Land Rover and Cave...
Carnival Dream Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western
Ship: Carnival Dream
Cabin Type: Oceanview
Traveled As: Large Group
Reviewed: 6 years ago
Land Rover and Cave Expedition - Carnival Dream - Belize Port of Call
Since we had already visited Belize before our cruise on the Dream, we decided to take the Cave and Land Rover Expedition instead of a city tour. It sounded adventure and a change of pace. We were not disappointed.
Early on the appointed morning, we checked in at the Encore! Theater to receive our tour sticker and await the announcement of the tour. It was the first tour called and I was so excited that I was first out of the theater, leading the tour group down the stairs into the awaiting tender. The tender took us to the dock in Belize which was fairly far away. It was a fun ride and I was able to get good shots of the Dream so keep your camera ready. We were met by the first of several guides. After everyone used the facilities on the dock, we were divided into two groups of 21 people. The other group took the tour in reverse.
Our group proceeded to a van parked a short distance away. We were driven on a brand new road on the outskirts of the city with the guide giving us a commentary on what we were seeing. The city looked more developed than when we last visited. Soon we were outside the city limits and into the country. We could see mountains in the distance and yes, the guide replied to my question that was where we were headed for the cave portion. As we got closer to the mountains, we left the paved road and traveled on a dirt road. After a few minutes on the very narrow dirt road, we had a accident. Another car from the opposite direction tried to share the same road with us and our bumpers hit. Oh no! No one was hurt and we were soon on our way again, headed to Base Camp at Gracy Rock. We left most of our belongings in provided lockers with locks, used the facilities, then met our next guide - a local native -who would accompany us through the cave. After being issued complementary bottled water, we gingerly walked on the foot suspension bridge that swayed as we crossed the wide river below. We hiked maybe -1/2 mile, stopping every few minutes, learning about the various vegetation that we saw and the medicinal uses of each. We also identified poisonous plants. The walk was over uneven surfaces, muddy also. Eventually, we climbed a short but steep incline to reach the cave. It was a wide opening and we all gathered around the guide for instructions. We learned that the cave was once used by the Mayans and found evidence of this inside. We were issued a small battery-operated light and then proceeded single file through the pitch black cave. We stopped many times to rest, take photographs and keep the group together. At one point we had to climb over a big rock but everyone helped one another. Soon we were squeezing sideways between the stalagmites, stalactites on the walls of the cave, keeping an eye on the many small bats hanging on the cave walls. Deep into the cave we had to stoop in spots. It soon got quite warm and humid inside. After close to an hour, we finally felt a breeze and cooler temperatures as we wound our way out of the cave. With some slipping and sliding we descended to the jungle floor proceeded to walk back to Gracy Rock. After a quick clean up with running water, we then rested for a bit.
We were asked to divide ourselves into smaller groups for the Land Rover Ride. Dave Brown, a fireman and his wife Carol joined us in our vehicle. It was a very rough, curvy and muddy ride going single file on dirt roads and jungle trails. After a half hour, we switched drivers, drove on a paved portion for a bit and then back on the dirt road and jungle trails. After another half hour, we arrived at The Landing - a secluded farm by the river. We drank rum punch other beverages enjoyed a variety of fresh fruit. More substantial home-cooked food was available at nominal cost along with local crafts and jewelry.
After restroom visits, we boarded our high-speed open motor boat that traveled for 45 minutes along a stream through the jungle out into the Caribbean Sea, finally landing at the Belize Dock. Along the way we stopped often to view photograph iguanas, crocodiles, birds and turtles. We had time to visit the new shops at the dock before re-boarding our tender back to the ship. We were very tired at the end of the day from the early wake-up, the activity and I guess the excitement.
I highly recommend this tour to everyone who has the stamina for it and can drive a stick shift on uneven dirt roads. My advice if you take the trip - use sunscreen, bring bug repellant (I didn't need it but others did.) Wear closed-toe shoes like sneakers to protect your feet. Expect your shoes to get a bit muddy. You also need this footwear for driving the Land Rovers. Don't forget your drivers license. Have fun! It was a super, super experience.