Xunantunich – December 7, 2010


Although I had heard that the power occasionally went out in Belize unannounced, my 7th day there was the first time it had.  I woke to silence.  I headed to the resort cabana to see if it was just my room or the entire resort.  It wasn’t just my room, so I chatted with Roy and Doris from Wyoming before walking to town.  I purchased breakfast at the French Bakery, but the power was out there too so the selection was limited.  I then walked over to Pacz Tours and ate my breakfast while chatting with Bob.  I told him I wanted to go to Xunantunich, so he hooked me up with a cheap cab (you have to look for the ones that have BOV on their license plates) instead of those lined up in the usual area.

Everyone asks, so I might as well answer the question now…it’s pronounced shoe-nan-tu-nich.

I arrived at the Mopan River crossing, about 9am, where a hand-cranked ferry took me across.  I opted to walk to the ruin rather than take the cab up the hill.  I didn’t realize how eerie the walk up the road would feel.  I kind of assumed that other people would be walking up there or at least cars would pass me once in a while, but nope.  It was just me and the cows and at one point a group of fully armed military guys jogging down the hill.

It didn’t seem any less eerie when I arrived at the ruin.  There were a few people where I paid my entrance fee, but then I was all alone amongst the towering structures.  Well…almost alone…there was a guy with a machete hacking brush off of one of the hills that had not been excavated yet.  I hiked up the tallest structure and sat down for a bit to enjoy the cool breeze.  I could see the jungle of Guatemala from there as well as the city of San Ignacio.

Xunantunich seemed smaller or less excavated than the other ruins I had visited.  The name Xunantunich means ‘Stone Lady’.  Most of the structures date from the Maya Classic area of 200 to 900 BC.  There is some evidence that Xunantunich was struck by an earthquake while it was inhabited and that earthquake may have been the reason it was abandoned.  My favorite part of Xunantunich was the preserved frieze (see the pictures…amazing).

I realized that without a guide I didn’t get the rich history that I had at some of the other sites, but I still enjoyed Xunantunich very much.

After the self-guided tour, I headed back down the hill to catch the Mopan ferry but when I got there the ferry attendant decided to take a break so I hung out while he pulled out a milk crate to sit on and read.  I didn’t mind…I was in Belize after all.

Next on my agenda for the day was lunch at Cahal Peche Resort.  I had originally debated about staying there so I wanted to check it out.  It was beautiful, but in the long run I was happy with my decision to stay at Midas Resort.  Cahal Peche Resort is on a hill and has a great view, but I enjoy walking when on vacation and that hill would have been too daunting.  As for lunch, I had to wait a bit for the cook to get back from running errands.  Like most resorts in this area, guests were out and about during the day.  The power was also still out, but since they are somewhat use to it, they have propane stoves and ovens.  The waiter told me that he heard a construction team was the cause of the power outage.

I eventually got lunch and paid $10BZ to hang out at their pool for the day.  I enjoyed lying in the sunshine, but the water was very cold…I mean refreshing.

I walked down the very long hill to town and just happened to find Caroline and Rachel at Mr. Greedys.  The highlight was me ordering a rootbeer and them both trying it.  Rachel’s reaction was so classic, she made a face as if she had just tasted one of the worse things ever.  I don’t suspect either of them will drink rootbeer again.

I tried to do some gift buying, but there really wasn’t much to choose from.  I did at least find a thimble for my collection.  Eventually I headed back to Midas for the rest of the afternoon.

For my last dinner in San Ignacio I picked my go-to place, Hodes, again.  I just had to have their yummy rice and beans and tortillas one more time.

I finished packing and although I was sad to be leaving San Ignacio, I was very excited to be heading to Caye Caulker.

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