Our timing for Belize was good, we got there in time for the orange harvest. Driving the Hummingbird Highway we drove through orange orchard after orange orchard and trucks were driving fully loaded with oranges to the factories where they made orange juice. In one of these orchards the German, Swiss and Norwegian caravan saw a white Swiss Land Rover Defender, the drivers were out taking photos of the orange trees. The caravan stopped and we had a nice chat with Jolanda and Marco (www.lavidapura.ch). They are also on their way to Argentina. Since they were also heading to the Cayo district this day they joined our caravan.
In the Cayo district we drove past several Mennonites farms and horse and carriages transporting people and their harvest. It was a slight difference between their transportation and our Patrol. We took off from the Chiquibul Road and on to an even smaller dirt road towards Barton Creek Outpost were we planned to spend a couple of nights. Lotti was having a tough time on the rough road, but she did well when she was going slow.
Short before the Outpost we had to cross a river, and even this was no problem for Lotti.
The four overland vehicles put up camp at the parking area at Barton Creek Outpost surrounded by orange trees. Our host told us to pick as many as we wanted and use their mechanic press to make our own fresh orange juice.
It is the best orange juice we had so far on this trip…
From Barton Creek we had an early start and did a full day of sightseeing to the Maya ruins at Caracol with several stops along the way. Lotti was left behind and Isabelle and Franc got a lift with the other vehicles. Previously there had been some problems with robberies along the road to Caracol so now tourist could drive behind a ranger car in a convoy from Douglas de Silva to Caracol. The convoy was leaving at 09.30. We showed up a bit too early so we had just enough time to make a detour to Rio Frio Cave.
It was an amazing and huge cave with a small river flowing through it and along the river was even a small beach. Standing in the middle of the cave, you could look out at the entrance on each side of the mountain. Then it was time to join the ranger caravan. Arriving in Caracol we were discussing if there was actually a need to be escorted by the rangers since they were driving at a speed that none of the tourist cars could, or at least not would, keep up with. After a while they were gone and we saw them again at the archeological site. On the way back all the organized tour groups left before the rangers, and we decided to do the same.
At Caracols peak between 650 – 700 AD it is assumed that 150,000 people lived in the city and so far 36,000 structures have been marked. Today tourists can visit some of the main structures, but compared to the size of the city it is not so much we were able to see as most of the city is still covered in jungle.
Caana – Sky Palace is the tallest building in Caracol with 42 meters and it is still the highest building in Belize….
On the way back we stopped to cool down in the Río On Pools witch was an excellent end to a great day.
Then it was time to say goodbye to our friends again. Lotti, Vally and the Land Rover was all heading to Guatemala within a few days and we were on our way to Cancun to meet some family that was coming over from Norway for a warm winter holiday.