A Travellerspoint blog

St. Herman's Cave and the OTHER Blue Hole

Driving the Hummingbird HIghway


View 1998 Belize, Tikal, Atlanta, and Cozumel & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Sunday 8 March 1998

Bob trekked the stuff to the car and we checked out of Tradewinds. Janice was really angry at some excursion people who were invading her property with the intention of picnicking. We got gas and we stopped at the grocery for more water, bread and oranges. Drove up to mile 37 of the Hummingbird Highway
Hummingbird Highway

Hummingbird Highway

675663-Approaching_a_one_lane_bridge_Belize.jpgApproaching a one lane bridge

Approaching a one lane bridge

There it is

There it is


Another one

Another one


before the road deteriorated - passed Mr. Martin's truck on the way.
large_42234538667173-paved_road_on..ia_Village.jpg
675667-Old_Hummingbird_Highway_Belize.jpgHalf paved Hummingbird Highway

Half paved Hummingbird Highway

735c1830-ea75-11ea-add8-29f561f54031.JPGInformation and map BHNP

Information and map BHNP


We stopped at Blue Hole park headquarters.
Blue Hole National Park ticket

Blue Hole National Park ticket


There are three entrances to the park which is twelve miles southeast of Belmopan on the Hummingbird Highway. This puts it in the Cayo District, and not in Stann Creek or Belize Districts as I would have guessed.
Blue Hole brochure

Blue Hole brochure


The ranger marked the trail on the brochure,
Marked trail

Marked trail

Rules for Blue Hole NP

Rules for Blue Hole NP


but we elected not to walk from the headquarters to the cave. We used their composting toilet.
Directions for the Composting toilet

Directions for the Composting toilet


large_c2ea4240-ea35-11ea-a2a2-479f0def8f3b.jpg
St. Herman's cave is part of the Blue Hole National Park (BHNP). It is located 400 meters from the Hummingbird Highway.
St Herman's Cave part of the brochure

St Herman's Cave part of the brochure


From the website:
"The cave has archaeological importance. Pottery vessels, used for the collection of "Zuh uy Ha" or virgin water from cave drippings, along with spears and torches, have been removed from St. Herman's Cave for study by the Department of Archaeology in Belmopan. Thanks to the Belize Government, permission has been granted to BHNP visitors, admitting them to St. Herman's Cave without the usual permits required for entering caves. Permission must still be obtained from the Department of Archaeology to enter Mountain Cow and Petroglyph Caves, which are beyond the border of BHNP."
Path

Path


The cave is a large sinkhole, 60 meters wide, funneling to a 20 meter entrance which is part of a lattice of sinkholes, caverns and creeks. We walked 1/2 mile to cave and then down the steps and part way in. To make it easier for visitors, concrete steps have been built over the steps made by the Maya who used the cave during the Classic Period (0- 900A.D.).
From inside the cave looking out

From inside the cave looking out

Stalactites

Stalactites

large_2449053-Another_picture_San_Ignacio.jpgStalactites and Stalagmites

Stalactites and Stalagmites


A surge of cool, damp air can be felt when you approach, in contrast to the high temperatures outside.
It was nice and cool in the cave. My camera lenses and my glasses fogged up. It was also really dark.
Inside the cave, the camera flash doesn't go far

Inside the cave, the camera flash doesn't go far


We used a dive light as a flashlight, but we didn't go back much beyond where we could see the entrance as we didn't have a guide and weren't sure we could find our way back to the entrance.
Blue Hole section of the brochure

Blue Hole section of the brochure


Then went back and went to the Blue Hole. The Blue Hole is a popular recreational spot, where water on its way from a tributary to the Sibun River, emerges from a collapsed karst sinkhole. The pool, from which the park receives its name, is a beautiful sapphire blue that is about twenty-five feet deep. After a short run through a natural jungle setting, the stream disappears into a large underwater cavern.
Faintly Blue Hole

Faintly Blue Hole


When we were there, the blue wasn't very pronounced, and it was way shallower than 25 feet, but Belize WAS in the middle of a drought.I had to change into my bathing suit in the latrine because there was no other place to do it. This was quite cramped.

I took some pictures with the snorkel camera but it was quite dark
large_x37301_26.JPGBlue Hole Fish (taken with a snorkeling camera)

Blue Hole Fish (taken with a snorkeling camera)


and these pictures are extremely poor quality. The photos of me
Me floating in the Blue Hole

Me floating in the Blue Hole

Me getting out of the Blue Hole

Me getting out of the Blue Hole


were taken by Bob with a primitive point and shoot camera with no settings for exposure.

It is very cold water - too cold for Bob to do more than paddle his feet, but I loved it (it was a fairly hot day).
Bob sitting on the stairs watching me

Bob sitting on the stairs watching me


Trails in the park

Trails in the park

Animals in the park

Animals in the park


After I finished swimming we had a picnic lunch.

