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Feb 21, 2002

Davis Falls: hidden gem in Stann Creek

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One of the favourite activities of News 5 reporters over the years has been to introduce our viewers to new and exciting places. Some, like the recently opened Museum of Belize, are readily accessible to all. Others, like the magnificent waterfall featured in our next story, require a certain level of physical fitness along with a keen sense of adventure. Neither of those qualities are lacking in News 5′s Janelle Chanona and George Tillett, who teamed up to file the following report.

Janelle Chanona, Reporting

With its economic powerhouse, the citrus industry, feeling the pressure of globalisation, some Stann Creek residents, are looking to diversify into tourism.

Dwight Montero, Vice President, Friends of the Valley

“We have ten sites that we look at as potential tourist destinations. First of all, we need to develop them by establishing good trails, also get co-management for all these sites and by doing that, then we could then take tourists to these areas.”

One such site is Davis Falls. Nestled deep in the jungle behind the Del Oro citrus orchards, Davis Falls is one of the many natural attractions yet to be discovered by the public.

As with many of Belize’s great places, half the fun is getting there. The journey to the falls begins with a half an hour’s drive and no less than six river crossings.

The trek on foot starts off wet as we are forced to forge the cold clear water too deep for the vehicle to pass. Much of the forest here has been cleared for farming, so wildlife is limited, but as we navigate a thick field of wildflowers, a pair of hawks lazily circle the skies.

Janelle Chanona

“This is just one of the scenic river sites on the trail to Davis Falls. The streams offer a refreshing coolness on a hot day.”

As we walk through an overgrown clearing, the quiet is pierced by the sound of machetes as workers clear a path for the visitors that will follow our footsteps. As we disappear into the heat of the thick green foliage, several tricky points, like this one punctuate the path.

Our only relief on the hike comes from the rest stops along the river. Our guide, Alfredo Badillo, is a man of few words as he leads us through the bush, but he is sure to show us what to avoid touching.

Alfredo Badillo

“If this ketch you, ketch your skin or something, it wah definitely left wah scar pan it…”

Janelle Chanona

“How come?”

Alfredo Badillo

“Due to the prickle whe deh pan it. Wah fine, fine prickle.”

As we cross a quagmire of mud, above our own heavy breathing, we can hear a thunderous roar, it’s source still hidden behind the trees.

And as we turn the final corner, the hike is easily forgotten, Davis Falls lives up to the hype. Estimated to be at least four hundred feet high, the sight of the cascading water is breathtaking.

Badillo was one of the first modern-day Belizeans to behold this grandeur, but he is still struck by its magnificence.

Alfredo Badillo

“Eh enjoyful due to whe the lee walk, the lee tour whe yu do, yu see lee things. So when you reach yah you see the difference ah the falls, looking good, so it encouraging fu relax yu mind especially if yu have problems somewhere. Yu come, relax pan one ah de stone yah and yu relax yu mind and when yu reach down there, yu have a different momentum.”

And then it was time to have some fun.

(Janelle sliding down the waterfall)

Dwight Montero

“We would like support not only from the tourists coming from abroad, but also from local people to come to these sites and enjoy it because they are beautiful and then go forward and spread the good word.”

Janelle Chanona

“But as the residents of the Stann Creek Valley prepare to turn the natural wonders of their communities into revenue earners, they say protection of such beauty will be a top priority. Reporting from Davis Falls in the Stann Creek District, I am Janelle Chanona, for News 5.”

This Saturday and Sunday the Friends of the Valley are urging hotel and tour operators to sign up for special tours to Davis Falls. The trips, priced at fifty dollars per person, are a fundraiser for the association. Members of the public are also urged to participate in the adventure. For more information call Rodwell Ferguson at 05-23144 or send an email to Members of the expedition are reminded to bring insect repellant and be prepared to get wet.

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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