Ancient and Adventurous San Pedro Tours
It has been unseasonably wet this past week, so we knew we were taking out chances when we opted to head down south to the Maya ruins. Jan called me Fri morning and said she checked Hydromet Belize website and that it looked like we could get lucky weather-wise and that it was our call what to do. Since Mary and David were leaving yesterday we decided to do it anyway, all of us had raincoats and were in agreement we would not melt like the wicked witch of the west if we got wet. Jan Brown was the hostess with the mostess and brought four umbrellas to share and an extra raincoat if we needed it.
Miriam, Mary, David, Jan, and I all met up at Banana Beach bar and headed south to pick up another Mary and David at the Log Cabin house. It was not long before we were there. I find it pretty amazing that in less than a 20-minute drive from home, we were at the 2000-year-old Marco Gonzalez Maya site.
After we all signed in and paid the fee, $20 BZD, and $10 BZD for residents, Jan started our tour with a short show-and-tell lesson off the back of a golf cart. Then we did the 1/4 mile walk along the recycled wood boardwalks to the Site. I had my good camera and a notebook all set to take notes and pictures as I am writing a magazine article on Marco Gonzalez for Belize News exchange magazine, luckily I also had my dry bag and waterproof camera as well. It started raining right from the start, and we all got pretty wet, Jan was a trooper and said it was our day and she would not cut us short over a little rainfall.
I will leave you with lots of pictures and a few facts I pulled from.
- Marco Gonzalez, the first Maya Site National Park on Ambergris Caye.
- Local Sanpedranos and visitors have known about the 7.57 – 8-acre site for many years.
- In the summer of 2010, an archaeological field school led by Dr. Elizabeth Graham and Dr. Scott Simmons caused the need to build a temporary footbridge over a quarter of a mile into the Site.
- Ambergris Caye was home to an estimated 20,000 Maya traders at the height of their occupation of the island.
- Pieces have been identified from a span of 200AD to 1500 AD. Larger pot fragments can be seen which have remains of painting, whereas others are decorated with typical Buk-Phase-style incised designs.
- Many of the pieces excavated during the 1980s indicated trade connections with Lamanai.
- This eco-tour is unlike any other as you walk through history, walking the grounds is like a step back into time. The black soil is blanketed by broken pottery many centuries old. It is an awe-inspiring experience to be so close to the ancient Maya, to imagine platforms supporting houses with thatched roofs, to visualize the making of jewelry from Queen Conch and seashells and shark’s teeth. A sharp eye may see pieces of obsidian and flint used as cutting tools or a stone ax and spearhead.
- Future plans, on-site Visitor Center containing artifacts and exhibits of island lifestyles. Educational Center with classes and tours for the over 2,000 school children on the island of Ambergris Caye. Guided tours through the archaeological Site and eco-tours, including birding, animals, and creatures found within the Site.