Thursday, January 7, 2010

You Betta Belize It!

After sufficiently putting off the "look what we did on over our holiday vacation" blog, I've finally found the time {and energy} to give it a go. Thanks for your patience once again! We've only been gone just 2 {now almost 3} short weeks, but so much has happened I'm not quite sure where to begin. Soon after finishing all the delicious holiday desserts, we packed up Dewey and headed for Placencia, Belize. That's right, the country where their official tourism slogan is "You Betta Belize It!"

A neighbor to the north of us here in Guatemala, it is no short trip to get to there. One has 2 options when arriving in Belize {from Guatemala} via land {and/or water}. You can either drive the 14+ hours past Tikal and enter into Belize close to the capital, or do what we did - drive, boat, bus & boat again - to trim off about half of the time. Now you know as well as us that this family is always up for a driving adventure, but with guests arriving for a visit the day after Christmas we feared we may not make it back in time if we chose the longer route. Instead, we drove 5 hours to Puerto Barrios, Guatemala {leaving home in the wee hours of the morning in order to catch the morning ferry} where we safely stored Dewey in a secure parking lot and jumped on a ferry for the hour long trek across the Caribbean to Punta Gorda, Belize. From PG, after crossing through customs, we hitched a bus 2 hours north to Independence and then caught a 20-minute water taxi to the beautifully peaceful refuge of Placencia.

Belize is most commonly known for it cayes {pronounced keys} where most go for dive trips to the 2nd largest barrier reef on Earth. However, the cayes aren't know for great beaches and since we're not divers {you may recall a hellacious trip last year where we attempted to learn and then got rained out}, we chose to spend our vacay where we could relax in the sand and sun.... and of course stir up a little adventure too. And that is exactly what we did!

After nearly a full day of travel we dragged our weary selves into
Captain Jak's cabanas in Placencia Village and quickly fell in love with the surrounds as well as the awesome owners, Erin & Lucky Ivy. Surprisingly impressed by the adorable cabanas {they also offer cabins and a villa for larger groups} we settled in to life in Placencia, doing a whole lot of nothing for the next 7 days. It was great.

Unfortunately with our arrival, we met some grey, rainy skies, but within a few days things had cleared up and we were able to begin the fun in the sun. We had so much fun exploring the quaint peninsula of Placencia, but we must warn any of you that do plan to visit in the future, that transportation there is both expensive and not very accessible. The village, where we were staying, is defintely the place to be in you want the option of walking to restaurants, shops, etc. But about 8 miles up the pennisula is another great little area called Maya Beach. Sadly public busses don't run between the 2 locations very frequently and renting a car {or golf cart} is extremely expensive {like $80 USD a day} and unless you are planning a long drive it's not really worth it just to go 8 miles. However, we did bus 1 day to Maya Beach to lunch at the Maya Beach Hotel, an adorable, peaceful place owned by the sister of a friend of ours. Lunch was divine and the setting was the best we saw in Placencia, by far!

A few days into the trip Lucky & Erin offered to take us out on their 40 ft. sail boat. It was fabulous. While we didn't get to do so much sailing {the breezes weren't cooperating} we did have a great time snorkeling, fishing and lunching on Erin's delicious chicken salad. On the way back in Ben & I even got to take a turn a the wheel!

Through Erin & Lucky we also met a sweet Canadian family who just recently moved to Palcencia to live for the next year. How cool are those parents for giving their 4 kids such an awesome opportunity? Placencia is so safe that the kids just roam on their bikes all day and catch crabs off the dock in their front yard. Danielle the oldest daughter even catches a water taxi every day to and from school - sure beats the heck out the riding the big cheese! {Note to self to remember this a few years down the road.} Ben spent a fun day fishing with them and the ultimate guide, Percy, King of the Howlers and we all went out snorkeling together too. Dan {the dad} is becoming an expert at catching lobster and was kind enough to catch a few for us to eat fresh!

The rest of our time as spent on the beach taking in the crystal clear water and colorful sunsets.

We're not really the kind who like to visit the same place twice, but Placencia is certainly on the return trip list and Captain Jak's would be a great place for a family vacation one day!

1 comment:

aaron said...

epic trip! this is actually one of the first positive trip reports i've heard of Belize. Most other people (not many, i admit) have said they were disappointed. so glad you had a great trip. it goes without saying, but once again - im jealous!!