Trotting Tropical Trails As dawn broke that first morning of my Mayan Jungle Ride in Belize and the mist slowly lifted from the valley, the sun’s first rays gently warmed the cool air... Read more
Horseback Riding in Belize
If you are seeking a vacation in a nearby foreign country with a good winter climate, horseback riding in Belize may be the answer for you. Its glorious beaches are well known, but the hill country in the interior offers hidden treasures. English speaking Belize is only a two hour flight from the southern United States and yet it is like entering a world as different as Africa. It is the home of rare and beautiful birds, gorgeous wild orchids and huge butterflies. There are many interesting caves and you will have a chance to ride to one formed by an underground river which flows through it. In other caves you will find Mayan pottery chards among the bizarre shapes of stalagmites and stalactites. Your experienced guides are well informed about local history, flora and fauna and will take you on jungle trails riding Quarter Horse crosses well adapted to the terrain. There are open areas with good footing for occasional canters and lovely, secluded waterfalls which create ideal pools for you to take a swim and have a picnic. The ride is moderately paced and does not require great equestrian skill. Many other activities for non-riders are available like bird watching, cave exploring, rappelling and visiting Mayan ruins.
Guests stay in comfortable bungalows with thatched roofs which are attractively decorated with Mayan tapestries and have their own decks affording lovely views of the picturesque valley below. The central lodge is a meeting ground with a bar and a restaurant serving delicious meals with fish, barbecues and many kinds of vegetables and fruits grown locally year around.
It is not just the natural beauty of the land which makes this ride so special; it is also the ubiquitous traces of Mayan civilization which you will see during the course of your ride. What is now Belize was part of the great Mayan Empire which covered a wide area in Central America from about 2,000 BC until almost the time of Columbus. Their civilization collapsed before the arrival of Spaniards for mysterious reasons disputed by scholars. They had built a highly developed society with impressive architecture featuring towering step pyramids and they devised the only known system of writing in the Americas in pre-Columbian times. They left no Rosetta Stone so deciphering their script was extremely difficult and only achieved in recent times. One must marvel at their engineering feats in moving huge stone slabs with no modern equipment.
You have the option to extend your vacation by two additional days to include a tour to the excavated Mayan ruins at Tikal, Pacbitun and other famous sites in neighboring Guatemala after your horseback riding trip in Belize is completed.