After three days with very rustic accommodations on Lime Caye, I was excited to return to our lodgings at Big Falls. When we first arrived back, we attended a lecture by TIDE, the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment, who were our guides for the time we spent on the mainland. Each morning, I woke up around 5 am and spent an hour or two with one or two other early risers drinking coffee and watching for birds. The view from the lodge was exquisite, complete with a tropical rainforest and mountains. It was my hope to see a toucan from the porch, but I did not.
The first day, we went zip lining and tubed down a winding river. It was an extremely fun outing, and I am grateful that we had a water activity after zip lining- it was so hot! The following day, we went to visit an agroforestry farm. It looked like a forest, yet it was meticulously designed by a man and his family. However enjoyable and educational the visit, I have never sweat so much in my life. Thankfully, after the visit, we went to a popular swimming spot where the local Mayans often visit. My friends and I had a very fun time cooling off. Later that night, the Mayan lady who cooked for us at our lodge taught me how to make homemade tortillas- yum!
On another day, we visited a cacao farm, which was very enjoyable. The farmer was extremely unique, and we enjoyed the experience greatly. After we toured the farm, we went to the nearby Mayan village, where we had lunch and then were shown how the Mayans make chocolate out of the cacao seeds. Everyone got the chance to help out and in the end we all enjoyed a delicious cup of hot chocolate. It was, once again, a hot day, so after our chocolate making we went to visit a cave and river. Other students on the trip opted to swim through the cave but I preferred to stay in the river and enjoy the beautiful view and wonderfully cool water.My class and I also had the chance to visit two different Mayan ruins, each beautiful and interesting. One of my favorite activities was going to reforest an area along a riverbank in San Pedro, Columbia, where we plants over 200 trees. I felt proud of our work and we learned a lot from the experience, as well.
We saw many different species on the mainland: tarantulas, wolf spiders, iguanas, birds like collared aracari, groove-billed anis, aztec parakeet, etc. We also saw leaf-cutter ants, many types of palm trees… an immense amount of biodiversity.
On the last day on the mainland, I woke up early to hear one last morning of tropical birds and see one last sunrise above the forest and in front of the mountains.