My latest story for The Washington Post runs in the paper's travel section on November 6, 2016.

 A fleet of boats awaits lounging explorers at Ramon’s Village Divers, one of the oldest guide firms in Belize. (Dina Mishev)

A fleet of boats awaits lounging explorers at Ramon’s Village Divers, one of the oldest guide firms in Belize. (Dina Mishev)

Beneath the surface — caving and diving — Belize is breathtaking

“Fishing” for a tarantula — using a twig to tease it out of the hole in the ground it calls home — is cool by me, at least after I pull the thick sleeve of my rain jacket over my hand. But I draw the line at holding the scorpion spider that my guide, Alex Guzman, offers me. He had nonchalantly plucked it off its perch and it now rests in his palm, looking as sedate and nonvenomous as a spider the size of an adult’s palm can look.

It’s still a spider, though. The size of my palm.

Except it’s not a spider. Alex tells me this in an attempt to convince me that holding it isn’t such a bad idea. “So it’s a scorpion?” I ask. I’d rather hold a spider. But it’s not a scorpion, either. A scorpion spider is related to both spiders and scorpions, but is its own thing, which Alex assures me is not venomous. Whatever it is or isn’t, there’s no question it’s the size of my palm. I’m not sold.

Read the rest of the article here.