River tubing in Belize is a must do

One of the must-do outdoor adventures in Belize, for children as well as adults — besides spelunking, climbing Mayan temples, kayaking, diving off the Belize Barrier Reef, rappelling into rainforests or hiking mountains — is river or cave tubing.

The most popular and ideal river for tubing, with some of the most beautiful surrounding landscape, is the Caves Branch River, in the western district of Cayo. It’s a tour you can sign up for from any of the major tourist areas in Belize such as San Pedro or Cayo.

My first experience cave tubing was unlike any I’ve ever had in adventure travel. It felt like we had one giant natural amusement park all to ourselves.

The trip began with a bumpy, fun ride to the mouth of the jungle, followed by a short hike to get to the river, all while carrying a rubber inner tube over the shoulder.

Once I entered the cool river–about 70 degrees chilly–I sat in my tube, leaning back on the thicker side of it and placing my legs over the front. Once safely “seated” over the booey, life jacket on, headlamp switched on, the ride with my group began. And what a ride it was!

Using our hands to paddle across the river and passing through ancient, echoing Mayan caves and thick rainforest, we could barely catch our breath between the oohs and aahs, all while trying to avoid bumping into a rock and falling out of our tubes (which, eventually, I did).

Luckily, the guides are very hands on and keep an eye on the group, so there’s nothing to worry about, as long as you’re a strong swimmer. All you have to do, is go with the flow and follow the rapids and the waves. And of course, enjoy the views all around you.

It’s an ideal activity for families and groups of friends, and is a complete blast as you watch everyone cascading through one giant natural park.

If you can at all, bring a waterproof camera to squeeze in snapshots of some of the most stunning outdoor scenery you’ll see in Belize.

by Lebawit Lily Girma