Monday, December 7, 2015

Port 3: Belize City, Belize (Zipping again and Altun Ha)

Our last port of the cruise was Belize City, Belize!
We had booked a private tour with King David and his AlTourNative tour company to go cave tubing and then to see the Mayan ruins of Altun Ha. The week before we were leaving on the cruise they emailed me to let me know that they had been having a lot of rain and that the caves were currently flooded so we may need to pick an alternate activity. I really appreciated the advanced warning so we were prepared for the possibility and since the other options included zip-lining and a monkey sanctuary we decided to see how we liked our day in Roatan to help make our decision. Unfortunately the caves were indeed still flooded when we arrived but we loved zip lining the day before so much that we were all excited to do it again. We had King David himself with us for our day and he was great! So good with the kids and very informative as we drove to the different stops (there was more driving than I had expected). If we ever make it back to Belize to do the caves, we will use him again!
(this was the only port that we had to take tenders into shore and it was actually pretty fun for the kids even if it meant getting up a little earlier to make sure we were on the first one out)
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our ship as we rode further away, you can see the other tenders loading people
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We went to the zip line first and since we were nice and early, it was just our family for almost the entire course which was so awesome. We were right in the middle of the rain forest and it was gorgeous! I have a special place in my heart for rain forests and I couldn't get over how beautiful it was. The technique for this zip line was a little different than the day before and really reminded Mike and I of when we went in Costa Rica. There were less lines but they were higher, longer and more beautiful. If we could have combined the two experiences it would have been the absolute most perfect zip lining ever :-). The last lines of this course went over a river and it was breathtaking. David told us that the water is usually very clear (it was muddy because of all the rain when we were there) and I can't imagine how pretty it must be when it is!
(really missing getting nice pictures on this day, and once again totally messed up when I was trying to get video to show how pretty it was as the kids came in :()
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preston was really excited about the orange helmets!
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Preston and Addie both wanted to go first every time.
Preston getting hooked up!
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This line over the river was really long and they were worried Preston and Addie wouldn't make it all the way because they are light so a guide went with each of them to help them get across.
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Ella going on the very last one, crossing back over the river
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On our way to the ruins we stopped for lunch and it was so good! I liked it better than the Honduran food. In Belize they cook their rice and beans together and use coconut milk; it was delicious! Plus, we didn't have to pay extra for our lunch which was nice (the day before we did). We even tried a bite of their "royal rat", a popular meat choice. It wasn't bad, but they also showed us a picture of it before we ate so it was harder for me to enjoy ;).
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Roger, our driver, and King David with us at lunch
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From there we continued our drive to the ruins of Altun Ha.
The kids were ready to get some wiggles out and had fun climbing on all the ruins. David was good at making sure Preston didn't fall off the edge of any of the high areas :-) and he offered to take lots of good pictures of our family which I appreciated. Preston still hadn't picked out a souvenir for the trip and had been begging for a carved wooden recorder (we saw them frequently)...we finally just let him get one and so far it hasn't been driving us too nuts haha. It was another fun day and I really felt like we got to see a lot of the country since the stops were spread out in different areas.
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Ella opted not to hold the baby alligators ;-)
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When we made it back to the port we went looking for the immigration office to get our passports stamped. It was this little random room in a back corner and when we walked in, there was Mike's family! So crazy that after the whole day we both ended up there at the same time. We got to ride the tender back to the ship with them and then get ready for our Thanksgiving dinner.
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Thanksgiving isn't my favorite meal or holiday, mostly because I'm so excited for Christmas to finally be here, so this was a perfect Thanksgiving to me. A day of adventure and then a yummy meal with family! And the ship actually made a pretty delicious spread that covered most of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes.
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