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Rainforests & Maya Ruins
Slide program

Our recently updated Rainforests and Maya Ruins slide program now includes
10 different journeys in Central America, including bicycling from Costa Rica to Mexico.

Pyramid of Kukulcan

The pyramid of Kukulcan in Chichen Itza, Mexico, is designed so the entire building, including the number of terraces and steps, represent the days, weeks, and months of the Maya calendar.

Fifteen hundred years ago there were more than 100 Maya cities spread through Central America and southern Mexico.

glyph statue face
Maya King steala
Maya royalty wore huge headdresses, lots of large and heavy jewelry, and ornately decorated clothes.
Enlarge photo.
Maya strapped boards on to the heads of infants to flatten their foreheads, which they considered a sign of beauty.
During ceremonies royalty painted their bodies red, priests blue, and warriors red and black. Prisoners were painted with black and white stripes!
During our four journeys to Guatemala we not only visited Maya cities and ruins from the past,
but also spent months in the western highlands where Maya today still live a very traditional lifestyle.
Maya woman weaving

Today Maya women are famous for their beautiful blouses, skirts and even headdresses which they weave by hand on a backstrap loom .

When weaving, Maya women do not use a set pattern. Each piece of clothing has its own unique variation.

Maya huipel
Like many kids around the world, Maya begin working at a young age, helping care for brothers and sisters, working in the fields, and carrying heavy loads to market.
Maya kids
boy using tump line

Boys and men carry loads using a tump line, a leather strap around their head, allowing them to carry up to 75% of their body weight.

Girls and women learn to balance loads on top of their heads, often without even using their hands.

little girl carries bundle
sunset

The second largest barrier reef system in the world runs along the Caribbean coast
of Central America and Mexico.

Over the last 30 years we have traveled and snorkeled throughout the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico.

In 2007 we visited Belize for the first time. The barrier reef runs the entire length of the country .

French grunts
A school of French grunts, named after the constant groaning noises they make.
nurse shark
Nurse sharks can grow to 14 feet in length.
Lucky for us they are not dangerous.
sting ray with fish
This sting ray is five feet across. When it rubbed up against us it's skin felt as soft as velvet.
Belize woman
Belize was first settled by pirates and descendants of slaves. Today the population is mostly black, and English is the official language.
Belize has a number of islands called cayes (pronounced keys), where life is very relaxed. Most people get around by walking, riding bicycles, or in electric carts.
Caye Caulker
We stayed a week in a little house on stilts on Caye Caulker for 10 Belize dollars ($20 U.S.) a night.
Bruce swims into cave
In western Belize we explore a recently discovered Maya ceremonial cave called Actun Tunichil Muknal. To get inside we swim and hike for an hour, following an underground river deep into the sacred cave.
stalagmites and pottery
Sparkling limestone formations and pottery broken by the Maya during a ceremony.
Maya skull

The most important offerings for the ancient Maya were blood and even human sacrifice. Archeologists have found 14 skeletons in the cave, nearly 1500 years old.

Mexico is one of our favorite countries in the world.
We have traveled through Mexico
on 10 different journeys--more than anywhere else in the world.
pottery sun

A wide variety of handmade crafts, like this pottery sun wall hanging, make Mexico a fun place to shop.

puppets for sale
Puppets for sale.
sombreros for sale
Sombreros stacked in the market.
Mexico is famous for its culture, food and fiestas.
Mexican dancer
A dancer wearing a hand embroidered blouse.
musician on street
Street musicians are very popular, playing not only on sidewalks, but also in restaurants, and on buses, boats and trains.
Mexico has amazing wildlife!
monarch butterfly
We visit the wintering migration site of millions of monarch butterflies,
humpback whale fluke
see humpback whales in Baja,
howler monkey
howler monkeys in the rainforests of Chiapas, southern Mexico,
keel-billed toucan
and even keel-billed toucans!
sugar coffins and skeletons
Sugar coffins and skeletons
In 2006 we travel to Mexico to take part in perhaps the most interesting traditional festival we have ever witnessed,
Day of the Dead.
woman at grave vigil

Woman at all-night grave vigil.

Our Rainforests & Maya Ruins slide program also features stories from our three-month bicycle trip through:

Costa Rica
Nicaragua
Honduras
Guatemala
Mexico.

To see a close-up map of the area we traveled on our bike trip, and take the challenge of finding each country on the map, click on map quiz.
Costa Rica

We fly into the capital of San Jose, assemble our bicycles, and ride into the mountains.

Four different cordilleras or mountain ranges divide the Pacific and Caribbean coast. The tallest peak is 12,529 feet.

We cycle up Poas volcano, and ride through cloud forest to visit Monteverde Biological Reserve.

Costa Rica is one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world, packed into a country one third the size of South Dakota.
White-faced capuchin monkey.

Costa Rica has tropical forests, rainforests, cloud forests, high mountains, numerous active volcanoes, and miles of beaches along both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.

Costa Rica is famous for its national park system. Thirty percent of the land lies protected in government and private forest reserves, refuges, and parks.

Three-foot wide
saw palmetto leaf.
The cloud forest is a fierce battleground, where plants fights for space and survival, twisting and choking each other in a quest for sunlight.

Giant strangler figs throttle enormous trees, halting growth by wrapping tourniquet-like vines up and down the victim host tree.

Four inch thick moss coats the larger limbs and branches, blocking out sunlight and absorbing hundreds of pounds in water weight.

Bromeliads and air plants fill every nook in each fork of each tree branch.

A single bromeliad can hold over a gallon of water--each one adds another eight pounds of weight.

On the Pacific coast we backpack four-days through Corcovado National Park.

We camp as the sun drops toward the ocean, serenaded by the soothing sound of the waves, not another soul in sight.

We also see plenty of insects.

All Photographs Copyright by IMAGES OF THE WORLD
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