Guns and Crocodiles: The Road to Caracol

Belize Archeology 101 Class Assignment

Following your excursion to the Mayan ruins at Caracol, Cayo District, Belize please answer the following questions in order to receive full credit toward your semester grade.

1. The road to Caracol was:

Rutted     Potholed     Twisting     Muddy
Dusty     Bumpy     Not paved     All of the above

2. Your physical reaction to the road was:

Jaw-breaking     Teeth-shattering     Bone-jarring     Spine-crushing     All of the above

3. The drive to Caracol lasted:

1 hour     2 hours     2 ½ hours  and seemed like it took forever

4. Before departing on the excursion what did you do?

Reviewed class notes     Took a hot bath     Took a Vicodin

5. Which military group escorted your vehicle in a convoy the last 15 miles of the drive so you wouldn’t be robbed or murdered?

Belize Army Belize Tourist Police     British Army on jungle combat training

6. How many Belize Tourist Police patrolled the site with guns while you visited?

0     1     2 Additional information: Two were with our group. There were about 12 total stationed around the place.

7. How many tombs did you see?

1     2     3     4     I stopped counting after four.

8. Which animals did you see?

Morlet’s crocodile     Green Iguana     Thousands of mosquitoes     All of the above

9. Which mammal was seen bathing almost naked in the Mopan River while you whizzed over the bridge (so quickly that you couldn’t get your camera out)?

Gray Fox     White-tailed deer     British Army on jungle combat training

10. What was your favorite structure?

Visitors Center     Restrooms     Makeshift basketball court for the Caracol Bulls
El Caana (Sky Palace)

Explain why: because at 140 feet tall it is still the highest manmade structure in Belize, taller than anything the Spanish or the British or the Belizeans have managed to build. And I got to climb into a tomb on top of it. And I could see into Guatemala from the top. And the picture the guide Juan Carlos took of me doesn’t make me look fat and old for a change.

11. Explain why Caracol is important in Mesoamerican history: Because it defeated archrival Tikal in 562 AD and with over 140,000 inhabitants was twice as big as present day Belize City. If Mel Gibson had tried to film his stupid movie here – the one about the Maya, Apocalypto –  Caracol (and our guide Juan Carlos) would have kicked his ass.

12. What was the most memorable moment of the day? Definitely when the van’s oil filter broke out in the middle of nowhere and smoke started pouring from out of the hood. Or, it was waiting around for an hour while a new filter was brought from town and installed. Actually it was the British soldiers bathing just 10 yards from where the crocodile had been snapping his jaws!

13. How would your rate this experience?

  • Did not meet expectation
  • Met expectation
  • Exceeded expectation
  • Knocked my socks off


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