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Oct 1, 2018

B.T.B. Fam Trip: Zip-lining and Cave-Tubing

As an annual event, the Belize Tourism Board hosted members of the media for its 2018 familiarization tour. This year, the media was taken to the Cayo District where journalist and videographers got a firsthand experience at some of the tourist attractions that Belize has to offer in the west. The trip kicked off on Friday morning and the first experience for journalists and videographers were zip lining and cave-tubing at the Nohoch Che’en Caves Branch Archaeological Reserve. The services are being offered by Vital Nature and Mayan Tours or News Five’s Hipolito Novelo was on the trip.


Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

Our trip led us to the Cayo District and our first stop was at Vital Nature and Mayan Tours which is better known as It is owned and operated by long time tour guide Vitalino Reyes.  After breakfast, we then headed to the zip lining portion of the day’s activities to enjoy soaring above the rainforest canopy in the Nohoch Che’en Caves Branch Archaeological Reserve. The service features a “beginner’s zip run” which is about one hundred and fifty feet, while the six other zip runs range from two hundred to six hundred feet between treetop platforms. Reyes says that’s zip lining experience is second to none.


Vitalino Reyes

Vitalino Reyes, Owner,

“At the beginning, that was first zip-line at Jaguar Paw in 2004, we learned that all those zip-lines have to be studied before we construct them. The guides that I have today, they have passed through the experience. When we design our design our zip-lines, we don’t hire just any engineers. We hire Belizeans workers and employees that I have and the most experiences ones. I as an operator, we know that there is not enough time to do activities. When we combined like what we do today, a very special combination of cave-tubing and zip-line. For cruise ship we have to be ready. What I do is training the guides for zip-line and all the guides are ready to do anything. For example you walk up the ten minutes uphill, to the first platform and let’s say you decide to not doing again then there is another guide to take you back down. All the guides are trained and they have a certification by ACCT.”


But we were not tired. We zip-lined ourselves through all six platforms.We then went into ‘hell’ or what the Maya used to call Xibalba. Cave-tubing is described as one of the most popular excursions in Belize and it is what Reyes and his team specializes in. Led by certified guides, we made it through the stunning cave system in the reserve.


Vitalino Reyes

Going through the caves is completely out of the world. I would never think that was Belize again because being inside the cave is another world. It is nature, not mad made. That became something that touched my heart. I get the history that the Mayas were the first one to use it, my ancestors. Then I learned that it is Xibalba. I said that one day I have to push this for the locals and we start design trips for Belizeans. The place is called Xibalba, it means the place of hell, place of evil spirit. So everybody was afraid to go there. So when I started to do cave-tubing, my shirts will say in the back that I have been to hell and back.  That does not mean anything bad. It’s just that I am taking you to the cave and brining you back safe.”


Our visit to culminated safe. Over the years, Reyes has been facing challenges to keep h is business going.


Vitalino Reyes

“I get ready for a minimum of one thousand people on a cruise ship day but we are not getting that. We noticed that 2016, 2017 and 2018 it is getting worse. All the tour companies that are in Belize right now we do not have much people because of NCL that went to Harvest Caye. They went there and we are thinking that they would do a stop in Belize City but that did not happen. So the tourism industry declined very badly. All my money is invested. I was ready to move one thousand people every cruise ship day that was Wednesday. Now I move thirty or twenty and the price is very low. At that time we use to charge eighty dollars per person. What I am doing is sell all the assets that I have. I have to sell some because all my money is invested.”


For Belizeans the price for the package is the lowest, sixty Belize dollars per person for zip lining and cave-tubing. Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.


We’ll have more of B.T.B.’s Familiarization Trip in Tuesday’s newscast.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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