story and photos by John Lamkin
Aside for being one of Belize's best airlines, Tropic Air is known for their adventure tours
As much as I love adventure travel this trip was business, an assignment to review some of Belize's finest luxury resorts and to investigate the luxury real estate scene in southern Belize. I would have wait until next trip for Tropic Air to show me more of what this wonderful English-speaking country had to offer in adventure.
In the past, I had visited the Mennonite community at Spanish Lookout, boated up the New River from Orange Walk Town to the ruins of the old amazing Mayan city Laminai passing alligators, howler and spider monkeys, lone Mennonite farms, so many types of exotic birds, animals and plants, I had gone on nightime alligator hunts, explored the Maya mountains, walked jungle trails. Broken down on lonely jungle roads, just to have a local chicken bus come to the rescue, canoed up the Macal river, and more, But Belize has even more adventure to offer me, soft and hard.
Here are some of the Tropic Air adventures I will be able to select from on my next trip. According to Tropic Air, “Not only can we take you there, we can guide you on your adventure too.”
Lamanai Mayan Ruins
A boat ride through mangroves. See birds, bat, flowers, turtles, and crocodiles along the way.
Arrive at The New River lagoon where the boat docks up. You have arrived at Lamanai, situated on 950 acres of archeological reserve. Walk through dense jungle and learn about Belizean Bush medicine. Explore impressive monuments built in 100BC.Hike up 33 meters on the huge El Castillo Temple of the Rain and take in the surrounding views. Listen to the loud sounds of the Howler monkeys, and look out for Toucans as you stroll through the rain forest.
Visit the Museum and enjoy a tasty Belizean lunch under the palapa. Visit the gift shops before you get back on board the boat.
ATM Day Tour
Another spectacular tour from Tropic who have teamed up with Pacz tours to bring you the amazing world renowned Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave (as seen in National Geographic magazine).
A 45 minute hike through the Tapir mountain reserve , through jungle crossing creeks along the way. (Watch out for the tapirs). Enjoy a quick snack and orientation from your guide on cave history, preservation and safety, then proceed to the cave entrance and the fascinating Maya underworld. The 3 hour tour is filled with excitement and wonder as you swim and climb to the inner chamber seeing Maya pottery used for sacrifices to the gods, along the way. The culmination of the tour is the Crystal Maiden, a young virgin sacrifice and “The Cathedral” with its stalactite and stalagmite formations. A not to be missed tour while in Belize.
Barton Creek: Maya, Mennonites & Medicine
Fly west to Belmopan and take a short drive by road to the Barton Creek area where you see the traditional and non-mechanized ways of life of the resident Mennonite community. Learn about traditional forest medicine, folk remedies and healing techniques from a local healer as she escorts you through her rainforest home. Sample seasonal fruits fresh from the organically grown trees on the property. After lunch, take a guided canoe adventure into Barton Creek Caves where you can learn about the natural formations carved by water and time, and see the evidence of ancient Maya sacrificial use. On a hot day, cool off by taking a refreshing dip at the cave entrance before your return flight to San Pedro.
Snorkel Day Tour
Your tour starts with a morning flight from Belize City to San Pedro. Arrive in San Pedro and walk to the SunBreeze hotel dock located directly across the street from Tropic Air. Board the boat and head for Hol Chan. Soon you will be enjoying a snorkel tour of the reserve and around noon you will be at Shark Ray Alley enjoying another fun snorkeling experience. Enjoy lunch on board your boat. Later you will return to the Sun Breeze Hotel dock to go to Tropic Air to catch your return flight to Belize City.
Zipline and Waterfall Adventure
Take a flight down the coast of Dangriga in Southern Belize where you will be able to soar above the Mayflower Bocawina National Forest on a 12 platform zipline. It has the longest, fastest and tallest runs in Belize, and allows an up close view of pristine rainforest. After a quick lunch at Mama Noots Restaurant (on-site), take a short jungle hike to cool off at Bocawina Falls. Swim in its refreshing pools or rappel down its face for an even more unbelievable experience. For adrenaline junkies, an optional upgrade of rappelling down Antelope Falls is available on arrival at the tour site. The zipline is the only one currently certified in Belize by the ACCT, and experienced guides will ensure a great experience for every age and skill level.
Fly from San Pedro following the reef line south to historic St. George's Caye, then head east to Half Moon Caye and Lighthouse Reef Atoll to the Blue Hole. Make several passes of this wonder of the world, and return via Northern Two Caye and northern Ambergris near Rocky Point. From there, fly down the Barrier Reef back to San Pedro. Also see Turneffe Atoll, the Booby Bird Sanctuary, shipwrecks, Manatees, and other animals and points of interest.
It will be hard to wait another year (maybe, just maybe, I can sneak off before then).
Getting to Belize:
Tropic Air Tours http://www.tropicair.com/en-us/tours/alltours.aspx
For more information:
John Lamkin is a born-again travel journalist and photographer based in Taos, New Mexico and in Mexico. He writes (and photographs) about travel, food, wine, luxury, budget, gear, tech. and more. He is Global Membership Chair of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association. He travels the world in search of something new in culture, cuisine and drink.
Look for John Lamkin's upcoming book:
OUR INTERWOVEN LIVES WITH THE ZAPOTEC WEAVERS:
An Odyssey of the Heart
by Susanna Starr
with Photographs by John Lamkin