There is a surprise around every corner in Belize; and guests at Chaa Creek and other area lodges may not know it, but one of the world’s strangest, most unique art galleries is only a short drive away, a few clicks south of Benque Viejo on the Hyrdo Road.
It’s called the Poustinia Land Art Park, a self-described “environmental project, in which nature interacts and develops, simultaneously.” The name — poustinia — means “desert of the soul” in Russian, beckoning artists and others to come to the Cayo forest to explore that inner desert.
The converted cattle ranch is a stone’s throw from the Guatemalan border, and is surrounded by Maya archeological sites. You’ll take a guided walk through Poustinia (visit by appointment only) in which you’ll visit various installations on a circular trail; it is all the combined dreams of Luis Alberto Ruiz, whose family owns the land, and a small group of other visionary Belizean and international artists (see New York Times, “And You Thought Art in New York Was a Jungle” by Bruce Barcott). This outdoor art experience is not for everyone; it is a hot, harsh, jungle environment, but that’s part of it — viewing art in the forest which is designed to interact with that forest.
Combine a visit here with the Chechem Ha cave and waterfall, a bit farther down the Hydro Road.
— by Joshua Berman, author of Moon Belize