Last week I returned from a 2 week trip to Central America. Most of my time was spent in Belize, with a brief trip to Guatemala.

While in Belize, I did a good deal of snorkeling along the Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest reef in the world. It stretches around 150 miles along the coastline of Central America and is home to some crazy marine life. I saw some amazing coral and the largest fish that I’ve encountered. I swam with some nurse sharks, sting rays, eagle rays, and a big old Grouper fish. I really wish I had followed through and got certified to dive before this trip; but now I have something to do before my return to this relaxed, sunny little country.

I visited two Mayan ruins in Belize and Guatemala: Altun Ha and Tikal. The former is small and interesting in it’s remoteness and obscurity. The latter is a vast ancient Mayan metropolis, home to the second tallest Mayan structure known to anyone. This ‘Temple IV’ and the surrounding landscape was a shooting location for the original Star Wars. No coincedence that Lucas chose Tikal as a shooting location, since the Mayan’s had their own “star wars.” I’m not sure if Darth Vader was in these uber prequels to the modern Star Wars series; but supposably the Mayans often waged war against their neighbors during certain astrological events. Those Mayans sure were crafty…

Two choice photos are below. The rest of the photos from the trip can be seen on Flickr (Belize, Tikal).

Nurse Sharks!

This family of nurse sharks lives near the Belize Barrier Reef. They are not dangerous, but not always friendly. The sharks I saw ranged in length from about 4′ to 6′. I was introduced to them by a mutual friend (whose arm you see in the frame).