Ronnie and I ate breakfast outside (much quieter) and then donned our swimsuits and packed our back packs for the zip lining and cave tubing combo tour we had booked through the ship. Since this was a tender port, all tour groups met in the beautiful large theater. Of course, we had to stand in a line to get our stickers, but once we were in the theater, they called our color/number quickly. In fact, we were on the tender before 9 am, which was our appointed meeting time. The tender ride to Belize City took about 15 minutes since the ship had to anchor pretty far away since the water was too shallow closer in. Like Grand Cayman, we used local tenders, which held many people and were more comfortable to ride in than the ship's life boats are. I think there were three or four tour groups on our tender.
Arriving in Belize City, we met up with our guide Edward and soon boarded the bus, which was very air conditioned. The day was warm, and we really didn't need the cold air. There were 50 on the tour, but only 37 of us on the first tender. Therefore, we ended up waiting on the bus for about a half hour before all the stragglers arrived. Anyway, the next group finally arrived and we were off by about 10 am.
The bus ride to the cave/zip line area was about 50 minutes on the main highway (called the West Road since it heads west from Belize City towards the mountains and the capital of the country), followed by about 15-20 minutes on a very bumpy dirt road. Edward the guide said that this road provided "complimentary back massage", but all we did was laugh. Belize seems to have two seasons--very rainy and rainy. The very rainy season is during the hurricane months of June through November, but it also rains sporadically the rest of the year. Apparently, they had a lot of rain the few days before we arrived, given the pot holes filled with water and the swollen creeks. The coast of Belize is very low (18 inches below sea level) and has a lot of swampy land, along with a lot of reclaimed land that is still subject to flooding.
The zip line/cave area is in a national park, so was quite nice. We drove through the main caving area where many tours just do an inner tube float through a section of the miles and miles of limestone caves in Belize. Apparently, you can even tube float and and camp along the way! We saw numerous buses parked at the cave area, all emblazoned with the "Butts Up" motto they use to warn tubers of upcoming shallow water. Very cute. (Note: We had no butts up for our group since the water levels were very high.)
We rented a locker for $5 and those who had worn flip flops had to rent water shoes for $5. I was glad we had read the directions and worn our Keen water shoes! Ronnie and I stowed our stuff and got ready for the zip line adventure. Our bus had about 25 people who were traveling in a group of over 40. They were all friends from a small town in Washington state.
The guides divided us into groups of eight, and Ronnie and I were with a group of three other couples--one from North Carolina; the second from Melbourne, Australia; and the third couple were two girls traveling together who were friends. Anyway, the zipping was much like I have done other places. We were rigged up and had to walk up a lot of steps to the first zip. Of course, since we had 50 in the group, we had to stand in line to wait our turn. Once we got started, it went quickly. This facility only had five zip lines, compared to the nine or ten I've had elsewhere. It was still fun, and although it was his first time, Ronnie did better than I.
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