Are you looking for a Belize adventure destination? Last winter I finally made a trip to Mike’s Place, a remote jungle activity center and restaurant near San Ignacio, Belize. Mike Bogaert came to Belize over 20 years ago and really lucked out: he purchased land right at the mouth of Barton Creek Cave, a fabulous Mayan site and geological wonder. He offers canoe trips into the cave, but also offers ziplining and rock climbing. So a one day trip to Mike’s Place will keep you busy the whole day.
The drive to Mike’s Place takes about an hour from San Ignacio, it is about a 10 mile drive on pavement to the turnoff on the Caracol Road. The next 8 or so miles to Mike’s Place is on somewhat rough gravel, but not four wheel drive. At one point you have to cross a creek, but even a sedan can do it (we saw one in the process of crossing on our way back from the trip).
The highlight is Barton Creek Cave, a crack in the earth filled with water that goes about a mile deep, and you can canoe about half of it. Mike is literally at the door step of the cave entrance, and his guides canoe you and show you all of the Mayan wonders along the way. We really enjoyed our guide, and we had torn him away from a championship hockey game that Mike’s entire staff was watching on a tiny laptop computer the day we were there. It was nice of him to do such a great job and took so much extra time with us, considering the circumstances!
There are Mayan pots embedded in the limestone formations all along the walls of the caves, and huge curtains of crystalline limestone cover the cave walls. Having spent many years traveling in Belize in the spring I can state one clear advantage of this tour for this time of year: it’s cool in there! Many jungle tours are extremely hot and humid and this one is a pleasant change.
After the canoe trip you could have lunch at Mike’s Restaurant (stew chicken, rice and beans, cole slaw, and fresh garden tomatoes!), or you can continue the adventure on Mike’s zipline. To reach the zipline you climb up several flights of stairs hacked out of the jungle floor, before zipping down back to the “civilization” of Mike’s yard.
Mike is a character, and he and I had a great time talking about the old days in Belize. If you get lucky, you will to have lunch with him like I did!