Abby takes in the ancient Maya wonder. // © 2014 Lisa McElroy
My daughter Abby needed a break from the day-in, day-out routine of middle school. I needed a getaway from the pressures of work. We both wanted sunshine, adventure and the chance to learn new things — plus a week or so to connect with each other, mother to daughter.
Our destination? A nature reserve in the rainforest of Belize.
At the Lodge at Chaa Creek, we kicked back in hammocks for long hours, reading, talking and listening to the sounds of the jungle.
We watched toucans fly through the trees at dawn, canoed in caves and rode horses along the river. My daughter spent hours at Chaa Creek’s butterfly farm, learning about the life cycle of the brilliant-blue creatures.
In the rainforest, we discovered that we felt deeply connected to the Maya culture. My daughter learned to weave baskets and make corn tortillas; I read all I could about Maya temples. We ate black beans and plantains. We even climbed to the top of Xunantunich, an ancient ceremonial center, and looked out over the landscape.
And then we reclaimed our hammocks, closed our eyes and listened to the toucans’ call.