlantic in New England (that was until we entered the cave and the sunshine disappeared into the darkness...only then did the water become a lee bit chilly). You'd think cool water would be a welcome relief in the heat of Belize, but being as we have sort of adjusted quite quickly to what we now deem as being cold, it was pretty darn chilly. We lay in our tubes and paddled and swayed with the current for about an hour through the cave. During the trip we had the opportunity to see a lot of cool things throughout the cave (bats, stalactites, inner chambers, cool rock formations, and more). Those of you planning a visit down to Belize should definitely check out these activities. Belize is actually full of intricate cave systems, many of which are available for cavetubing and include many opportunities for all types of adventurers. As the day at Jaguar Paw ended, we headed back to the western highway to catch the bus, and dreamt of a warm soft bed and a long night's sleep.