|Belize in a Breeze - Bring Your Camera|
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Bring Your Camera
We decided to return to Belize this year with new goals in mind other than only fishing. This time, we also wanted to learn about the Mayan ruins that cover the landscape. As an archeologist in the late 1970s and early 80s, this particularly perked my interest. Flourishing as a civilization in Central America from about 2,000 BC to 1,000 AD, the Maya Indians built great temples, crafted technologically advanced artifacts, pottery and tools, created a working calendar, and carved their stories on rock slabs known as stelae.
On one of our day trips, we ventured by powerboat and van from Ambergris to Zunantanich (pronounced shoo-nan-TA-nich, meaning “stone woman”). It’s a magnificent Mayan town that existed from 700 to 1,000 AD, after which activity at the site mysteriously stopped and it became abandoned. After crossing the Mopan
River by hand-cranked ferry and snapping pictures of enormous iguanas sunning themselves on the banks, we climbed the hill to a high, limestone ridge majestically rising over the surrounding countryside. The most impressive structure is the central temple, known as El Castillo (“the castle”).
Climbing El Castillo became an adventure in itself, with narrow, worn steps and no guardrails. But I recommend carefully making the trek as you’ll witness beautiful views from the pinnacle of the temple. Giovanni, our guide, asked us to be quiet; he clapped his hands together, and we could hear a resounding echo from the plaza floor some 125 feet below us. It really made us appreciate the architecture of this place. I could then more easily imagine the high priest perched here centuries ago in a jaguar-skin robe and feather plumage, giving orders and edicts to his loyal subjects grouped below.
San Pedro hosts an annual Lobsterfest in June with eight days of events including street parties, lobster recipe competitions, lobster beach barbecues, and even a King and Queen pageant. Visit www.sanpedrolobsterfest.com for more details.
You won’t want to miss Fido’s Restaurant and Bar (pronounced Fee-Doughs) in San Pedro, its bar well-known throughout the Caribbean for funky reggae music. Check out www.fidosbelize.com.
Other Notes of Interest
Visit the U.S. State Department’s web site for more details about Belize: www.state.gov/p/wha/ci/bh/.
David Barton resides in Wisconsin, where he enjoys frequent lake-fishing excursions with his wife and daughter. On a more international note, Barton’s career allows him to travel to all points of the globe, and his baggage includes gear suitable for just about any species he might encounter.