Posts Tagged ‘Southern Highway Belize’


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“Nim Li Punit”  I had to say it a few times to get the pronunciation right. But getting right to these spectacular Mayan ruins wasn’t much of a problem. After a quick drive from Placencia down the Southern Highway, we finally saw the sign to take a right up a long steep unpaved hill. Stopping to make sure the Land Rover was locked in 4×4 low before climbing the hill to get to the site, we admired the beauty of the all the thatched roofed homes we passed. Southern Belize is truly Mayan country. Additionally tourism is new to this region, and you will be seeing sites and experiencing nature and cultures as few have.

Although the drive is less than a mile after turning off the highway, driving up to the entrance of the site is quite steep. However, the view from the top is quite rewarding, with a clear view of the Caribbean to the east and the Mayan mountains in the backdrop of the ruins.

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Not as impressive as Lubaantun, Altun Ha, or Xunantunich, Nim Li Punit still holds it’s own and is totally worth checking out. It will make a great side trip if you’re making your way to Punta Gorda, or any other points south in the Toledo district. We love Southern Belize as it is virtually under developed and untouched. There are seven major parks and reserves in the Toledo district, and all are protected and pristine. Rainforests, estuarine environments, and protected forest abound with incredible biodiversity. There are a variety of caves, sinkholes and waterfalls  that are scattered beneath the forest canopy throughout the district as well.

Nim Li Punit was discovered in 1976. It’s not a very large site and can be fully explored in about an hour. Many Mayan archaeological sites are unexcavated and largely undiscovered in southern Belize. Nim Li Punit and Lubaantun are the only Mayan sites in Toledo that have tourist facilities.  We enjoyed exploring the site and were the only ones there when we arrived. The tranquility, the wildlife, the location, it’s easy to reset your mind to imagine a when the site was in its heyday. Make plans to visit, you’ll be glad you did.You can get more detailed information here:   http://southernbelize.com/nimli.html

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Well actually there is no route 66 in Southern Belize, but we thought the title was catchy. See, we decided to explore southern Belize today. We were headed to a town called Punta Gorda or PG. The trip started out a little rainy, but by the time we reached PG, the sun was beaming. Our first stop as we entered the little sea side town was a local bakery where we enjoyed muffins and breakfast sandwiches. We got directions to the local farmers market in town. This is where the local Belizean, and Guatemalans sold their fruits, vegetables, and wares. We picked up some amazing fruits and vegetables and observed the locals conducting business. This is a great little town! An absolute must see if you are ever in the area.

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We loaded back Into the butane powered Land Rover and headed for the chocolate farm in San Felipe. As we wound down the pot hole stricken dirt road, we couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty of the surrounding area. Vine covered signs pointed us in the right direction.
We pulled into the grass parking lot of the building and sign welcoming us to IXcacao.

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We feel anything with “cao” in the name is worth checking out. Juan met us and welcomed us to his family owned chocolate farm . He said lunch was almost ready. We were to have chocolate flavored chicken! That was a first for us. Juan introduced his wife who was preparing the meal as he showed us around.
Before we knew it, we were sitting at a table smelling the aroma of the gourmet meal being prepared. We were served 100% cacao in a hot chocolate style drink. It is the way many generations of this Mayan family drank the sweet nectar. Next we were served pure cacao chocolate candies, all before our meal! That’s what I call an appetizer! Then came the main meal. The chicken was some of the most tasty chicken, I had ever eaten. There was yellow ginger rice, pumpkin, tomatoes, cucumbers, and collard greens! A real feast, all organically grown right on their family farm. It was great! Next we were shown how the cacao beans were shelled and ground by hand, just like it had been done for generations. The grinding stones were handed down through the generations and had been at least 4 generations before Juan and his family received the very ones we used today. It was a great experience and a deal at $20 for the tour and meal. A chocolate festival is scheduled for May 2014. We will definitely be back!

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