A lot of people have a misconception about ports of call on a cruise. They think that they are tourist traps and not a true representation of the countries you are visiting. So not true - specifically with Belize City. The actual port terminal is full of shops and I would recommend staying there unless you are on a sponsored excursion. Because just outside the terminal walls is a very basic third world country. Something my children have never seen. Guards with guns, primitive buildings, razor wire, tent shacks, barefoot children running around etc. We were able to grasp a very good view of the culture and life during our trip to the ruins.
Crazy narrow streets- expertly navigated by our bus driver! Pay phones everywhere- because cell service is so unpredictable.
But first the ruins, Altun Ha.
They are Mayan ruins dating from 100bc to 600ad. Some of the steps have been rebuilt so that people can climb them. We learned that they weren't actually stairs- they were seats like in a stadium. The actual stairs are on the sides and lead up to the altars on the top of the structures. The steps/seats on the front of the structures were for the masses to sit and watch games, ceremonies etc. The Mayan conservationists are beginning to close off and not allow climbing on the ruins- so we were lucky these were still open!
Our guide was Jake, he was half Mayan half Spanish. He had a degree in horticulture, anthropology and the Mayan history...so he was full of information!
Corynn loved climbing the ruins! Evie and I made it partially up one, but the steps were hard to maneuver while holding Evie. No hand rails you know!
The twins video taped the tour and took photos while Evie spun circles and ran free in the grassy courtyard. A grassy field and a bottle of water...simple things make that girl happy!
The ruins are surrounded by rainforest- full of amazing trees!
It was cloudy and I forgot about sunscreen. Oops...everyone came home a little burnt, even Evie! :(
I felt terrible!
Evie tried some authentic baked banana chips being sold in a street market. Another little stand was selling beautiful carved bowls and wood pieces. We also enjoyed a nice cold Coke in a glass bottle!
Corynn and our guide Jake (he was kind of short!)
Evie munching on banana chips
Evie running around and spinning circles
That tiny spec at the top is Corynn with her arms waving above her head!
Cool rainforest trees!
Here are a few photos of the city itself:
some of the houses are brightly colored and have actual windows. Many just had window openings with shutters and grates- no glass.
The majority of housing looked more like this
This was a hotel...notice the razor wire on the gate!
This was McKynna and Kwynn's favorite stop. I think the perspective of life played a factor in that. Realizing how blessed we are. The ruins were phenominal! Very cool!