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

Happy Thanksgiving from Vieques!!!

Happy Thanksgiving from the island of Vieques! No turkey for us this year (although we’re pescatarians anyway!) or catching up with the family. We spent our day in paradise!

Blue Beach
Blue Beach

All of our good intentions set the alarm for 5:45 am to watch the sunrise. All of our vacation intentions shut the alarm off and went back to sleep until 7:30. Doh! Oh well, there’s always tomorrow. At 7:45, we headed down to grab cafe from the only open place (convenient store in the middle of town) and picked up our rental. A red jeep!!! Oh, the memories of Mike and I back in high school, cruising in his red jeep…..

After a short wait (island time means they’re not open exactly at 8) we were off to blue beach in La Chiva. Heading down 997, straight into the Refufugio Nacional de Vidal Silvestre de Vieques (the islands protected park that actually used to be a bombing ground for the US) we found amazingly groomed roads (two years ago we headed to Coasta Rica and talk about bumpy!) and a pristine, private beach with white sand as far as the eye could see and blue skies overhead. Gorgeous!

Post Snorkeling selfie!
Post Snorkeling selfie!

Throwing our chairs in the shade of a palm, our bag in the back of a bush (we’d been warned about petty crime) and hit the turquoise water. It was so much calmer on the Caribbean side of the island, so we could see clear or the bottom. Although we swam and swam and didn’t see much. So, Mike suggested we swim to the small island about a 1/2 mile, give or take, from the shore. Wow, are we glad we ventured out!!! Quite a big reef surrounded the small island so we saw plenty! Small little fish darted in and put of the rocks, while brilliantly colored bigger four eyed butterfly fish glided around and then…..Mike saw a green sea turtle!!! The guy was just chillin among the coral watching us point at him. So cool!

Having not eaten breakfast (too much to see and do for that!) we swam in from an awesome snorkeling adventure and chatted about where to eat over a few Modellas. Esperanza was uncharted territory, so we packed up our beach goods and headed out. Along the way we saw a ton of wild horses, which is so cool to see!

Belly Buttons in Esperanza!
Belly Buttons in Esperanza!

About 15 minutes later, we arrived in the town. The main drag sat right on the ocean and the beaches here….well think I know this side of the island’s claim to fame! Absolutely stunning. I had read decent things about Belly Buttons, so we found it easily, ordered some boat drinks, and sat and relaxed. Turns out, the owner Tom is from Philly and we chatted about the Birds and the Phils. Such a small world!

Our bellies full, we headed towards the ocean to explore and wandered down a haphazard pier that lead out to quite a beautiful spot. Why not jump off!? So, we did! Dives, flips, splashes….and a spotted ray was spotted! An awesome, playful afternoon. Next on the list: more snorleking!

Drinks & view at the W resort
Drinks & view at the W resort

Rompeolas Mosquito pier, just passed the airport, proved to be a warm, fun, popular snorkeling spot. Many black sea urchins, trumpet fish, fairy basslets, a whole slew of tiny fish were seen! A slight rain shower sprung up just as we were calling it quits. A perfect afternoon. One stop at the W resort on Vieques for glorious drinks on the veranda (a banana daiquiri for me, a monitor for Mike). Among the hotel guests, who all lounged in the lobby for some reason, we chatted amongst ourselves about the fiscal comparison between the setup we went with (rented a car for $75 a day, apartment for $75) and the beautiful W resort (rooms run from $275+). Makes one wonder….

Ceviche!
Ceviche!

The night tapped out with a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner below our apartment stairs on┬áthe main drag at a place called Bieke’s Bistro. Amazing ceviche, seafood, and service! Mike and I spoke of how thankful we were for our wonderful life, our families and what the future holds. Being grateful for our vacation and the good fortune we have had in our new Colorado home. A perfect nightcap to a busy, busy island day and a Thanksgiving for the books!

Happy & Thankful on Thanksgiving
Happy & Thankful on Thanksgiving

 

Hope everyone had a healthy & Happy Thanksgiving!