We were scheduled and prepaid for the Actun Tunichil Muknal tour, an extreme adventure; a premier, world-class caving and archeology experience we were thrilled to take.
We were staying at a resort on Ambergris so we left the property at 6:00 am in a driving rain storm, took a boat to San Pedro, got a transfer to the airport for the flight to Belize city and the tour coordinator then told us "I have a little bit of bad news for you. The caves are closed due to the rain as the rivers would be too dangerous to cross". Surely somebody knew this before we got to the airport but we were never advised and were devastated we were going to miss it (1st disapointment). The coordinator offered a couple of other options and we chose the Lamanai Ruins/Jungle River Adventure as an alternate. We flew to Belize City where our guide met us at the airport. We rode in a van for an hour and 10 minutes to get to the boat dock at Lamanai for the 90 minute river ride to the ruins. The guide was really annoying (2nd disappointment); asked rhetorical questions and expected answers, continually tapped his watch and indicated it was time to go, sat our small group of 4 in a pavilion for a lecture of 30 minutes, that while parts were interesting could have been accommplished in about 10-15 minutes which would have given us more time to savor the parts of the tour that were enjoyable. He had bananas for the spyder monkeys "we might encounter" on the river and right on cue they appeared, jumped in the boat, grabbed the bananas and jumped off the boat. I believe they were wearing tiny little watches and knew exactly when we would arrive. We climbed a couple of pyramids which was fun but we scarsely got to see the rest of the ruins as the guide kept telling us it was time to go. The lunch provided was excellent but we had to scarf it down as we had to get back to Belize City airport (though flights operate to Ambergris about every hour). We didn't get to the museum or the gift shops as it was still "time to go". 2 days later there was a knock on our door at 5:45 am and the wee man asked if we were ready to go. Not a clue what he was talking about but evidently our original cave tour had been rescheduled but nobody told us and there was no way to prepare as the boat was leaving in 5 minutes (3rd disappointment). To be fair to Discovery I later learned the resort had been advised of the reschedule but they failed to let us know. I'm sure the guide is a decent fellow but needs to leave the ego elsewhere and treat the guests like grownups. What little we saw of the ruins were quite impressive but we didn't get enough history to understand their purposes and rituals. The watch-tapping was the worst. Who wants to be in a hurry on vacation while visiting someplace you are likely never going to see again?!
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