We settled in to our new lodgings on the farm, and then made the trek to San Ignacio, down some very steep hills and over the Hawksworth Bridge, which, modeled on the Brooklyn Bridge, is the only suspension bridge in the country. It is hard to describe the town. My first impression was of chaos, people bustling along, cars and jeeps coming from every direction, mulit-coloured buildings all crowded in on each other. It seemed to me disorganized and unattractive, but very soon, I began to get a feel for it and in the end, found it quite charming, in a chaotic kind of way!
It is the centre point for all kinds of adventures, and you could stay for weeks taking a new tour or trip every day. Jungle, mountains, caves, waterfalls, and of course, the reason for our visit, Mayan ruins. We decided to forgo organised tours and do those two sites that are accessible by public transport.
But for day one, we just checked out the town, visited the tourist info, and sat for a lovely dinner of nachos and ceviche at a restaurant on Burns Avenue, watching people go by.
The walk home was 20 minutes of pure exertion and we were delighted to reach the cabana. There, Anu had more than enough space to explore, and as it was fairly well baby-proofed, we could really relax.
San Ignacio - Cahal Pech July 8
Our first full day in San Ignacio and after breakfast and our chat to Janet, daughter Noami, granddaughter Kayla, and Abbey (from Korea), we walked into town, past the farms and down the extremely steep hill. After lunch of the local speciality, chicken, coconut rice, beans and fried plantain, we took a taxi up another hill to Cahel Pech. Our first Mayan ruin. We left the stroller at the entrance and popped Anu in the baby carrier and off we went. The first plaza was full of activity, with sections of three of the structures covered with scaffolding and tarp, and volunteers and archeologists busy at work. A burial chamber had recently been discovered with a number of skeletons and other artifacts. We passed by and went to the next plaza, which was quite with just a few visitors around. We climbed up and down numerous steps. While it is not very big, it is still very impressive, particularly as it sits surrounded by jungle. It was the residence of an important family and has about 20 buildings, a palace and ball court. There were really thick walls, shaped at the top to allow for the king to pass with huge ceremonial headdress, chambers for meditation and religious activities.
We climbed the highest building, some feat in flip flops with a baby strapped to you, one who fell asleep almost the moment we got there.
When finished,we walked 30 minutes back down hill, to a well deserved beer before heading off uphill again to the farm.