One of the major highlights of our stay in the San Ignacio area was cave tubing with our guide Carlos, who we booked through k’atun ahaw tours. Carlos picked us up right on time at the gate to our lodge. It was pretty incredible how the area changed from “local” Belize to a tourist area as we pulled up to the site. Based on what Carlos was telling us, we were very happy that we went on a day the cruise ships weren’t in port. We practically had the entire place to ourselves.
After getting our tubes, helmets and headlamps, we took off on a short, easy hike to the mouth of the cave. Along the way Carlos pointed out different trees and vegetation around us. And then he made us eat live termites. Ok, he didn’t MAKE us, but honestly I can’t say no to a new experience (Even if it means eating a live bug). He spotted a large termite colony that he then knocked on and out came thousands of crawling, definitely alive, termites. Carlos touched his hand to the colony and was soon covered. Russ, Carlos and I all grabbed one of the little bugs. After learning the proper termite eating strategy from Carlos, we all pinched our appetizer and squished him right in between our front teeth. Surprisingly it tasted minty! So lesson #1 for the day – termites are high in protein, readily available in the jungle, and a refreshing treat.
If reading that last paragraph made you hungry for a tasty termite, check out this article about eating termites in Belize.
After our snack, we continued on until we reached the opening of a cave. We went inside, exploring the depths of the caves and meeting some bat friends along the way. Deep inside the cave, we turned off our headlamps and experienced true dark. It was so dark and so pitch black, I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. The temperature in the cave was drastically cooler than outside, which led me to ask Carlos why the ancient Mayans (pre-AC – the #1 invention of all time) didn’t live in caves to stay cool. He explained that the Mayans believed that the caves led to the underworld, which is also why human sacrifices were made as deep into the caves as people could reach.
I chose not to be sacrificed and we continued on our way. It wasn’t too much longer until we reached the mouth of the cave. Other than the three of us, there was a group of four we could see getting in the water. That was it. And if you know me and Russ, we’re not a fan of crowds. So needless to say it was a perfect day for tubing!
We spent some time swimming and skipping rocks outside the mouth of the cave. The water was crystal clear – you could see straight to the bottom. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such clear water in my life.