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You Better Belize It!

GUATEMALA | Wednesday, 21 March 2007 | Views [1672] | Comments [1]

Yep, it's pretty here on the Cayes.

Yep, it's pretty here on the Cayes.

It has been a lovely past few days spent at Caye Caulker, an island about 20 miles outside of Belize City. After leaving Orange Walk on Monday morning (with what felt like the entire population of the town on the bus with us) we were happily on our way to spend a few days lounging on the beach. 

Since we arrived in the early afternoon Trish and I quickly tossed off our dirty, sweaty clothes in exchange for our bathing suits.  There really isn't much of a beach on Caye Caulker but yet there were plenty of people sunbathing all over the place. We just had to join them.  I don't think we did much other than hang out in the sun and eat. Well, I ate anyway.  I couldn't turn down this shrimp stand just a few feet away from our sunbathing spot since the wind blew the scent of barbeque, pepper and salt in my direction.  For just a few Belizean dollars I had two lovely shrimp sticks covered in garlic and red pepper straight off the BBQ. 

Tuesday was mostly spent in the amazing barrier reef that lines the coast of Belize.  The sea is quite shallow west of the reef so it's quite warm and easy to spot marine life.  For a mere $45 US dollars we had a day full of snorkeling, food and drinks! (Thanks again to Patrick for the recommendation to go with Ragamuffin---they were amazing!) It was quite possibly the most fun I've ever had under water.  Since I'm not the strongest swimmer I was a little nervous to get back in the ocean as it's been a few years. However the warm water called and I was ready to jump in at our first stop at the Coral Gardens. The coral was incredible and abundant so I couldn't believe 40 minutes had passed when they called us back to the boat to sail to our next snorkel stop. After climbing aboard we were pleasantly greeted with fresh watermelon and pineapple to munch on as we sailed to our second stop: Shark Alley.  And indeed, this was shark infested water...but they were filled with nurse reef sharks so they were harmless to swim around.  Before we even began to snorkel again a reef shark came to greet us at the boat so I was able to snap a few pictures before he swam off.   Here we swam with stingray, nurse reef sharks, barracuda, red snapper and more.  If I hadn't been wearing the snorkel mask my jaw certainly would have been on the ground. It didn't even phase the fish that we were in their neighborhood. Even the fish in Belize have a 'no worries' attitude! After another enjoyable snorkel we had lunch aboard (fish sandwiches, how appropriate right?) the boat as we sailed to our final destination at Hol Chan Marine Reserve.  We didn't spot any sharks here although we did see a few eels and extremely colorful fish. I know some of you may have had the best time snorkeling/diving the Great Barrier Reef but after yesterday I'd have to say the cayes here are certainly good competition.  To end the perfect snorkel tour we had a very slow sail back to Caye Caulker with rum punch and punta rock blaring from the boat. (Punta rock is BIG in Belize...heavy on the drums, lots of call and response...it's quite catchy---especially after a few rum punch drinks.) It was an amazing day in the cayes and I finally understood the cheesy but charming Belize tourism slogan of "You Better Belize It!" or "Unbelizeable!" It's a fairly accurate respone one might have after spending a week or so here.

However, our time in Belize has come to an end. We said a sad adios to Belize this morning as we crossed into Guatemala. But now that I'm in Guatemala I'm finding myself thinking,"Belize shmelize---THIS is Latin America!!" I guess I was looking forward to being in Guatemala since I've been practically skipping around the narrow, colorful alleys of Flores. Spanish is slowing forming from my lips but I feel fairly optimistic since I have been able to understand 85% of what has been said to me so far. Other travelers have been complaining about the cost of Flores but we found a hostel for $3.25US a night so I don't know why people were bitching. Trish and I have two nights here so we can explore the Mayan temple of Tikal and then we'll move on to Coban.

We have made a slight change of plans since we are so short on time. We have cut out Honduras from the adventure so we can enjoy Guatemala without being rushed. (Note to Inez: We are flying from Guatemala City to San Jose on April 5th in the afternoon so we are still arriving before you.) Also, after much contemplation we will probably spend a week in Venezuela and then fly to Quito, Ecuador for our Galapagos trip so we are skipping Colombia.  At first I was disappointed but I've accepted it now. Besides, I am going to have to return to Latin America for Part II to see the countries I skip over this time so I'm just adding them to the list.

I'm off to do laundry now and go grocery shopping. See, there are a few not so glorious things to do while traveling.

Tags: Beaches & sunshine



You're a great blogger. It sounds like you have already realized that trying to do to much only puts stress when traveling is all about enjoying everything you can. It is wonderful to hear of your travels so keep on blogging when you can. Take care, and try to keep the bugs from bitting.
Aunt Robin

  Au Mar 28, 2007 10:55 AM

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