Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Our first cave experience and the butterfly farm!

On our third full day in Belize, we decided to do a half day excursion.  This would be between our two full day trips.  Tikal was a long day and we had another full day excursion coming up.  So, we spent the morning at Chaa Creek.  There really is an awful lot to do right there and we actually had every intention of going horseback riding when we originally planned our day, but when it came to Saturday morning, we just didn't feel like it.  We could have taken the canoes and gone out on the river as well...but again, not in the cards!  So, after breakfast we decided to take a walk up to the Natural History Center and Butterfly Farm that is right there on the property. 

At Chaa Creek they have a small museum about the history of Belize and the Mayan culture.  They also have a small exhibit about the native animals in the region as well as their efforts at helping to increase the Howler Monkey population in the country. 

There is also a Blue Morpho Butterfly farm.  This is quite interesting!  We had a short but very interesting lesson on more than you could imagine about the life cycle of the Blue Morpho.  They are actively harvesting the eggs, hundreds a week from the egg stage right through the larvae until they emerge into butterflies.  It was quite a sight!

After having lunch poolside and relaxing for a bit, we were ready for out next adventure:

Barton Creek Cave!  This cave was used as a Mayan ritual site until around 900 AD.  We went into the 7 mile long cave on a canoe, which our guide paddled and he told us all of the history and legend that went along with it.  We had a bright lamp, powered by a car battery which we took with us into the canoe!   The cave was beautiful.  We went about 3/4 of a mile into the cave.  The ceilings were about 150 feet high at some points.  We could see some of the pottery that was left and there were many bats flying past our heads!  We were told there have been approximately 28 human remains found in the cave.

This cave experience was very cool!  To be in the canoe, and when we turned our lamp off it was complete darkness.  For the most part we were the only group in the cave so it was totally silent as well.  One can only imagine what it was like thousands of years ago, with the only light being from the torches of the Mayans.....

This would just be a taste of our cave experiences.  We had plans for a full day cave experience the next day and I could not wait! 

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