|2 Pax||3 – 6 Pax||7 – 9 Pax||10 – 13 Pax|
*Minimum 2 Adults required to book any tour.
Get hands on with the local Maya women of San Antonio Village in making their staple corn foods. You’ll be overwhelmed with a timeless feeling evoked by their thatched kitchen, smokey fire hart and ancient tortilla-making methods.
Rio On Pools has gorgeous pools of water running through ancient boulders. You won’t regret stopping by to take a nice cold swim, which you will definitely enjoy.
Starts: 8:00AM Ends: 11:30AM
Getting There: Since this tour is normally done in combination with another tour (in this case Big Rock Falls), your journey will commence with a pick up at your hotel and then a 45 minute’s drive onto the Modern Mayan Village of San Antonio near the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve.
At the site: The site’s parking lot is located just off the main road in San Antonio Village just in front of the host family’s house. A little gift shop welcomes you but you may want to contain your excitement to buy the priceless souvenirs until after the culinary tour. Once welcomed and settled in, the leader of the women’s group gives you a brief history of their cultural heritage as well as their personal family history. She’ll explain what the culinary tour will cover before we move on into the kitchen area where the fire hart and Metate (grinding stone) awaits us.
The kitchen is an open thatch-roofed space (made of dried Cohune leaves and bush sticks) reminiscent of a structure from a scene of Mel Gibson’s Apolcalypto Movie. Under its roof there is fire hart made of limestone and sticks, a table with a Metate (ancient grinding stone), a modern “Molino” manual corn grinder, and a dining table with seats.
The Culinary Experience: How to make corn tortillas the Ancient Mayan way.
- The process begins with an explanation of how the corn is prepared and hydrated to get it ready for grinding.
- Next, and this is where the fun starts as you get hands-on in the process, place a cup full of hydrated corn on the Metate (a flat, slightly curved grinding stone made of volcanic rock or granite).
- Next, you proceed to grinding the corn by pressing a “Mano” (almost cylindrical/ flat-ish stone) to crush the corn into a paste.
- An alternative method involves the use of the modern manual corn grinder which is faster and but still strenuous.
- The paste is the collected and then molded by dexterous hands into a flat circular shape of about 4 to 5 inches in radius. It is safe to call this a raw tortilla at this point.
- The tortilla is then placed on the “Comal” (in essence, a metal griddle) previously heated by the open flames of the fire hart.
- Once flipped over and done, the tortilla is then place inside dried pumpkin lined with a cloth to keep it warm.
- When all tortillas are done, they’re ready to be served with a half spoon of coconut oil and a pinch of salt. It’s so delicious it’s to die for.
Another delicacy produced from this corn is the “Atole de Maiz” or Corn porridge. You’ll want to keep asking for more but be polite, you don’t want to seem greedy. Save some space for dinner up ahead.
Once you feel like you’ve master the art of making tortillas the ancient Mayan way and you’ve gotten your fix of tortilla and porridge treats, its time for an early dinner. The food served is a homemade stewed chicken with corn tortilla or rice (menu options may vary). For dessert, a homemade papaya stew (mind you, its extra sweet).
Departure: After having your fill, saying your goodbyes, and purchasing your souvenirs, it’s time to head out of San Antonio Village and onto your second adventure for the day (Big Rock Falls).
Duration: Approx. 2 – 2.5 hours (at the San Antonio Women’s Group)
Difficulty level: Easy
What to bring: Bug repellent, cameras, good manners, and an open-minded attitude towards embracing a different culture.
Provided: Lunch at a local Mayan household & waters.
A Lush, romantic waterfall on granite bedrock in the Mountain Pine Ridge reserve.
Big Rock Falls is a 150-foot waterfall on Privassion River, in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve of the Cayo District of Belize. – Wikipedia
This tour is normally done in combination with any other half day tour (in this case, with Maya Culinary tour) If you’re visiting with children or non-swimmers please let us know this ahead of time so as to provide life jackets or other floatables for their convenience. Also, you must be very mindful of the elderly and the young, be sure they are obedient enough to follow the guide’s rules, especially when climbing up or down the cliff.
Starts:1:00PM Ends: 3:30PM (duration depends on your leisurely pace)
Getting There: Since this tour is normally done in combination with another tour (in this case Big Rock Falls), your journey will commence as we board our vehicle, drive into and through San Ignacio town, and then make our way onto the Mountain Pine Ridge road. The drive is about 45 minutes on a partially paved road, the farther section of which is dirt.
Along the way, we’ll pass the villages of Cristo Rey and San Antonio. These are small settlements of mostly farmers along the Macal River. Along the way, your guide would normally point out to local flora and fauna such as Toucans, Roadside Hawks, Iguanas, and Medicinal Plants and trees. He’ll also tell you the history of the villages you pass along the way. Feel free to ask him any questions.
At the site: The parking lot approximately 5 to 8 minutes’ walk from the waterfall so you want to take everything you’ll need with you for an enjoyable time at the waterfall. From the parking lot we’ll be walking through a little trail which leads to quite a steep climb down to the river valley. Flip flops are not advisable for this part of the trek. Once we’ve made our way carefully down that cliff, the tremendous view of water rushing over the huge 150-ft rock formations and plummeting into the deep rounded pool at its base provides a rush of excitement. Our walk through the granite boulders takes us to the waterfall pool.
You won’t regret visiting this site for a nice cold swim amidst the scorching Belizean heat. You may choose to swim all the way up to the water fall but try to contain the temptation to climb up any of the wet rocks, or do so at your own risk, they tend to get very slippery. Your guide will allow you ample time to swim or bask at your own leisure. When you feel you’ve had your fix, he’ll escort you back to the parking lot.
Departure: Getting out of the river bank entails a climb up the steep cliff. It’s not as difficult as it may seem. Slow and steady does it. You may choose to change into dry clothes while you’re at the river bank or when you get to the vehicle. There are no changing rooms or restrooms. You just have to wing it.
We then board our vehicle to traverse the same road through the villages and back into San Ignacio, returning around 4:00 – 4:30PM depending on your own pace.
Duration: Approx. 4 hours (at Big Rock Falls)
Difficulty level: Moderate
What to bring: Swimwear, change of clothes, hiking or water shoes (no flip-flops), sun screen, insect repellent, sun glasses, camera, just about anything that would enhance your visit.
Provided: Towels, snacks, and water.