Travels in Belize: Eco-Tourism, Mayan Temples, Snakes That Chase You, Pasta with Coppola

Simon Worrall first traveled to Belize more than 20 years ago to do a travel guide for Fodor’s. “It was just as Belize was getting on people’s radar,” he says. “I knew it was one of those remote corners of the British Empire, and I was intrigued.” Now Worrall, who has written about Patagonia, a fatal desert exodus, and other subjects for National Geographic, has collected three stories from various trips to the country over the years in an e-book called Coppola in Belize (and Other Adventures). National Geographic spoke with Worrall about the project.

You write with great affection about the country. Why are you so fond of it?

It’s only the size of Connecticut, but it’s got the second biggest barrier reef in the world, it’s got these wonderful jungle highlands, it’s got Mayan temples, and it’s got an amazing collection of people.

I think it’s still one of the few places in the world where the color of your skin really doesn’t matter — and that includes being white. Belize is the only country that has racial harmony built into the national flag, which shows two woodcutters cutting down a mahogany tree, one of the country’s big exports. One woodcutter is black and one is white, and there they are chopping down the tree together.

In the first story in the book, “A Hike Across the Vaca Plateau,” you and your companions undergo a sweaty, strenuous hike to the ancient Mayan city of Caracol.

What made that trip wonderful and memorable was Antonio, my guide. This man had lived as a chiclero for 20 years, clambering up trees with steel spurs to go after the chicle, which they used as chewing gum. He knew the bush backwards, inside and out, and all the animals. The highlight of the story, and the highlight of the trip, was that wonderful evening we spent around the campfire when Antonio told stories about all the animals. It was as good as Kipling’s Jungle Book, it really was. He had this inimitable delivery, with this sort of Spanishified English.

The trip was a grand adventure, but it wasn’t very comfortable. It was very buggy, very hot, very tiring, and there were loads and loads of snakes.

You seem to be particularly wary of fer de lance snakes.

That’s a mean and nasty creature. It is a particularly poisonous and aggressive snake. It’s one of the few snakes (the mamba is another one) that actually chase after you.

Did you ever see one?

I never did, luckily. I didn’t really want to, either. The part of the fer de lance story that bothered me the most was that the juveniles hang in the branches of the trees and then they drop down. Every time we were under a tree, I thought any minute now it’s going to drop down the back of my shirt and I will be out of here like a bullet.

See also: Ten Things to do in Belize in 2014

Belize is known as a center of ecotourism, but your second story, “Paradise Lost,” recounts the construction of an environmentally damaging dam.

What dam doesn’t ruin the river it blocks? It’s really as simple as that. There’s never been a good dam built. It had a hugely adverse impact on the wildlife. The area was one of the last nesting sites of the scarlet macaw.

Read more: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2014/01/08/travels-in-belize-eco-tourism-mayan-temples-snakes-that-chase-you-pasta-with-coppola/

Top Places to Stay in Belize






Belize Tour Companies and Travel Agents

Belize Real Estate Opportunities






June 17, 2018

Latham: Hard work must be the national symbol of Belize

BELIZE CITY, Belize — Belize is tiny for a country — about the land size of Maryland — but it...
Read More
June 17, 2018

7 Ambergris Caye Restaurants Secret Special Request Options

Once you have lived on Ambergris Caye awhile, you get to know which restaurants have off-menu special request options. Read...
Read More
June 12, 2018

Please Belize Me: Ten Reasons to Put Ambergris Caye on Travel List

After a year of procrastination and poor planning, Belize finally made it on my to do list in 2018. Read...
Read More
June 12, 2018

Autograph Collection Hotels Set to Debut in Belize with the Opening of Alaia

Autograph Collection Hotels, in partnership with owner and developer Andrew Ashcroft, today announced the brand will debut in Belize with the...
Read More
June 12, 2018

5 Reasons to Vacation in Belize this Summer

Summer is the busiest season for travel to Europe. That’s where most vacationers are headed during the months of June,...
Read More
June 12, 2018

World Oceans Day celebrated in Belize

This year’s initiative is focused at preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean. Read more: http://lovefm.com/world-oceans-day-celebrated-belize/
Read More
June 12, 2018

Private Indulgence In An Island Sanctuary In Belize

Your own private island sanctuary, just hours from Miami, resides in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean on Belize’s Barrier...
Read More
June 10, 2018

Garifuna Collective Represent Belize at WOMEX Celebration

The Garifuna Collective is making a huge comeback at WOMEX, that’s the World’s Music Expo held in Spain. Read more: http://edition.channel5belize.com/archives/166803...
Read More
June 9, 2018

Why is a small village in Belize a hot spot for anglers? It’s home to the Everest of fish

I was standing at the front of a 23-foot-long panga in the Bay of Honduras, some 10 miles northeast of...
Read More
1 2 3 19

Comments

comments

0 Comments

Leave a Comment

Login

Welcome! Login in to your account

Remember me Lost your password?

Don't have account. Register

Lost Password

Register

Close
Please support the site
By clicking any of these buttons you help our site to get better
Banner-1