I’ve swum in infinity pools, and in rivers and lakes around the world. I’ve been refreshed and I’ve gazed upon cascading waterfalls and clicked my camera like everyone else. But today in Northern Belize, I am confident that I’ve discovered the most wonderful swimming hole on God’s green Earth. It’s called Butterfly Falls, and it’s a 30 minute hike down steep mountainsides, across a wooden bridge (one person only, please!) where our guide Fredy said he saw a jaguar standing just a few months ago.
After the hike, down, down down, using ropes to keep us on the trail as well as walking sticks (provided up at the top) we finally made it to the blue green pool of water below a 150 foot cascade of pure clean water.
I was going in, not going to let the cold water be an excuse. The four women with us along with Arturo, from Mexico City, all donned our swimwear and gingerly crept past the sharp rocks to take the plunge.
AHHHHHHH! What a plunge it was. The pool was deep, 15 feet or so, so we could swim without worrying about the rocks. we swam out and reached the bottom of the cascade. I looked up at the tower of water and felt it in my hair, it was as clean as what comes out of the taps here–all safe to drink. Lydia, a bold young woman who lives in Mexico City, climbed up on top of the rocks so she could jump in.
Photographers, including Shoul who said he didn’t like cold water, clicked our photos as we grinned like kids. It was pure paradise, and the most fun I’ve had in the water ever.
I thought about Belize and how green and nearly empty it is. I thought about the stars last night, the fullest and most unimpeded view of the nighttime sky I’ve ever seen. I was impressed when I thought that this incredible natural beauty is owned by the Hidden Valley Inn and Reserve. It’s in their 7200 acres of land, this most wonderful swimming hole in the whole wide world.
I learned that these falls are just one of four very tall falls you can see on their large piece Belize real estate. We took the vans over a very rough road to look down on an even more impressive cascade called 1000-foot falls. This was where legendary adventurer Bear Grylls was dropped off and he made his way, somehow, down to the bottom. It’s 900 feet down and very steep. It’s hard to imagine how he did it.
I hiked back up the steep trail alone, hoping I’d see a jaguar and reveling in the silence of the deep jungle. Not a sound came except for the birds. Belize is impressive, and Butterfly falls is over the top beautiful. How lucky I am to be here!