Trip Report: Cayo
After the first car broke down on itís way to get us and the second got stuck in traffic because of the political parades, we finally were picked up at the Municipal airport. No problem mon. We still had time for our stop at the Zoo. April the tapir got up when we came near the enclosure, she walked right up to us and posed for pictures. The black jaguar did the same thing. Way too cool!
We got the far side of the river at Banana Bank Lodge and waited for someone to bring the boat across. While we were waiting, a pet bushdog came sniffing for treats. It was great watching our driver go in one end of the car to chase him out and seeing the bushdog go to the other end. As soon as we got into the boat, we saw a Grison on the other side. He greeted us at the dock. (Grison are members of the weasel family, similar to river otters). After we stowed our luggage, Mr. Carr came to introduce himself. I told him that my girls REALLY liked horses (the Carrs have about 80). He said letís go see some then. We hopped into the Toyota van and drove past the orange orchard and into the teak orchard. He saw some Howler monkeys at the edge of the jungle, so went off-road to get a closer look. Yee Haw! Then he told his men to start the round up. Horses were running alongside the van and Mr. Carr stopped to let the girls out for a photo op. Too too cool! Next he said that they should have a little ride (not included in our package). He asked if I wanted to also, I said naw. I was thinking it would be a few minutes in an arena or round pen. He found out what color horses the girls liked and had them waiting for us. The girls mounted up and followed the gaucho out through a fence and into the jungle!
The meals are served family style at BB. The third time Oreo the Grison snuck into the dining room, he was given to the night watchman for a trip to the river. The food was fantastic and my picky kids ate all of it. Mr. Carr was a wonderful host and very unobtrusively attentive to detail. The cabana we stayed in was lovely and all made of local materials. Our beds had fans and lights inside the mosquito netting. The palapa roof was neat even in the rain.
We all went on a horseback ride through the jungle. It was wild! We kept crossing back and forth over a creek that had very, very steep sides of deep clay mud. At one point going down, I was completely vertical. My youngest reached her limit about 2/3 of the way and said she was done. I worried the former cowboy from Montana, Mr. Carr would try to be tough with her; he said ďIíll take you backĒ. When the rest of us got back to the ranch, Mr. Carr and my daughter performed ď15 Miles on the Erie CanalĒ. They had been practicing that on the way back. She also got to help him round up some of the horses.
The next day we toured Cayo West. We started at Xunantunich, which was crawling with cruise ship passengers. Our tour guide was great at avoiding the crowds. Next was the butterfly farm. It was small and friendly. We had lunch in San Ignacio, and then went to Cahal Pech. This ruin is in town. There is an interpretive center but there was no one to escort us. That was great. My girls ran wild. They climbed an unexcavated temple and slid down it (hey, they canít do much more damage than 1000 years of jungle). They tried to find the most difficult routes up and down the buildings. The pretended to play a Maya ball game in the ball court and they had an impromptu concert at the top of the Castillo.
Back at the ranch, they pet horses, watched a racing stallion stretch his legs a bit, took pictures of the resident jaguar, Tika and the birds and monkeys. And we saw Carolyn Carrís beautiful artwork.
We had just gone to our cabana the last night there when Carolyn came and told us the stars were out, did we want to look through the telescope? Out in the jungle night we went to see Saturn with its rings and Jupiterís moons. The fireflies looked like strobe lights in the trees and an owl added his two cents.
The Carrs were the most wonderful hosts and their place is fantastic. Itís amazing how at home and comfortable you can feel in the Central American jungle with very little hot water. We WILL go back again someday.