Adventures in Belize: Day 5

The great thing about getting to bed so early is waking up with the sun. 6:15 rolled around and we were up! Coffee by the glorious pool before we headed out to our snorkeling adventure. Because we had brought our own gear, we didn’t need to arrive to meet the boat until 10:15, so an early leisurely breakfast at The Happy Lobster it was! A delicious spinach omelet with a homemade flour tortilla and Marie Sharps habanero hot sauce hit the spot. We were fueled to snorkel!
Our group looked sea worthy and ready for adventure as we walked to the dock. Our snorkeling vessel, The Ragga Queen, was on a mooring, so the captain zipped us over in a speed boat and we were off. After a short briefing, we were off, the beautiful ocean waters leaving a nice white wake and the shore behind. Mike and I sat on the stern and drank it all in…until we couldn’t take the scorching sun, and ducked into the cabin for some shade. We had a group of Irish med students onboard, 9 in total, who were delightful and who had been traveling for several weeks before their rotations started. A 30 year old Holland lad who was traveling alone, told us he had been traveling for almost 8 months, and had been all over central and South America. Brazil had been his favorite country and he said the four weeks he had spent there hadn’t been enough. I asked how he had gotten so much time to travel without working and he explained he was in between Army tours, so had had the time and took it to travel the world. It truly makes you think, and realize, anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

Since I’m recovering this from our trip over 4 months ago, I’m going to leave it here. The trip was amazing: filled with wonderful people, fresh food, memories we will all remember forever! If you have any questions about what we did, where we went, where we stayed, please reach out!

Here’s a breakdown of what we spent – for myself, Mike and my mom:

Nickels and Dimes of Belize

Jungle lodging: Casa Santa Maria: $912 (this included breakfast each morning)
Island lodging: Caye Caulker (with a pool!): $500
Crystal Auto Rental: 4 days, $422
Dinners at Casa Santa Maria: $25 Belizean per person, totaling
Mayan Ruins: $10 Belizean per person
Benny’s restaurant: $58 Belizean (for all 3 of us)
Che Chem Ha (Mayan cave tour) – $50 Belizean per person
Belikin beers stops: $2.50 Belizean per beer – with a .25 cent deposit (you get that back when you return the empties)
Botanical Gardens: $15 Belizean per person
Du Plooys Jungle Resort Lunch: $54 Belizean

Adventures in Belize: Day 4

We awoke early to pack up, as we were leaving the jungle and heading to Caye Caulker. The time spent here had been amazing and we all felt as though we had seen so much of this part of the country. From the Belizean people, to the gourmet food Lucy had made us, to the Mayan ruins, river adventures and cave tour….it had been quite the trip! Lucy made us breakfast, helped us pack the car and blew us kisses as we left. We would sure miss her cooking and hospitality!
The drive out wasn’t nearly as stressful, due to our having daylight on our side and we arrived at the rental car return by 11:00 am. Just in time to catch the ferry at noon! The manager at Crystal car rental even gave us a lift to the ferry terminal, free of charge, and gave us tips about catching a taxi on our return trip, where to get your luggage and how much time we should leave ourselves. Extremely helpful!

The ferry arrived on time (it was actually just a speed boat!) and we packed in and we’re off to the island. The 45 minute ride was beautiful, with turquoise water that stretched as far as the eye can see and a blazing sun shining down. We would spend the next four days in paradise and I was soaking it up! A man sitting next to me on the boat told me he was a reggae singer and played every Friday at on of the island bars. One of the guide books explained there was a big rasta vibe on the island, so we knew it would be laid back. Arriving at the dock, we left off, grabbed our bags, and found a taxi who was waiting for us at the dock to take us to our island getaway.

First stop was the management company the Airbnb house used to help coordinate guests, Palmetto Accommodations. They gave us keys to the house and told us we could come rent bikes later. The Island was about a mile long, so having a bike to cruise around on would be so fun! Ce-Ce, one of the managers, followed us to the house to explain the what’s what and answer any questions. The house had wi-fi, but no air conditioning, a trade off I’m not sure we loved, but the gorgeous pool in the front yard made up for it.

After exploring the two story bungalow, slipping into our bathing suits to take a dip (we were drenched!) and putting our suitcases away, we headed back to the office to rent bikes and went to explore town and get a bite to eat. The Rainbow Grill had gotten great reviews, so we pedaled there. Due to the fact that my mom was with us, and I know she was used to a certain way of traveling, eating and a certain level of service, I had worried a bit about Mike and my travel style jiving with hers. It’s a fine chemistry you need when you choose travel partners, friend or family, and finding the right concoction can make or break the vacation. So far, we had been go, go going (which was a style we all liked) so the slower pace this leg of the journey promised could be a challenge…we shall see!

Mike wanted to head back to the house to put the beer we had ordered from the management company in the fridge, so my mom and I biked down towards the restaurant and stopped at Raggamuffin tour company to inquire about the following days’ snorkeling excursions. They had an all day tour that included lunch, 3 stops on a sailboat, and rum punch for the way back. It sounded perfect, so we signed up!

Lunch was Devine: huge fish fillets with garlic and lemon, fresh veggies and a pina colada. And the view!! Water so blue it hurt your eyes, with palms swaying lazily in the breeze. Absolute heaven! With lunch finished, we moseyed on down to the split, not quite the end of Caye Caulker, but a pause in the island where a hurricane had ripped through in 1961. The remaining half of the island continued on the other side, you just needed to have a boat to swim to get to the other side. The Lazy Lizard had prime real estate at the very end of the island, so we stopped in and plunked right on down to the water stools to order some more fruity cocktails and play in the water. Now most of our vacations include activity after activity and we’re really not ones to sit and day drink….but it was the perfect end to a day of travel and a beautiful start to our island vacation. We chatted with a local older gentlemen, an American, who explained he had been living on the island for the last year and had just recently bought a boat. He said living on the island was ‘ok’ for now, and he really wanted a catamaran boat. Even in paradise, there are wants!

We finished our beverages and biked back to the house in dusk light, moseying along the streets, familiarizing ourselves with the what’s what and where’s where of the island. The houses on the island varied from shacks on stilts, to colorful bungalows, to private oasis’s you could barley see from the street. The people of Caye Caulker were poor, living in a third world country, but extremely proud, hard working, and ever so friendly. People smiled and greeted us and the vibe was super welcoming.

After a long day of sun, travel and boat drinks, we called it an early night. Snorkeling adventures awaited us the next day!