Our first guest at The Toucan Hideaway

Our first houseguest was Darren, a good friend of ours who last year ended up buying the piece of property next to ours. Obviously, Darren had been here before and seen a lot of what Belize has to offer, but there was a lot more to explore. First off was to find the Rio Frio Cave, a very big and amazing cave. Well after driving down dead-end roads, through swamps and telling google maps how wrong they were, we still couldn’t find it. We will have to save that one for next time. We did end up finding a smaller cave that Darren went down into, Kelley and I decided that since we didn’t have any flashlights we would just stay up top and take pictures. After all, there could have been bats, jaguars, snakes, Bigfoot, trolls or who knows what else living in there.

Darren going into the darkness of the cave

Next stop was 1,000 Foot Falls, which is actually a 1,600 ft waterfall. It is the biggest waterfall in all of Central America and is worth seeing. It is a long dirt road getting there, but it is a beautiful drive with fern covered roads and big pine trees. Yes pine trees in Belize, seems a little strange in a tropical country in the Caribbean, but beautiful just the same.

fern road
Ferns and Pines on the way to the falls

There is a lookout post once you get there to view the falls or you can opt for the four-hour hike down to the bottom. It was a unanimous decision that we take in the view from up top and not hike to the bottom where someone could get hurt, or eaten by a jaguar and never be heard from again. It was a good decision because there was a lot more we needed to see and do.

1,000 Foot Falls

At this point, I believe we are at if not one of the highest points in Belize, you can pretty much see the entire country from up here.

top of belize
On top of Belize

After checking out the falls and taking a bunch of pictures it was time to head down the mountain for a little tailgate lunch and find a couple other small waterfalls and swimming spots. Being January up in the mountains it was a little chilly to be getting in the water, but next time for sure.

falls 2
Pinol Cascade falls

Another day-trip was off to Cahal Pech, a Mayan sight right in the middle of San Ignacio. In Mayan ‘Cahal Pech’ means the place of ticks, and no we did not see or get any ticks while we were there. This is one of our favorite sights because you can actually walk in the rooms, walk down the stairs and through passages. Being a small site it only takes a couple hours with a guide to gain a good insight into how the Ancient Mayans lived their day to day life.

Cahal Pech

For instance, the King’s passageways were arched to a peak so that his headdress would fit through. Also, the passages were shorter when you first entered them and then got taller at the other end so that the King would have to bow when he first entered the passage.

The Kings passage. It goes downstairs so there is only about 3 feet difference in ceiling height.

In another room was the King’s bed, a long stone bed with a big backrest at each end. Our guide told us that the King would lay at one end with his wife and his other wives would lay at the other end with all the other concubines in the middle. They say it’s good to be the King, but I’m not too sure.

Kelley going down the stairs on a passage

Cahal Pech is not one of the big touristy spots and the couple of times we have been there we have gotten a guide who has worked there a long time and has helped to excavate the site and is very knowledgeable. This is a must see site, plus it only takes a couple of hours, leaving the rest of your day to do other things.

Besides all the fun around our place, there were a lot of very good food and drinks to be had around town, but now it was time for the second part of this trip. That’s right, “It’s Island Time!” Time for us to take a little break from all the work we have been doing around the house and hit the beach. A couple hour drive to the city and a 20-minute flight and we were sitting on the Caribbean shore in Ambergris sipping a nice cold one.

On the beach at the island

We originally planned this time of year to go to the island to catch Jerry Jeff Walker at his annual Camp Belize show, but he had to cancel because of health problems. It didn’t matter because there was still live music just about everywhere you went. Good live music, ice cold drinks all while sitting on the turquoise waters of the Caribbean shore, it couldn’t get much better than that. Well, it did get better, we were hopping around bars and stopped in this one and Kelly McGuire just happened to be playing.

Kelly McGuire playing with Mike Nash on the beach

What a great surprise, we have been big fans of his music ever since our first trip to Belize. If you haven’t heard his music check it out, it will make you want to get away from it all. King of the Island is one of our favorite CD’s as well as all his others. His music is sort of Jimmy Buffet island feel-good type music with a little bit of Texas country thrown in.

kelley mc
Kelly and Kelley

The next day we thought we need to do a little island hopping, so we jumped on the boat and headed over to Caye Caulker for a day of fun and sun on a different beach. The motto on Caye Caulker is “Go Slow”, and you can definitely feel that vibe as you wander around.

The beautiful waters of the Caribbean
Welcome to Caye Caulker

After a short boat ride, it was time to get a cold drink and get in the grove of the island, and that we did. There are a few bars on the island but everyone loves to go to the Lazy Lizard at the split in the island. They have live music, sandy beaches to get your tan on, water to swim in and even palapas in the water where you can get bar service.

A bucket of cold beer, good friends and a palapa in the water, what more could you want?

We met some new friends, had a great day and probably drank a little more than we should of, but what the hell, we were on island time and didn’t have to drive anywhere. So after too much fun, we caught the boat back to the other island, got some sleep and caught the morning flight back to the mainland, got Darren to the airport and made our way back up into the jungle.

Goodbye to island life, for now.

We had a great time and a lot of fun having Darren here as our first houseguest at the Toucan Hideaway. Chances are we won’t do all this every time someone comes down for a visit, but there will be a lot of fun to be had and we can always point you in the right direction for your own adventures.

Like I’ve said, we have a guesthouse to stay in, but if you want to travel with other friends there are resorts or Airbnb’s close to us that could accommodate them.

We are just getting our Facebook page up and going for Toucan Hideaway so I will try to be posting stuff on that as time allows.

So until next time, enjoy life, be happy and most of all, have fun!

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