Playmates Lauren Anderson and Jaime Edmondson are best friends and thrill junkies—the perfect pair for us to send to Belize for the experience of a lifetime. And the Central American gem’s perfect blend of virgin rain forest, picturesque rivers, enormous caves and Mayan mysteries did not disappoint.
The adventure began as soon as Lauren and Jaime stepped off the plane. “I am terrified of helicopters and snakes,” Lauren confided. “So of course the first thing we do is get on a helicopter and fly over acres of rain forest to get to our hotel.” Lauren later found herself snuggling—briefly—with a snake. "In the end I loved it and got over both those fears.” Having starred in two seasons of The Amazing Race, Jaime had no misgivings about exploring Belize. “Now that I live in LA, it’s so rare to be in a place that isn’t crowded and overpopulated,” she said. “To fly over this beautiful land that hasn’t been touched was so refreshing to see.”
Once the girls arrived at the Ka’ana Resort in the Cayo District of Belize, more surprises awaited. “Living in the middle of this rainforest was like visiting another world,” Lauren said. “When we visited the zoo, we were the ones placed in a tiny little cave and the animals came to us. This huge jaguar came up and licked us and touched our foreheads. It was nuts!”
Lauren and Jaime agree on the ultimate moment on their Central American sojourn. “Visiting the Mayan caves was like nothing I’ve ever done or expected to do,” Jaime said. “First you have to hike through the rain forest and cross three rivers to get there, which is an adventure in itself.” Once they arrived at the caves, the girls swam through icy cold, pitch-black waters to reach the ruins. “We climbed up 50 feet of wet, jagged rocks to reach a huge room that looks like a cathedral,” Lauren said. “Mayan sacrifices took place there. We saw the skeleton of a girl who had been sacrificed that remained untouched. She was exactly where she had fallen hundreds of years ago.”
“I’m always up for adventure, but Belize was really one of the most special adventures I’ve ever gone on,” Jaime said. “And doing it with one of my best friends made it even more incredible.”
For more information on Belize and the Ka’ana Resort, visit www.bigfive.com and www.kaanabelize.com.
Video by Matt Wagemann, photos by Matt Wagemann and Rowan Metzner