San Pedro to Belize with frenchie
San Pedro to Belize with frenchie
Bar with friends in Caye Caulker!
Relaxing day today and these are some of my favourite days.
Walked around town stopping in various spots just staring at the ocean - various photos of my chill zones attached.
Got a chicken egg and cheese flapjack from a little place run by two women for breakfast. So cheap and so filling it was breakfast and lunch.
Had such a lovely day. For dinner I went back to the street vendor and then for dessert I wanted to try the key lime pie from a women who sells slices of homemade cakes and desserts but she had sold out. Disappointed! But good for her!Read more
A fantastic day snorkeling. Whilst the reef wasn't very colourful the fish, giant sea turtles, sting ray and nurse sharks that we swam with were incredible! A real highlight.
Wish I had had an underwater camera but on the other hand that would take you away from being in the momentl.
This time with the sea turtles you were really close in crystal clear water and I got to do a mermaid dance (over under and beside it) with one of them as it swam around. I had to make sure I didn't touch it. Such docile and beautiful creatures. Although I did see one get very annoyed with a smaller mate and knocked it until it swam away! I guess we all have days where alone time is required!
There were quite a few sting rays as well but the turtles get my attention every time!
I was so absorbed everyone else was back on the boat and one of the crew had to come and get me!
Next was the sharks and how exciting was that! There were so many of them and schools of fish swam around you. Once again could have stayed there for ages.
We also saw a ship wreck which was interesting - apparently it was carrying cement power and in a storm it got wet and the extra weight sank the ship!
We even saw Dorie from Finding Nemo and the elusive angel fish which is on the Belize dollar.
At might we went for a stroll down the main street and for dinner had a burrito from a street vendor where all the locals were going. $1.75 and it was huge with lots of filling.
Next I decided I would check out the local reggie bar which opens at midnight! I had arranged to met some of the group after they finished having drinks at the Sports Bar. Yes the name pretty much sums it up and its for tourists only altough the young Belize men hang out there as well then move onto the reggie club.
The Belize men are very 'attentive' and marriage proposals are common. And if you can't get picked up at a bar in under a minute then there must be something wrong with you.
So we get to the reggie bar and every drunk backbacker who is staying on the island is there. Lots of dancing and they had the cool bar swings.
I lasted about half an hour! But at least I checked it out, had a drink, a dance and declined three belizian men. Not bad for half an hour.
The little shack was snorkeling headquarters and the big plastic bottle contains a stable on the island - rum punch! Lastly thats my travel buddy from the tour at the street vendor!Read more
I had somehow expected Caye Caulker would be smaller and probably less touristy but I was still struck by it's colorful houses and nice little outlets along the beach.
It's a place to chill and relax and definitely a place for party. I had met Anneliese from England on the boat from Chetumal and together we had a great time here.
We stayed at Bella's Backpackers (the first night I actually stayed in a hammock on there patio as everything else was booked) which, with it's laid back vibe, was the perfect home on this island.
We went on a snorkeling trip to the reef and swam with nurse sharks and sting rays.
The typical night would start with sneaking into Dirty Mc Nastys (another hostel) to get some of their free rum punch and end at the sports bar where everybody on this island ended up. Which means you would meet everybody here who you had met during the day. One night we even made it to the Reggae Bar - the club where everybody goes once the sports bar shuts down.
I stayed for 3 nights and figured after just being at the coast so far it was time to head inland now...Read more
Belize today! And from now on all the remaining countries have zika travel warnings. We leave early and take a mini van to Belize. We stopped for breakfast at this great cafe/bar in Bacalar and as you can see I had no trouble finding the perfect spot!
Its right on a lagoon and so peaceful and relaxing.
At the mexican border we all get out of the van get our luggage and walk through customs then get into the van and cross the border then drive through a no man's land. Then at the Belize border out again with the luggage and walk through customs. And in the heat with the queues it was exhausting.
I asked our tour guide to show us where the mexican border was and he didn't know! He's mexican and supposedly one of the tour company's very knowledgeable guides! We were all
So I started walking around and found it! Had to record it given it was so elusive!
