Today Ronnie, a guide from Blancaneaux Lodge, took me on a nature hike to Rio Frio Cave. The cave is on the way to Caracol, another big Maya site. We passed some armed guards on the way. Apparently, at some point, some tourists were robbed at gunpoint on the way to Caracol, so now they send escorts with some tourists to get them safely there.
I felt like Indiana Jones as we hiked to the cave. Ronnie pointed out different trees and their uses, including the Sapodilla tree from which chicle is harvested. Found in tropical rainforests, the chicle from this tree was harvested to make gum products like Chicklets.
At the large entrance to Rio Frio Cave, stalagmites hung from the ceiling. The cave is interesting as you can see clear to the other side. Ronnie tells me that caves, like this one, were sacred to the Maya. They believed that it was a gateway to Xibalba or the underworld. Sacrifices would have been carried out here, making it a little eerie to walk into the cave.
Next, we got back on our horses and rode to a secluded waterfall on horseback. We rode through a secondary forest, where a guide from Blancaneaux pointed out plants used to build the thatched roofs that are so popular in Belize. We ate beside the falls and could have gone swimming, but I opted not to today. I would be heading for the pool back at the lodge once off horseback and enjoying a great pasta for dinner.