Arriving in the quaint town of San Ignacio dripping with sweat, we peeled ourselves off the seats of the local bus (a repurposed American school bus) and entered a Belize metropolis.
Immediately I felt that change in atmosphere. People were welcoming, like they had always been through Belize, but there was a little something extra. Tourism had started but this place was still off the beaten track, yet to be polluted by the commerce of the foreign traveller. I understand the irony of me saying this. A compulsive traveller bad mouthing tourism, but it is refreshing to find places that can offer so much, and have you feel like you are not sharing it with the rest of the world. This feeling invigorated our enthusiasm and we jumped in a taxi and head to Cahal Peck, a ruin site hidden at the top of the hills that surrounded San Ignacio. We walked the atriums alone, the space completely void of other travellers and just marvelled at this structure, getting lost in the maze of tunnels and tombs that boarded the atriums. I was convinced that it couldn't get any better than this and then we made our way to Xunantunich.
Xunantunich served as a civic ceremonial site in the Late and Terminal Classic periods. The name stands for Stone Woman. There is an urban legend that a ghost of a woman claimed to inhabit the site. Dressed in white, with fire-red glowing eyes, she generally appears in front of "El Castillo", ascends the stone stairs, and disappears into a stone wall. I didn't see this Stone Woman but I did see the boarder of Guatemala from the heighest point.
After fulfilling my childlike impulses history, it felt only fitting to have ice cream for dinner and sit on bench swing over looking San Ignacio, the heaven in the hills.