Day 7: Zip Lines and Cave Tubing
Today was a day of excitement and adventure: cave tubing and zip lining! I’ve never been in a cave and the only zip lining I’ve ever done was 10 feet off the ground. Fun, new experiences were heading my way! We took off early in the morning, and stopped at the tubing site en route to our new hotel. MAKE SURE you pack water shoes for this! Comfy water shoes that support your feet would be preferable. There will be a 30 minute hike to the cave entrance, and the path is made almost entirely of river stones. My feet were dying by the end of the trek! Regardless, we made it to the entrance of the cave and got settled in our tubes. We were all roped together, and we each wore a helmet with a light at the top. We were practically jogging up our path, and our guide told us we were rushed because he wanted to get there before the other groups. We were the first ones at the entrance… But about three minutes later, dozens and dozens of people came down the path! We were able to get into the cave before it became completely saturated with lights from other groups.
Entering the cave was so cool; this was my first time ever seeing stalagmites and stalactites. Our guide told us that this cave was considered an entry to Xibalba (hell) by the Mayan people. Going through, I could see why it could be considered that. It was vast, dark, and a bit eery. However, there were a few sections where the ceiling had sunken in, and you could see trees and daylight. It was absolutely beautiful! Altogether, the tubing lasted for about 30 minutes. I wish it had lasted longer, but then again I might have frozen my butt off in the freezing water. 😛
My awesome roomie @surieanne06 took those cave tubing pics! Much thanks. 🙂
After tubing, it was a very short hike to zip lining. And oh my god, it was fun. We were sailing across the jungle at crazy speeds and my heart was pounding for every moment. Every time I stepped off the platform, my brain stopped and I just took everything in with all my senses. This is rare for me, because my brain rarely ever turns off. Is this what being an adrenaline junkie feels like? Thanks @exelynnn for this awesome video of one of the zip lines!
There were 8 zip lines, with a very steep set of stairs between each one. By the time we finished, we were very tired and looking forward to our lunch of chicken, beans and rice. Yum!
After eating, we hopped right back on the bus and drove the rest of the way to Hopkins. We would be spending the next three days at the Almond Beach Resort & Spa, which was by far the nicest hotel we had stayed at so far. This was the view from our balcony…
How freaking gorgeous is that? The beach was an absolute dream, and practically empty (except for our group of 30 people).
There was one downside to this dreamy landscape though… sand fleas. Bug spray doesn’t work, and by the end of the first night I had 30 bites on ONE leg. It’s really a small price to pay though for such a beautiful place! Just bring some aloe or calamine lotion. 🙂
When we got to the hotel, the sun was starting to set. We hung out on the beach for a little bit, and then went to the hotel restaurant for pasta night. It was expensive, but pretty good! You got to pick your sauces and toppings, and they would cook it right in front of you. After I had my fill of pasta, I went back to the room to relax. Speaking of the room, it was FREAKING gigantic and very luxurious. It (almost) made up for the bedbug situation at the last hotel. We settled in for a very cozy night in bed.
Days 8 and 9: Rest and Relaxation on the Beachside
We really didn’t do much these two days besides hang out on the beach. We were happy to find out that the hotel let its guests rent kayaks, paddleboards, and other water sport equipment for free! I went out on the water with one of my friends, and we ended up kayaking for a couple miles. Or maybe it was way shorter… my arms might just be weak. Anyways, it felt so good to be out on the water! This was my first time kayaking in the ocean; if I tried that back home, a wave would flip you within five seconds. Here, the water was as calm as a lake.
Basically, the rest of my day in one little collage:
For lunch and dinner, we went to Lucky Lobster, which had great food for pretty cheap. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to meet the owner; he’s a U.S. expat and super nice!
The next day, we went snorkeling again! I don’t have videos like I did in Part 2, but I do have some pretty cool photos.
After snorkeling we went to a little island and hung out in a wade-pool type area. A few people I was with found conch shells in the sand, and brought them back home! If you go on this trip, make sure you check to make sure the conch shell is dead before you remove it from its natural habitat. 🙂
We spend the rest of the day at the hotel, getting a bit more sun. We were pretty exhausted from all of the active excursion earlier in the week, so this was a great way to recover physically and spiritually. If you are thinking about doing this trip, just make sure to keep in mind that the last 3 days will be extremely lazy! There is not much to do in Hopkins, so there will be a lot of laying on the beach or playing in the water.
Day 10: Back to the Beginning
We got to sleep in a bit on Day 10, and then we were back on the bus (how many time have I used that phrase in this series??). We drove all the way back to Belize City, where we would be having the farewell dinner. The itinerary on EF shows that you have the dinner on Day 9, but they changed it. I believe it will be on Day 10 for future tours as well. It was another mostly travel day, and it had finally sunk in that we were going to be flying home in less than 24 hours. There seemed to be a collective spirit of melancholy in the air, as we contemplated leaving this land of sunshine and howler monkeys behind.
The welcome dinner put the smile back on all of our faces. We were given slabs of steaming metal with meat and veggies on them. Basically, we cooked our own dinners! Here’s a pic of my friend’s dinner:
After dinner, we took a bunch of group pictures to commemorate our last night. I feel nostalgic looking back at this, and I’m missing everybody so much. It’s amazing how at the beginning of this trip we were strangers, and by the end were were good friends. I made lasting friends on my last EF trip, and I have a good feeling that these folks will last too. If any of you guys are reading this, let’s plan another EF trip together!
And that, dear friends, brings our trip to an end. Over a period of ten days, I climbed ancient ruins, ziplined through the jungle, tubed through the Gates of Hell, and ate more beans and rice than I ever thought possible. I am so glad I chose this trip. My last EF trip was about seeing historical sights and cities; this trip was about pushing my physical limits and doing. Both were amazing in their own way. If you have any questions about this trip please send me an email or leave a comment below! I would love to talk with you about more minute details of the trip, so you can decide if it is for you. And, if you would like a discount code for $100 off this or any trip, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading, and see you after my next trip!