One of the primary destinations in Belize is Xunantunich (pronounced “chew-nahn-too-NEECH”) Mayan ruin. For years the only way to cross the Mopan River to access Xunantunich has been on a unique cable ferry. Suspended by fixed cables that allow the ferry to rise and fall with the river level, this ferry was operated by a hand-powered winch. The ferry could carry two vehicles and lots of passengers, and it was interesting to see these huge loads moved across the river by one guy turning a crank.
Our Belize Adventure Week adventure package used to visit Xunantunich weekly (we now only kayak by the ferry, we don’t have time to visit it anymore), and we have crossed the river on this ferry many, many times. A recent bulletin from Belize informed the public that the ferry will be closed October 29 – November 1. This will facilitate the replacement of the old ferry with a more modern craft. We assume the new one will have a power winch rather than a hand-cranked one, which will greatly facilitate its operation and allow a greater volume of tourists up to the ruins. It may be progress, but it is sad to see this classic piece of past times disappear!