Thursday, July 16, 2009

Five Blues, Belize

 Five Blues Lake National Park, Belize (Central America)

       Over 4000 acres of broadleaf tropical forest, limestone hills, and freshwater lagoons, this secluded national park is centered around an intensely blue lake (Five Blues Lake), thought to be 200 ft deep at some points. The park was established by the locals of St. Margaret village and is the only National Park in Belize managed by community-based organization. Orchid Island, in the center of Five Blues Lake, is covered with orchids in April and May.
     After getting off the bus at St Margarets you hike about 6 miles north along a winding track through acres of new citrus plantations to get to the actual park. Tourists had not frequented it in quite some time when we took our trip, so it all seemed very remote. We also did most of the hike to the park in the dark, which makes distance and difficulty hard to gauge. There was apparently once a Bed and Breakfast as well as mountain bike rentals near the lake, but we had the park completely to ourselves while we were there which only added to the experience. Floating around your own private vibrant blue lake with crystal clear water outweighs any insects or other pests you could come across. There are also nearby caves to explore as well close to 200 bird species within the park. All 5 species of wildcats within Belize have been spotted in the park, as well as howler monkeys, tapirs, gibnuts, peccaries and armadillos. We weren’t lucky enough to see any of the large mammals, but on several “bathroom breaks” in well wooded areas we were given quite a start by hearing a few of these species.
I will close this description with saying, of all the places I have been in all my travels (camping and non camping) this place is probably the one that I miss the most.
Major Pros: Having a crystal clear turquoise lake all to yourself.
Major Cons: If you don’t pack well, you might find yourself living off of tuna and peanut butter. While there we encountered a Fer de Lance (aka Bothrops Atrox), several scorpions, and large sounds from both the woods and lake. There kind of are no toilets. Also, in July 2006 Five Blues Lake mysteriously drained itself, with most of the water disappearing. Ecologists believe that the lake had been formed from a blockage that suddenly dissolved due to the lake's limestone formations. Since that time, the lake has again refilled, but you might want to hurry up and pay a visit before the natural plug gets pulled a second time.
Tips: Bring bug spray and long sleeves... and toilet paper. Try to start your hike through the village before 6pm. Hiking semi-lost in the woods in the dark in a foreign country can be a little unnerving.
Rating: ∆∆∆∆∆ (this undoubtedly ranks as one of my favorite places in the world thusfar)


Melissa said...

Duuuude poisonous snakes not cool. Wildcats are welcome but venomous thank you. :-) I veto them. But 200 feet deep? That'd be pretty sweet to dive in (I scuba).

Anna said...

YOU SCUBA?!?! i swear you keep getting cooler all the time...

Melissa said...

Why thank you. I got certified last summer at camp. I have this habit of picking up hobbies that are really expensive to do like anything outdoors and stuff haha. I might scuba but you were in freakin' Cape Cod! That's like saWEET! How was your trip?