Monday 26th June
We are now sitting off San Pedro on Ambergris Cay. This is the most northern Cay and the most visited destination in Belize. It is 24 miles long and cut off from the Mexican Yucatan mainland by an age old canal first dug by the Mayan people, and, more recently, dredged by Mexico to give access for small boats into and out of Bahia Chetumal. It forms part of the border between Mexico and Belize. Belize, formally known as British Honduras, with its Anglo-Caribbean culture sets it apart from its Spanish speaking Central American neighbours. English is the official language, but English, Creole and Spanish are widely spoken. As our Spanish is limited, it was nice to be able to converse with the locals again.
The Yucatan Peninsula, including Belize, has a fascinating history, starting with the Maya people who it is believed first lived in this area around 2600 B.C. in what is now present-day southern Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and western Honduras. They rose to prominence around 250 A.D. Then around 900A.D. their empire started to decline for reasons which are still a great mystery today. They abandoned their city leaving the jungle to consume and hide what was an elaborate and well organised way of life. At some point we will do some inland travel to visit one of these ancient sites.