Because we know that not every one can spend each minute of their visit touring the Copal Tree Distillery or sipping Copalli cocktails, guests at the Copal Tree Lodge have the option to enjoy a number of fascinating tours. For that reason we are fortunate to have local travel guide Vince Ical as part of the team. Vince eagerly shares not only his impressive knowledge of the local Mayan culture and history, but also his family’s generous hospitality at their restaurant near the Blue Creek Cave.
During a recent visit, Vince and his wife Yona shared their Mayan traditions with guests.
Tell us about your responsibilities…
For the last 15 years, I have been a tour guide at Copal Tree Lodge. Each day I take guests on a guided excursion to Lubaantun, the ruins of a Mayan city, followed by a guided cave exploration and waterfall hike at Blue Creek. As part of the tour, my wife offers a demonstration of tortilla making from local masa and serves a traditional Mayan lunch.
What is your background?
Growing up in Belize was all about tourism. I was raised by my father to learn and become a master in tourism and hospitality. I began as a bus boy at a local restaurant and then was promoted to become a bartender and a boat captain. I moved on to work at other lodges and hotels, where I supervised restaurants and bars and continued to grow my skills as a tour guide.
Why is sustainability important?
Sustainability is very important to me because we want to protect and sustain what we have to enjoy in Belize for the future tourism and future generations in Belize. If we don’t sustain, then we have nothing to explain as a guide to tourists. So, sustainability is our present and future income.
What would you like people to know about Belize?
Belize has much to offer, to see and to experience. Belize is very unique because it’s a paradise of wildlife, flora and fauna and different ethnic groups of people that come together to make Belize a special place to be.
Do you have a favorite Copalli cocktail?
The Copalli Rum that is very special to me is the cacao which has a mild sweet taste. I drink my Copalli Cacao rum as a shot with salted glass rim and a lime wedge. A second shot unleashes the Mayan spirit of the Gods within me.