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Mayans and Butterflies

Cahal Peche and the Butterfly Farm

93 °F
View 1998 Belize, Tikal, Atlanta, and Cozumel & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Monday, 9 March 1998

Got up early to take a photo of the sunrise and cows
Sunrise

Sunrise

Sunrise

Sunrise


I went up to breakfast - the way to be sure that Bob doesn't order the same as me is to order without him being there. He was watching a flock of wild toucans so I got there before he did. I ordered Huevos Rancheros and pineapple juice. He had fried eggs and bacon. Breakfast was a flat US$4.50 each no matter what you get.

We had a flat tire right as we arrived at Clarissa Falls, so we went into San Ignacio the next day and had it repaired. We were afraid that if we didn't get it fixed that when we had the next one (the tires were pretty bald) that we'd be stuck. Chena drew us a little map and gare us directions to the garage.
Chena's map

Chena's map


We got the tire fixed - very cheap.
Driver's side

Driver's side


And we got gas.
Rosalie's tacos

Rosalie's tacos

Then we went to Cahal Pech and to the Butterfly Farm as we didn't want to venture far. And since we were going to Tikal later, I thought Cahal Pech was a good place to practice.

The majority of Mayan activity in Belize was between 2000 BC to 1000 AD. But Mayans still live in Belize, especially in the southern part. Belize has one of the oldest known Mayan sites at Cuello; one of the longest occupied Mayan sites at Lamanai; and one of the largest jade carvings ever found at Altun Ha.

Cahal Pech is a few minutes walk from San Ignacio and very accessible. It was a major ceremonial center. There are 34 structures on about 2 acres. Admission for the two of us was BZ$10.00.
Entrance area steps

Entrance area steps

2838715-Cahal_Peche_near_entrance_Belize.jpgTourists sitting on the steps

Tourists sitting on the steps

2838717-Mayan_Ruins_Belize.jpgMayan Ruins

Mayan Ruins

814664-Mayan_City_in_San_Ignatio_Cahal_Pech.jpgDetail

Detail


Note pointed arch

Note pointed arch

Passageway

Passageway

Ditch

Ditch

large_814663-Mayan_City_in_San_Ignatio_Cahal_Pech.jpg34990461710372-Cahal_Peche_O..Cahal_Pech.jpg30142_29.JPG89057322710366-Cahal_Peche_O..Cahal_Pech.jpg
The name is supposed to mean "place of the tick" or something like that because the area had been used as a cattle pasture, and cattle pastures are notorious breeding grounds for ticks. It is unusual in that it has the finish on the masonry which would have been there when the site was in use, and the brickwork is not all exposed as it is at some sites.
Closeup of steps

Closeup of steps


After some looting was done between 1970 and 1985, the local people became concerned. In 1988 a formal large scale excavation was started which continues today. The buildings have been partially restored and are excellent examples of classic period structures.

I lost Bob early on, because the site is maze of steps and alleyways, rooms and open spaces.
96042_07.JPG Cahal Pech My Photos - Roll #1

Cahal Pech My Photos - Roll #1


Hole in the hill

Hole in the hill

Climbing up

Climbing up

Looking down

Looking down

Passageway

Passageway

Looking down from up on the walls

Looking down from up on the walls

7153959814683-Cahal_Peche_M..Cahal_Pech.jpgStairs

Stairs


He went back to the car earlier than I did.
Looking back at our rental car in the parking lot

Looking back at our rental car in the parking lot


While this is one of the most easily accessible Mayan sites, but like all of their cities, it is on top of a high elevation to give a view of all the surrounding countryside and it is a steep climb if you don't have a car. The location on the top of a hill meant that they could send and receive signals from other cities.

The layout consists of different courtyards or plazas. The huge area in the center was the marketplace. The peasants lived in thatched houses in the country (perhaps something like the cabin we had at Clarissa Falls). The dwellings were built along the inside walls of the city of brick and stone. The largest rooms were for the royal family.
814657-Royal_Residence_Cahal_Pech.jpgThe Royal Family Residence

The Royal Family Residence

1173337710371-Cahal_Peche_O..Cahal_Pech.jpgCahal Pech

Cahal Pech

We left Cahal Pech and went to a small butterfly farm called Tropical Wings Nature Center and Butterfly House on the road out of San Ignacio. Since we got there about noon and decided to eat before we went to the butterfly farm. We had lunch at the Trek Stop there. Unfortunately, nothing that was on the menu was in stock. Eventually we decided on an egg salad sandwich. They were made right there while we waited (I think the eggs had been boiled in advance) which cost us BZ$5.75 We also got Sprite and cookies for BZ$2.75.