We got to San Pedro then caught a boat to Caye Caulker which was exhilarating. Beautiful blue ocean sitting outside on the boat with the breeze. But notice the nana scarf on my head!
Caye Caulker is so relaxing and the water is so blue. We have 3 nights here which is great.
I attend my first group dinner at a local restaurant which is much cheaper than the touristy places.
And what does zika scared girl who has with her every conceivable mosquito bite prevention measure do on her first night?! Go out in a t shirt and cropped pants with no mosquito repellent!!
Overall Belize is expensive and on par with any western country re its prices.Read more
To say we went to Belize is a lie. In fact, we're doing our best to avoid it. We've been warned of dangers many times and it only takes a quick scroll through the local rag to make that assertion yourself. Instead, we'll stick to the touristy hot spot of Caye Caulker.
Caye Caulker is a tiny island off the east coast of Belize, barely above sea level and protected from the trades by the mesoamerican coral reef. The surrounding waters are super shallow, barely deep enough for the ferries and not even deep enough to swim! It's got that caribbean island feel. Time is just a distant concept, happy hour is every hour and everybody is your 'man' or 'bro' especially if you like green or white.
We spent four nights here, getting in some serious feet up time. Our first two nights were in Pause Hostel, which clearly should be spelt Paws as it was an animal sanctuary for birds, cats and dogs - dozens of all of the above. It was a feral place; the grounds smelt like cat piss, the ocean, showers and bathroom wreeked of human waste, the room was filthy and our beds still had the previous occupants sheets on when we arrived (at night). The bathroom was disgusting, there was no hot water, the toilet had no seat and finding tp was a difficult ask. It was humorously awful until we discovered that a raw faecies were being discharged directly into the same place we were swimming. That was the straw the broke the camel's back, so we moved elsewhere. M&N Hotel felt like a luxury hotel based on our previous experience, infinitely better with lovely staff and not only towels, but fresh towels daily. What a treat! Not to mention it was cheaper than Pause!
We spent our days on the island wandering the streets, unwittingly in search of the finest cheap dining. There are a surprising number of bars and restuarants with quite a variation in price range and style of food. Undoubtedly best at breakfast was the local Fry Jacks hut. Deep fried corn bread/tortilla stuffed with your choice of chicken, ham, cheese, beans or eggs for a mere $1.50 US. A great start to every day! We also took delight in the local grill with unlimited rum, pulled pork buns, key lime pie and a variety of bakery treats enforced by the rising king of the donut, Scott.
The highlight of Caye Caulker would have to be the snorkelling. We took a full day trip with the Caveman and were not disappointed. It was an eight stop affair including swims with turtles, sharks, stingrays, eagle rays and plenty of fish and coral. The biggest prize (and main reason for the trip) proved too elusive on the day - no manatees for us. I was gutted, I've always wanted to swim with these creatures but like Caveman said "you can't control mother nature!" Our final two stops were to feed the tarpon (big fish) and the kite birds. Our guides were young and fun and very efficient which was a welcome change from some, who treat you like you can't tie your own shoe. There were plenty of options for snorkel tours as there's not too much else to do in the island. The interesting thing was that the reef extents from Cancun almost to Panama but they all snorkel the same spots. Surely there's some hidden gems they're not showing the tourists?
Caye Caulker is also one of the closest ports from which to visit the Blue Hole - a giant circular depression inside the lagoon. I would have loved to dive this or even fly over it, but at $120US it was too hard to justify. The woes of sticking to a budget...
MERC got up and running again on the island. Still working on any measure of base fitness, I was stoked for some suuuuper flat running. Unfortunately, the entire length of the island can't have been more than about 2.5km somewhat limiting explorative distances. An intervals session was proposed at the local soccer field and for the first time in MERC history, appeared successful despite a barrage of verbal insults from the local kids. The second run more than circumnavigated the island, and almost ended in disaster for me, coming through a bout of the old Delhi belly. Almost. Things are looking up for the club!
All in all it was a solid few days rest on the island. It took some adjusting to go back to english speaking, with accidental 'Holàs' slipping out on occasion. I'm sure, however, it'll be harder to go back to Spanish.
