About the author
Holger is a management consultant turned volunteer. He loves to take pictures, run around in the sun, dive and he has never met a beer in his life he didn't like.
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“I met this guy on a water taxi”, my friend John said. “He’s starting a business with bamboo rafts on a river. He asked me if I would like to go rafting with him one day and be very critical about the experience. That’s when I thought I should ask you guys.”
It took us a few weeks to find a day to make it work and in the end, Kerstin couldn’t go because she was working.
Patrick (the rafting guy) picked John and me up at the parking lot of a big supermarket for the drive out to St. Paul’s bank, a little community about an hour from Belize City.
We drove past trees full of monkeys to Patricks house and picked up a guide on the way. At the house, I learned why cashew nuts are so expensive. They have to be separated from their funny fruit and roasted a couple of times to get the shell off.
Jon Showing us his nut.
While waiting for Patrick to gather his equipment, the guide (who’s name I forgot, shame on me!) did a nature tour with us in Patrick’s front yard. Welcome to Belize – even flower beds can be quite exciting with the right guide. Pineapples, fire ants and all.
We took another short but bumpy ride to the river where the rafts were waiting for us. What followed was a morning of wildlife spotting, swimming and enjoying a river tour without a boat engine – basically all good things of river rafting and a boat tour combined. But without paddling or noise.
I told Patrick what I know about tourism product development, how his business could or could not tie in with the cruise ship industry and what I thought about marketing his business.
On the way back we stopped at a typical Belizean roadside ‘supermarket’ for a beer and some chips.
All day long, the guys had been talking about a water fall and rapids that are in the river. It seemed they weren’t sure if that place would be an attraction or a hazard during the tour. So we went to see it.
We agreed that it was neither.
The guys showed us a really good time, teaching us how to stitch clothing or a wound by picking up the soldiers of the leaf cutter ant and using their mandibles;
We also smoked a part of a tree, apparently this used to be the Mayan cigarette.
And of course I got to see a number of iguanas.
After the tour, Patrick invited us over to a family barbecue. I didn’t take photos there except for a few with the iphone but let me tell you … this was a one of a kind experience.
The whole family sitting in the yard, the ladies around the barbecue and the men neatly separated under a big tree playing dominos and drinking rum with evaporated milk (which was surprisingly good).
We had a kickass barbecued chicken before Patrick dropped us off in the city again.
I hope Patrick and his wife are really successful with their venture – the rafting tour really is one of the nicest tours I’ve done here in Belize and their entrepreneurial spirit and all the great ideas they have will take them far.
If you’re interested in booking the tour, call Patrik at +501 604 2254 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org!