Are you ready to hear more about my adventures in Belize and Guatemala?! Don’t know what I’m talking about? Go back and read Part 1.
Ready? Hokay! So I left you off with my exploration of the Mayan ruins of Caracol…
Well the next day we were supposed to do some cave exploration but sadly it rained so much the day before the cave flooded and was closed! I wasn’t going to let it (literally) rain on my parade so I sat outside a cafe in San Ignacio and enjoyed a coffee and the view.
But obviously sitting still all day is not my forte so I headed out to do an herbal medicine walk through part of the jungle! A guide took us through and showed us different plants and trees and explained their medicinal uses. My favorite part? Eating termites! Yep, you read that right!
Those of you who listen to Nutrition Genius Radio know I have been branching out into the world of entomophagy so I of course jumped at the chance to chow down on some of these guys! Lucky for you my sister recorded it on video. They are tiny, the size of ants and had a minty, woody taste to them. Our guide explained they taste different based on the type of tree they have been eating, how cool is that?! For more information on entomophagy check out this podcast with Daniel Vitalis and Daniella Martin, it’s what got me on board!
After that we popped in to a Green Iguana Project at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. The Green Iguana Project was a created to protect the endangered iguanas in Belize. They take in injured iguanas from the jungle and rehabilitate them, prep them for living on their own again, and send them back out into the wild. It’s completely funded by the individuals who stop in to see and play with them! They love to climb all over you.
And we rounded out the day with more hiking around Mayan ruins! This time we were in Cahal Pech. You guys know I like hiking but what you don’t know is I also like climbing on things! . At Cahal Pech the ruins were much more moss-covered than Caracol and because it had been raining on and off all day so the rocks were super slippery. I think I have some sort of little person complex though (I’m 5’1″) because despite the danger I still felt the need to climb to the top of the tallest structure there and take in the view. You can hardly see it, but that’s me up there!
Climbing down was terrifying and I wouldn’t let my sister climb up for fear of her slipping (you’re welcome, Mom) but luckily I made it out of there in tact. I guess I forgot to take any fun food pictures this day but I remember we had some tasty barbecue chicken at lunch! The next day we took off for Guatemala where we had this view every night.
This view is of the island of Flores. We actually stayed in San Miguel which is across the lake from Flores but spent the majority of our time there on the island of Flores. Our first lunch there was beef tacos with freshly made corn tortillas, guacamole, and salsa.
And for the evening we were surprised with a special treat! The island of Flores was in the middle of a week long celebration of their town Saint so we got the parade, festival, and fireworks every night! And as you know with a festival comes festival foods. So disclaimer- the Pearl and Sassy approved-ness of these foods is questionable. When in Guatemala I chose to do as Guatemalans do. I am lucky that I do not have food allergies and therefore have the ability to be more flexible with my food choices. That being said, there are certain foods (the big ones being gluten and vegetable oils) that I avoid because I feel like crap after eating them and that is no fun, especially when traveling. These may not be the best choices but it’s not every day I have the opportunity to eat authentic Guatemalan food! Warning: these pictures are awful and make some of the foods look gross but it was dark out so the lighting wasn’t best. So without further ado, on to the festival foods!
Corn tortilla taquitos and their fixings
Fried plantains (fried in coconut oil, I asked).
I have no idea what this was. It had some sort of pork and veggie mixture on the inside, was fried in coconut oil, and topped with red sauce and cheese. And it was probably one of the most delicious things I ate in Guatemala.
And finally, dessert of fresh fruit!
Don’t worry, guys. I didn’t eat all this on my own. My sister and our new friend Kat and I shared it. The pork thing was also Kat’s favorite and my sister loved the fried plantains. I love that their idea of dessert is fruit!
The next day we went to explore the ruins in Tikal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest sites of Pre-Columbian Mayans. We chose to do an early morning trip, leaving at 3 am. Why would we do such a crazy thing? Ya’ll know how much I love my sleep but heading to Tikal at 3 am meant making a trek into the grounds and a climb to the top of the tallest structure in the city to watch the sunrise over the jungle. Sounds amazing, right?
*insert womp womp womp*
It poured on us the whole time. It was so foggy we could hardly see the part of the forest that was directly in front of the temple we were sitting on. Even the sounds of the wildlife were dulled because of the rain. I’m not complaining, though. After the sun came up, albeit behind the clouds, we still got to wander around an ancient civilization and learn all about their culture.
By the time we got done it was actually about lunch time and we hadn’t eaten anything but banana chips all morning so we were starving! We had a brunch of eggs topped with salsa, mashed black beans, and friend plantains. I’m not sure what was sticking out of the black beans so I didn’t eat them. I think they were fried tortillas. I know the picture looks gross but it was actually really good.
And lucky for me it was the perfect time of day to grab a book and relax by the pool for the rest of the day.
By this point, all of our jungle explorations and traveling from place to place had us tuckered out so we decided our next day would be all about resting before we headed back to Belize. My absolute favorite part about traveling is sitting somewhere and drinking coffee while enjoying the view. This one was particularly good…
This was the day I had my favorite meal of the whole trip. Those of you who follow me on instagram already saw this. It was a white fish caught from the lake you see in the picture above with vegetables and rice in a yellow curry sauce. And it tasted like Jesus’ tears.
Stay tuned to see the final part of my travels and ALL THE SEAFOOD.