Belize (formerly British Honduras) is a Massachusetts-sized Central American country bordered by Mexico to the north, Guatemala to the south and west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east. With a population of only a quarter of a million, the lion's share of whom live in a handful of cities, Belize remains a mostly wild and untamed country and is becoming an increasingly popular eco-tourism destination. Primarily due to its status as a port of call for cruise ships, tourism has recently outpaced citrus production to become Belize's main industry, although one will find the country to be anything but "touristy." When you travel in Belize, you feel as if you've been let in on a well-kept secret.
The inland areas near the Guatemalan border are characterized by low limestone mountains, clear-running streams, extensive young cavern systems, dense jungle, and a population that is of mostly Mayan and Spanish descent. The coastal areas consist predominantly of flat, muddy river deltas with a population that is more Caribbean and Creole. A scant 20 miles offshore, however, lies the crown jewel of Belize: one of the most beautiful barrier reefs on this side of the globe, a reef that consistently earns Belize a place among the ten most popular scuba diving destinations in the world.
Slickrock Adventures, a company based in Moab, Utah, has been running trips into Central America since the early 80's, and as of this writing, they are the largest eco-tourism outfitter in Belize and one of the few (if not the only) outfitters to provide adventure sports packages spanning both the interior jungle and the barrier reef. Slickrock leads sea kayaking, surf kayaking, scuba, and snorkeling trips from their private 14-acre island, Long Caye, and they use Ian Anderson's Jungle Lodge as a base of operations for river trips into the Mayan Mountains. More on Long Caye and Ian's can be found on subsequent pages.
Brian, James, and I, along with Peter from New York, Kevin from Chicago, Len from Denver, Greg from Oregon, and Pamela from Vancouver, all signed up for Slickrock's Belize Adventure Week package, which consists of a half week in the jungle and a half week on the island. The following photo journal follows these eight adventurers on their seven-day expedition to explore the untamed Central American wilderness by land and by sea. The lighting conditions in the jungle were mostly very poor due to cloudy weather and dense vegetation, and my camera is not waterproof. Thus, I have had to rely upon many of Brian's and Pamela's photos from the trip to fill in these sections of the narrative. Where used, these photos are named with a prefix of "BG" and "PG", respectively.
This album has 150 photos in total.