We took the Cave Tubing tour with Marvin's Wet-n-Wild on 3/29. Our day didn't start off well as the Carnival Glory was about 45 minutes late getting into port. Unfortunately, we weren't able to tender off the ship until about 8:30, right before our scheduled meeting time as they put total priority on taking Carnival tours off first. We made it to the port on time and the representatives from Wet-n-Wild were waiting as we got off the tender boat to take us to Marvin's booth.
When we got to the booth, Marvin came out and welcomed us all individually. Very professional. Since we were running a bit late, he immediately took us in to complete payment (no problems there) and get us on our way as quickly as possible. I noticed in his booth they had records of when each ship was leaving the port that day. It was obvious right from the start Marvin put a high priority on making sure everyone is back in plenty of time to make the tenders back to their ship.
We had a group of 10, and met up with another group of 4 (also from the Glory), and Charlie our driver and guide (as I had requested after reading about him on this board). The van we rode in was comfortable and air-conditioned, and along the way Charlie shared alot about the country, people, and culture. The last few miles of the ride over rocky terrain was a bit rough, but well worth it once we got there.
We quickly grabbed our tubes and jackets and were on our way into the rain forest. There were several large tours arriving all at the same time so we had to keep a fairly brisk pace through the forest to stay ahead of the other groups. The rain forest itself is extremely beautiful. Charlie pointed out lots of interesting sights along the way. To address concerns others have posted, we saw NO SNAKES in the forest or river and the only bug I saw was one small gnat. We did see some beautiful birds and some bats.
We reached the point where we could enter the river or go on ahead and do the extra cave. We all agreed after discussion with Charlie that we should go ahead and get in the river due to time constraints (now I'll have to go back again just to do the big jump into the river!). After the walk through the rain forest, the water was very refreshing, nice and cool, but not cold.
The caves themselves were beautiful, if a bit crowded due to all the other tour groups both ahead and behind us that all converged on us as we made our way through. As everyone has been saying, the river is pretty low right now and there are several spots that are very shallow and sometimes the current is almost non-existent. A couple people in our group thought it was a bit strenuous to paddle through, but I thought it was great.
The best part of the tour is when you exit the cave and make your way through the rain forest the rest of the way down the river. There was a nice slow current and the scenery was incredible. Charlie told me he had come out the previous day to take the tour on his day off he enjoyed it so much (and he has alot of fun on his "work" days as well as he said).
After reluctantly getting out of the river and changing back at the rest area (nice clean restrooms and changing areas), we were on our way to lunch. Our included lunch at Amigos was incredible. The chicken, rice, and beans made for the perfect meal after a day in the caves (Charlie said he had come out for the same meal the day before too... can't blame him there either!). The $1.50 Belikins hit the spot as well.
The only snag of the day happened on the way back when there was a huge traffic jam on the way back into Belize City. Charlie was on the phone immediately to make sure we got back in time. I was pleased to see that the police made it a priority to get the tour groups through the jam as quickly as possible as well. They obviously recognize the importance of these tours to the local economy.
We made it back with about half an hour to spare before the last tender back to the Glory and said our goodbyes to Charlie. I hoped to see Marvin to thank him as well, but he was not in his booth. After we had done some shopping and were heading back to the boat, I heard a call from behind. It was Marvin, checking to make sure we had had a great tour. I told him it was absolutely perfect and that we would recommend it to everyone (as I'm doing right now). On a scale of 1 to 10, Wet-n-Wild rates somewhere around a 60
. If you are at all considering the Cave Tubing tour, book with them with confidence! Thanks again Charlie and Marvin for an unforgettable day!