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Another Belize Adventure Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00

In July of this year the Belize Tourism Board took journalists from the local press on a familiarization trip to Southern Belize in an effort to promote domestic tourism. From Thursday, December 5th, to Sunday, December 8th, BTB hosted a second familiarization trip for the local press to visit destinations in Cayo, Belize City and Ambergris Caye.

The expedition was launched at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday as journalists from Belize City and Ambergris Caye boarded a Belize Transit Services bus at the BTB headquarters on Regent Street. The team, led by BTB’s Media Relations Manager, Andrea Polanco, headed west to San Ignacio, Cayo. The first stop on the tour was the Black Rock Lodge which is about four and a half miles west of San Ignacio Town. On the right hand side of the George Price Highway (heading towards Benque) there is a “Block Rock River Lodge” sign at the entrance to a dirt road.

The recent rains have put a pounding on the seven mile stretch of dirt road and the short drive is a scary one. The bus swerved cross and cross the muddy road and huge rocks crashed viciously between the wheels. As the driver battled to maneuver the bus through the treacherous terrain the ladies on the trip fought to hold in their screams. There were a couple interruptions in the screaming competition when the bus passed a couple impromptu waterfalls cascading down the hills at the side of the road, no doubt formed as a result of the record breaking rainfall in the last two months. The scary travel through the off road climaxed at the end where a steep fall led to the edge of a cliff. At this point even the men were screaming. Everyone soon learnt however that the trip was worth it as the Lodge proved to be all it was hyped up to be. The Black Rock Lodge rests within the majestic Maya Mountains and overlooks the pristine Macal River. According to Giovanni Fernandez, Tour Manager of Black Rock Lodge, it is possible to sight over 200 species of birds from the 250 acre property.  Canoeing, river tubing, bird watching, guided hikes and mountain biking are only a few of the many activities offered at the Lodge. Black Rock Lodge’s management takes pride in it being an “eco-lodge”. The electricity for the cabins is produced at the site using a micro-hydro and solar power system. The water is supplied by a nearby mountain spring. Wastewater is processed through a system using plants and aerobic activity to recycle and return to the river. Belizeans can get a room for as low as $70 a night at the Black Rock River Lodge. After touring the property the group had lunch before departing for Windy Hills Resort where we would stay the night.

The relaxing atmosphere at Windy Hills Resort provided the perfect setting for conversation and formation of friendships between colleagues. Around the time the sun was setting, everyone gathered around the pool and exchanged stories and jokes. Windy Hills is a perfect place for a group retreat. It is located in a quiet tropical setting that is perfect for reflection but it also provides modern amenities. The resort consists of 25 private cottages and also has a recreation room, fitness center dining room and swimming pool. The air conditioned cottages have flat screen television and high definition cable channels. Leaving the resort is difficult but the group had to do so Thursday evening for dinner at Fuego Bar and Grill in the heart of San Ignacio Town. The team at Fuego Bar and Grill gives you a warm feeling like you have been there before. The service is great and the décor is impressive. The food is average but the price is reasonable. I would recommend the fried plantain chips and special sauce for appetizer, baby back ribs for main course and, if you have space, the guava cheesecake for dessert.

Most of us had grand plans for a night out in San Ignacio but after such a filling meal those plans were aborted for nothing seemed better than surrendering to the soft bedding at Windy Hills. Friday would be another long day. The schedule included a stop at the Green Hills Butterfly Ranch and Botanical Garden (eight miles in from United Ville), a horse and carriage tour of Belize City, Visit to Belize Museum, and tours of Travellers Limited and Belikin Brewery with Brew Master Nolan Michaels. Details on those adventures in next week’s paper.