We caught the ferry back to the mainland (Belize City) which was surprisingly well run, except for the fact it was overbooked and we had to sit on the floor. From the we split Belize in two, bussing five hours due west across the border and into Guatemala. I was humoured by the emigration agent playing games on his phone whilst processing people, barely bothering to batan eyelid. Love it. We'll spend the night in Flores and set out to explore Tikal tomorrow. Fingers crossed for no rain!
For now our biggest conundrum is whether or not to visit Honduras. Suggestions welcome!Read more
"Conch fritters! Conch fritters! You're missing out!"
"I'm looking for a girlfrieeeeend!"
After a somewhat haphazard day consisting of multiple forms of transport and unorganised border crossings, the team set foot on the island of Caye Caulker, Belize some 10 hours later with much emptier wallets. Immediately after stepping off the ferry, we realised how friendly the Belizean people in this island are, striking up a conversation with anyone and everyone that passes them in the street. There are a lot of bold personalities here that's for sure. Pretty strange to be back in a predominately english speaking country again but this is only a fleeting visit for us to Belize. Expensive living and no real outstanding attractions compared to the other Central American countries means the island of Caye Caulker is the only stop for us in this country.
Accommodation options were somewhat limited for the five of us when we got around to trying to book somewhere so we ended up in an animal sanctuary come hostel for our first two nights. Unfortunately it lived up to most of the poor reviews, giving us dirty, boiling hot rooms and a lingering smell of cat pee. Probably not surprising considering there are probably at least 40 cats within this property. Perhaps the original idea was nice but the place has got out of hand and is well in need of some TLC. Thankfully after walking around and asking almost every hotel/guesthouse on the island, we found a new place to stay for our last two nights. Much cleaner, with fresh towels daily and almost half the price too. Upgrade would be an understatement.
"Go Slow" is the motto around here so that's mostly what we've been doing. Starting the day with fry jacks became part of the daily morning routine. Fry jacks are a traditional belizean dish, consisting of deep-fried dough and filled with any combination of cheese, eggs, beans, chicken or ham. They don't look appetising at all but they satisfy the stomach each morning. After that most of our days revolved around where to eat next, punctuated with drinking, swimming, kayaking, sunbathing and reading. Tough times out here.
We did make an exception to venture out for a full day snorkelling trip with Caveman tours which was definitely a highlight. Multiple stops, including one to Hol Chan Marine reserve allowed us to see a range of sea life, beginning with one of the biggest turtles any of us had ever seen. We also managed to see a few different stingrays, sharks, a shipwreck, sea horses, tarpons, eels and an abundance of other smaller fish. Unfortunately we missed out on seeing manatees due to it being the wrong season, but everyone really enjoyed the day regardless. Amazing visibility and being able to swim in such close proximity to the stingrays, sharks and the turtle was epic and our guides showed us a good time.
Given that we'd walked past Fran's Grill every night with her hollering at us to come and have dinner, we thought we'd better give her food a shot. This establishment literally consisted of a small shack about twice the size of a London telephone box for food prep and a handful of picnic tables on the beach. The usual deal involved a main with two sides, unlimited rum and dessert for 25 Belize dollars each (£10/$17NZD). This particular night they had no dessert and this was by no means a cheap meal for us so we we bargained for extra sides as a replacement! At one point Rich also tried to bargain for more rum as well, to which we had to remind him we were already getting unlimited servings... The food was pretty good, we had a mixture of jerk chicken and variations of shrimp between us and a few laughs with the staff in between.
A post dinner chat with one of the locals that helped served us gave us a bit of insight to life on the island and in Belize in general. This was definitely one of the perks of the locals speaking English here. So many times in Mexico I found myself wanting to ask more about things or the culture but the language barrier stopped me from being able to do so. Got to brush up on the Spanish some more for the next few countries as we are heading back into primarily Spanish speaking places again now.
We're headed to Guatemala next. This is one of the countries I have been looking forward to most, so let's see what it has to offer!Read more
All day diving trip to the Blue Hole, a reef and a wall...12 hours! From dusk till dawn ....getting up at 4.30am....doesn't feel like holiday 😜
A beautiful little island with a very slow and relaxing pace! 😃
Best before Dec. 1st as rthe prices double for peak season! 😉
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