We drove to Clarissa Falls arriving about 3.
Clarissa Falls bus stop out by the highway

Clarissa Falls bus stop out by the highway


This is a working farm. It has a camping area, a trailer park, animal sanctuary and cabins (mostly made of mahogany and thatch) which either have a private bath or don't. There are community bathrooms and showers for those who don't have private baths. The cabins were on the river. Many people swim in the river. (I swam in the river.) It is also possible to ride horseback, go tubing or floating in the river, or get a canoe or kayak and go boating. There is a charge of $1 for the sanctuary
large_IMG_2910.JPGClarissa Falls brochure

Clarissa Falls brochure

Map

Map


Chena was extremely helpful and welcoming, and we were sorry not to have more time there. The electricity was off because of low water in the river. As we arrived, we had a flat tire.
Our car parked in the shade

Our car parked in the shade


Bob unloaded the car after he fixed the flat.
Double cabin

Double cabin

There was an unfortunate arrangement of the bathrooms so that our bathroom backed up to the other side's bedroom. So they could hear us and we could hear them doing whatever we were doing in there, and when in there could hear what they were doing in the bedroom if anything. They were speaking a language that I didn't know, so perhaps they couldn't understand us either.
"Closet" behind entrance door

"Closet" behind entrance door


We had a double and a single bed, and there were several places to hang things and hangers.
3424731-Beds_fan_and_window_Cayo_District.jpgSingle and double bed  fan and window

Single and double bed fan and window


There were two windows with shutters (but no screens or glass), and a fan. There were no insects so we didn't miss having screens and we never needed the fan.

Prices from their website as of 2005
Corner of the camping area with some of the vehicles and tent in the camping area

Corner of the camping area with some of the vehicles and tent in the camping area


Camping ..............$7.50 per person
Bunk House ......$15.00 per person
Cottages ...........$37.50 per person
Suites ........................ $175 per suite
Student rates available and vary according to size of group.
Room and 3 meals available for aprox: ....... $42.80 per person
Please note all bathrooms on the premises have hot and cold showers,and fans in the rooms
Bathrooms

Bathrooms


After we checked in, we explored the property.
Mahogany thatched cabins

Mahogany thatched cabins


large_ad320b40-ea76-11ea-add8-29f561f54031.JPGThings to do at Clarissa Falls

Things to do at Clarissa Falls


I had another swim in the river and then showered. We came up for dinner
Tourists prayer from Clarissa Falls

Tourists prayer from Clarissa Falls


This was posted in the restaurant - it is taken from something Art Buchwald wrote. It says

Prayer for Tourists

Heavenly Father, look down on us, Your humble obedient tourist servants whoare doomed to travel this earth, taking photographs, mailing post cards,buying souvenirs and walking around in drip-dry underwear

Give us this day divine guidance in the selection of our hotels that we may find our reservations honored, our rooms made up and hot water running from the taps

We pray that the telephones work and that the operators speak our tongue

Lead us, Lord, to good, inexpensive restaurants where the food is superb, the waiters friendly and the wine included in the price of the meal.

Give us the wisdom to tip correctly in currencies we do not understand. Forgive us for under-tipping out of ignorance and over-tipping out of fear.

Make the natives love us for what we are, and not for what we can contribute to their worldly goods.

Grant us the strength to visit the museums, the cathedrals, the palaces and the castles listed as "musts" in the guide books. And if, perchance, we skip an historic monument to take a nap after lunch, have mercy on us for our flesh is weak.

For Husbands Only

Dear God, keep our wives from shopping sprees and protect them from "bargains" they don’t need or can’t afford. Lead them not into temptation for they know not what they do.

For Wives Only

Almighty Father, keep our husbands from looking at foreign women and comparing them to us. Save them from making fools of themselves in cafes and nightclubs. Above all, please do not forgive them their trespasses for they know exactly what they do.

There is also a restaurant and a full bar which is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Our accommodation included 3 breakfasts and one dinner.
Restaurant

Restaurant

Cats sleeping on the restaurant floor

Cats sleeping on the restaurant floor


They have a limited menu (it is always the same and is on a plastic card), but everything is cooked fresh to order. There were lots of vegetarian selections. Dinner is about US$23 US for two and includes spaghetti dishes, rice dishes, seafood, sliced beef, etc. I didn't write down what we had this night, but we both apparently had the same thing.
Bob going down the steps from the restaurant

Bob going down the steps from the restaurant


Electricity was restored about 6:45 pm. Went to bed after dinner.

Expenses in US$
$15.63 gas - 6.3 gal (2/3 tank)
9.00 Blue hole 2 admissions
0.50 coke
3.00groceries
unk Clarissa Falls cabin ($37.50?) and dinner - included in our coupon (about $23)
$28.13 Total, US$

Posted by greatgrandmaR 12:42 Archived in Belize Tagged river cave blue_hole cayo_district clarissa_falls

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Comments

Strange place for an lavatory, I wouldn't mind walking a little bit farther if that means that I could have some privacy (both in toilet and in bedroom too)..

Blue Hole must have been refreshing when the weather is so hot, as the swimming in the river :)

Belize seems really interesting!

by hennaonthetrek

Which lavatory did you think was strange? The composting toilet was in the park headquarters building. I didn't have any other interior bathroom photos. The double cabins all had adjoining bathrooms with a wall that didn't go all the way up to the roof. There were no single cabins and the only other possibility was a cabin without a private bathroom - where you would have to go to the bath house to use the toilet or wash.

Belize was really interesting, and English is the primary language as it was settled by English lumberjacks.

by greatgrandmaR

That adjoining bathroom, even odder if the wall was low..
Composting toilets are natural, nothing odd about those :)

by hennaonthetrek

The wall went all the way up to where the roof started on the side walls, but it didn't go up to the roof peak on the interior wall. So it was 8 or 9 feet tall. Not short really.

In a house here, we would have a roof across the room and then there would be an attic over top of the room. In this cabin the left the roof open so that the heat would go up into the roof space.

by greatgrandmaR

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.

Login