A few years ago Mr. Buckley approached me and he had heard we were planning to create a webpage at that time we were brainstorming the idea. He handed me a few sheets of paper entitled History of the C.T.G.A and told me that he and Don Sam had wrote it and asked If I can use it on the page. I read it though and it was nicely put together so I stored it on my shelf until I could use it recently I found it and decided that it was time. Although it was written on 2005 there was few areas where I could have updated it. So here it is in is full version and can also be found on our about page.
San Ignacio & Santa Elena the twin towns
Western Belize is known for its rolling hills, diverse, friendly, cultural people with a strong ecological and archaeological foundation. A tourist hub for travelers heading to many of its destinations, ancient ceremonial centers, lush dense pine, boadleaf and riverine forests to the mammoth cathedral like caves. The twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena are located along the Western Highway, about 70 miles from Belize City. Together, the towns have a combined population of about 18,000 people that include Creole, Mestizo, Garifuna, Chinese, Mennonite, Maya and others. The towns are united by the Macal River and the icon of the west, a suspension bridge named the Hawksworth Bridge. On those very hot days, the preferred choice to cool off is to go swimming, snack on mangoes or oranges, or have a picnic with Santa Elena’s famous BBQ. In San Ignacio, along Burns Avenue, the main downtown strip, you can find nothing short of of banks, restaurants, cafes, deli’s, hotels, gift shops, tour operators, clothing shops and grocery stores. The farmers’ market is nearby, where a variety of fruits and vegetables can be bought from the very people that grew it. Although shops at the market are open all week long, Saturday is the main market day. It is when you can buy everything from apples to Zenith TVs. Residents also love sports, thus there are plenty of football stadiums, basketball courts and running tracks. The twin towns are the halfway point for the grand Holy Saturday Cross Country Classic Cycling Race and the starting point of the famous La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge Canoe Race.
Cayo Tour Guide Association History
The Cayo Tour Guide Association is a proud and respected body of tour guides that are qualified and certified by Belize’s Tourism Board. Founded in 1994 in the beautiful towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena in western Belize, it is the most active tour guide association in the country. It consists of approximately 180 guides specializing in Mayan archeology, caving, ornithology, river adventures and traditional ethnobotany practices. We are also involved in the community, by protecting our archaeological history, natural formations, flora and fauna. In addition, we also host clean up campaigns around town, highways and rivers and we educate the future of Belize, our school children, when they visit Belize’s sites.
The Cayo Tour Guide Association has a long history in Belize. On the 15th October 1990 the first discussion was held with BTIA at Maya Mountain Lodge, but for reasons unknown it did not succeed. In 1994 a second opportunity came and discussions were held at the Snooty Fox. Mr. Godman Ellis and Mr. Herman Velasques were the Association co-ordinators. At this meeting; a Board of Directors was nominated with Mr. Herman Velazquez as President. The Cayo Tour Guide Association saw its birth on 12 November 1994 with a modest twelve members. It’s membership rapidly grew to over 90 ninety guides over the first twelve months. The C.T.G.A. as it would later be known was the first to be recognized by Belize Tourist Board. After several months the meeting place was changed to Piache’s Hotel, months later it was transferred to San Ignacio Hotel (Caracol Room). Today the guides meeting is held at the CET Center for Employment Training.
A Tour Guide Training was held at Maya Mountain Lodge where 82 eighty two guides including two females received License Certificate of Training. In 1995, Cayo Tour Guide Association achieved its logo and it’s slogan Spring Board to Adventure, a redesign of the logo was done in 2005 with the help of Christophe Helmke PhD it featured mayan hieroglyphs pronounced as “Upayala Kayo’o” meaning Cayo Guide. At the very start the first members agreed to have monthly meetings the second Monday of every month; it was also agreed that all members must be “active members” of the association in order to be active guides.
Mr. Joseph Awe has served most years as president an amazing 7 seven Years.
Mr. Elbert Flowers was the first Vice President
Mr. Manfred Lohr first treasurer (deceased).
Mr. Anastacio Bol is the current Treasurer.
The first secretary was Ms. Yolanda Mendez.
Ms. Charlie Collins served many consecutive years as secretary.
First liaison officer was Mr. Javier Gutierrez.
cayoguides.org was created in March of 2013 managed by Cruz Cambranes
Mr. Herman Velasquez
Mr. Rudy Juan
Mr. Julian Sherrard
Mr. Javier Gutierrez
Mr. Gonzalo Pleitez
Mr. Luis Godoy
Mr. Joseph Awe
Mr. Angel Velasquez
Mr. Cruz Cambranes
Mr. Andy Bahdur
Mr. Emil Gamez
FIRST BOARD MEMBERS
Godwyn Buckley JP
CAYO TOUR GUIDE ASSOCIATION HAS A POWERFUL MEMBERSHIP OF CAPABLE TOUR GUIDES!
By: Mr. Godwyn Buckley, JP And Don Samuel 27 July 2005
Re-edit: Cruz Cambranes 2014