On a lazy Sunday when Runa was arriving, Alex and I decided to stay near Caves Branch. The inland Blue Hole (not to be confused with the more famous Blue Hole in the ocean) was right across the street after we walked out to the main road. A quick breakfast….
And an made-to-order omelet later….
We hurried across the road between oncoming traffic and off a bit to the south was the Blue Hole National Park.
Bring these items –
bug spray, swimsuit, towel, water-proof camera, headlamp, water, snacks if you plan on staying for a duration (but I think about 3-5 hours is plenty here depending on how much hiking and swimming you want to do).
Insane mass of green jungle on either side of the highway surrounded us… it was such an amazing difference from the desserts of Utah. It was probably a 15 minute in total from Caves Branch. If you walked fast (without the photo-taking we did), it’s probably 7-10 minutes.
We paid the kind Warden at the Post, $4US per person… and he gave us an informational overview of the park.
Based on his recommendation, we took the short 30 minute hike through Hummingbird Loop first before heading over for a swim.
Salt Lake City’s average elevation is approximately 4,000 to 5,000 feet depending on whereabouts you are…. Belize’s highest point is just above 1,000 feet. Needless to say, Alex and I found this hike pretty tame… there was maybe an elevation gain of 200 feet? Easy peasy, yo!
Awesome jungle setting…..
And surprisingly well-maintained trails…
I liked the funky mushroom growth…
Ah yes, we wore long sleeves…. you know…. jungle = mosquitoes and other bloodsuckers (aside from vampires).
It was mostly green jungle all through the hike, but it was fun as an introduction to the mass jungle of Belize for us… After the quick stroll, we went down the stairs to the swimming hole!
The water was gorgeous…. like all the water we saw here, piercing blues!
Since there was a couple on the other side of the hole, we decided to explore this cave off to the left first…
Good thing Alex brought his headlamp… he ventured a bit further than I did into that cave…
A headlamp being one of the reasons I didn’t go as far…. and the other being lots, LOTS of bats…
As the couple left, we moved over the to other side… a larger area and deeper for swimming.
Still, probably not safe for diving…
Around 11:30am-ish, we got ready to head back to Caves Branch for lunch. Oh the way out, we saw these signs…. here’s how the Blue Hole was formed….
Before we left, we picked up a receipt from the Warden for our proof of payment – it also included the other side of the park, St. Herman’s cave. We wanted to head over after lunch….
Yummy burrito with thousand island dressing topped salad and pineapple juice! Food and great conversation with the Caves Branch staff got us ready to go. We headed back to the bungalow for a quick change where we came back to this towel animal!
Cute, but it’s wearing Alex’s glasses…. that were in the case….
Moving on… we walked back out to Hummingbird Highway to head north towards St. Herman’s Cave.
This walk took much longer…
About a mile and a half “around the bend” was where the Cave entrance sat….
A very kind couple with a pick-up grabbed us for our last tenth of a mile and dropped us off at the entrance of the park, aww…
Bring these items -
headlamp, hiking shoes, bug spray, camera, water, flashlight if you want extra light, extra batteries in case your electronics die (it’s very dark in the cave)
A quick chat with the ranger here and we decided on taking the Lowland trail to the Cave… about an hour-long stroll?
This path reminded me of Alice in Wonderland… when she gets stuck in the maze….
We were surrounding by walls of green most of the way down….
Then up the stairs to go up to the cave….
Then down the stairs to enter the cave…
You were actually only able to go up to a certain point without a guide… I think it was about 600 yards?
Basically to where you see that shiny reflective blur – it’s a sign saying stop here. So we turned around and went back after a few photos….
Then on the way back, we took the Hiland Trail…
It was about 10 minutes longer because of a slight elevation, but both are pretty easy hikes – very little elevation gain on the Lowland Trail, maybe 50-100 feet gain on the Hiland Trail is my guess.
This was the main difference between the trails… the views.
After the hike back to Caves Branch, we met Runa on her way in from the airport. The rest of the day was spent at the pool over rum. End of day three.