We have been to bigger and more inclusive types of butterfly places - in Costa Rica and in Key West. But this one does like the Belize zoo, and concentrates on Belize butterflies and plants. Admission was BZ$10 each. It is open 9-5.

The butterfly enclosure was very much like the one in Costa Rica that we visited, although smaller
Structure from the outside

Structure from the outside

916031-Butterfly_on_the_roof_Cayo_District.jpgTop of screened and landscaped 42'x60'x21’

Top of screened and landscaped 42'x60'x21’


After lunch we went through the museum, saw the required video tape about butterflies (all the butterfly places seem to have these) and then we went to look at the butterflies.
xb19980309-133530141_26.JPGButterfly

Butterfly

916029-Butterfly_Cayo_District.jpg916027-Butterfly_Cayo_District.jpgCan you see the butterfly?

Can you see the butterfly?


Using a film camera it was difficult to be sure if I had gotten any of the pictures that I wanted, and the one picture I took of the blue morpho (which landed on my leg) was quite disappointingly out of focus. When the blue morpho is resting, it looks like a dead leaf. When it is flying the wings are a beautiful blue.
My foot at the butterfly farm

My foot at the butterfly farm


I walked around in the gardens and looked for hummingbirds. It was very hot and most of the birds were sensibly napping. I had a conversation with a man sitting on a porch
71103263916067-Looking_from_..o_District.jpgPorch and bathrooms at the Nature Center

Porch and bathrooms at the Nature Center


about what bird books one used for Belize, and he said that if you had Costa Rica and Mexico, that would about cover it - he knew of no book specifically for Belize.

Amish

Amish


Then we came back to Clarissa Falls and I had a nap.
View from our window

View from our window


Beside the cabins

Beside the cabins


I donated a book to the library that I had read and we walked around and looked at some of the Clarissa Falls "zoo". The farm has cows (mostly Brahma crosses), turkeys, ducks, chickens, dogs, and cats, plus some more exotic animals the most personable of which is Romeo the toucan.
a19980310-141996995_09.JPGTurkeys on the lawn of the cabins

Turkeys on the lawn of the cabins

large_3424712-Animals_at_the_Farm_Cayo_District.jpg3424711-Animals_at_the_Farm_Cayo_District.jpg3424716-Animals_at_the_Farm_Cayo_District.jpgFree range and caged birds

Free range and caged birds

Romeo the Toucan in the feeding area

Romeo the Toucan in the feeding area


Chena told us that the wild toucans would come by and try to get Romeo to go off with them and he sometimes joins them. But he comes back.
Area with birdhouses and closeup

Area with birdhouses and closeup

3424714-Animals_at_the_Farm_Cayo_District.jpgAnimals at the Farm

Animals at the Farm


I took a short swim before dinner. We had electricity for the afternoon and dinner.
Potted plants on the restaurant roof

Potted plants on the restaurant roof


There are a lot of plants - all labeled in back of the restaurant
Entrance to restaurant

Entrance to restaurant

Toad

Toad

Hen in the rafters at the restaurant

Hen in the rafters at the restaurant


Bob had spaghetti ajo al Clarissa and I had soup and stuffed squash. Service is good and cheerful, even when we moved from outside (when it got dark) to under the roof so we could read (there is a bookcase of books there).

Mostly at night we just went to bed after dinner. I did spend some time one night when it was relatively clear
Almost Full moon

Almost Full moon


trying to take a picture of the full moon
Misty Moon

Misty Moon


and watching Romeo, the tame toucan who lived at Clarissa Falls,
Romeo the local tame toucan at Clarissa Falls

Romeo the local tame toucan at Clarissa Falls

3424713-Animals_at_the_Farm_Cayo_District.jpgRomeo

Romeo


and the cat who was trying (unsuccessfully) to catch him.
Cat on bird feeding station

Cat on bird feeding station


It was really cold tonight - down to 65 deg F. We almost needed a blanket.
Cats on the steps at night

Cats on the steps at night

Expenses in US$
$12.50 gas - 6 gals /136 miles
2.50 tire repair
5.00 Cahal Peche
10.00 Butterfly
2.88 lunch
1.27 Sprite and cookies
23.00 dinner
(9.00 included Breakfast)
unk Clarissa Falls cabin
$ 57.15 Total in US$

Posted by greatgrandmaR 19:04 Archived in Belize Tagged chicken mayan toucan butterflies turkeys toad cahal_peche Comments (6)

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