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New Website, New Blog, but the Old Blog Archive remains: September 28, 2023

After many years of wanting a real website, this month I finally have a website designed by the very knowledgeable Rey Rey Rodriguez ( TheMindOfReyRey ). My old blog,  Vacation-Travel-Adventure  continues with the same address but it is located in the "Archives" tab on my new website . The new blog which is a continuation but with much better resolution for 4K screens, it is now at .

Belize Escape: March 8 - 12, 2023

Blancaneaux Lodge is one of three luxury properties in Belize owned by Francis Ford Coppola (FFC) of movies and wines. Blancaneaux Lodge is in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve about 90 minutes from the border with Guatemala. It is spectacular. Privassion River runs through the property and most of the cabana rooms are situated along the river. Our room for the first three nights was just above the waterfall. 

One of the free activities at the lodge is tubing down the river. We took advantage of this one hot afternoon. The start is several yards upriver from the waterfall and the end is at the waterfall. There wasn't much current so it was a lazy float through the crystal clear pools toward the waterfall. 

We walked along the river trail and up to the lodge's organic garden and compost area. We definitely had garden and compost envy. The gardens provide most of the fruits and vegetables served in the lodge restaurants.

Our first morning at the lodge we went to Barton Creek Cave. The driver was also our canoe guide. He paddled us into the cave about 1.5 miles while explaining the relationship between the cave and the Mayan people. The upper shelves of the cave were used for burials by the ancient Maya. Caves were part of a mystical underworld populated with deities. It was a serene, quiet paddle into the darkness. The cave entrance looked like just a narrow slit in the rock, but we glided through it into the cave. 

We took a full day trip to the Ancient Mayan City of Tikal in Guatemala. Our driver took us to the border and another driver gathered us up after we passed through border customs and immigration. Tikal is immense and somewhat overwhelming for a first-time visitor. 

Looking over the Central Acropolis at Temple 1 from Temple 2
Detail of carving on Temple 2
Looking East from Temple 4
The amount of jungle that fills in all the spaces between the temples isn't apparent until you climb up Temple 4 and look east to see that only the tallest portions of the other temples are visible from above. Tikal existed as a city from around 200 to 900 AD after which time all southern Mayan cities became deserted. The rainforest consumed Tikal, and the outside world had no knowledge of it until the early 19th century when an outsider "discovered" the lost city of Tikal.

Another departure from the lodge was to visit the Saturday Market in San Ignacio. As markets go, it wasn't particularly exotic except for the presence of Mennonite and Amish vendors. Most of the Mennonites and Amish migrated to Belize in the 1950s. There are both progressives and conservatives in each group. Progressive Mennonites own a chain of tire stores, zinc siding operations, and a bunch more successful businesses. The conservative Amish cling to farming without any mechanized machinery. Like in the US, they use horses to pull their wagons. I came across one Amish vendor (blue shirt) who was selling both bunnies and guinea pigs. The guy in the white shirt wanted two bunnies which were placed into the red net bag. His friend came over to inspect the bunnies to make sure that both genders were represented in the bag. 

Because of the Tikal trip, our time at Blancaneux Lodge was out of sync. That is why we were moved to a different room for our last night in Belize. We thought our first room was pretty great, but the room for the last night was over the top in every way. Guatemalan textiles and furnishings decorated both rooms. Each room was equipped with a Shell Phone. The Shell Phone is an intercom system connected to reception. Flip a switch and speak into the shell and whatever you wish for will be granted.

Screened front had a telescope for night viewing

Rear exit to outside shower
A Private Plunge Pool

I understand why FFC called this place Paradise. It is.

Belize was a lovely escape all around.

Brian McCutcheon of ROAM put this trip together for us. We've known Brian for many years and he was our guide on two trips in Canada: Taku and Firth Rivers when he was mostly traveling in Canada. Now, he and his company are indeed roaming the world.