Day 1 was a travel day. We flew out of Peoria and had a short layover in Dallas before landing in Belize City. We used our newly acquired Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check cards, which I highly recommend because it speeds of the process of going through TSA and creates less hassle.
I've never flown somewhere and had a driver waiting for us before. That was a new experience that I could get used to. Wayne our driver, a chatty fellow who introduced us to Belize, was hired by the lodge for transportation. After 73 miles, which took 2 hours on a sub-par highway system, we found ourselves just outside the city of San Ignacio.
On Day 2 we went to the Barton Creek Cave with our tour guide, Dimas.
|Entry to the cave.|
Afterwards Dimas took us to a waterfall and we had lunch. The water was about 75 degrees and a little chilly, but that didn't stop us from diving in!
How about a quick picture of a couple of our meals during our stay?
|Eggs, ham, tortilla and fruit for breakfast. Yum!|
Day 3 found us crossing the border to Guatemala to visit the ruins at Tikal. We forged even deeper into the jungle this time and even saw some "panther crossing" signs along the road.
Day 4 was our last day inland and we took another guided tour on the Upper Mikal River. To our pleasant surprise Wayne was our driver again. He introduced us to Dennis, a young man who grew up in the area and would pilot our pontoon boat.
We stopped at two waterfalls and a couple of the other individuals even climbed up one a ways and jumped in. I wasn't interested in getting wet again, but did have some fun navigating the rocks in the river to the falls.
Day 5 was a travel day as we headed back to Belize City to catch a ride on a puddle jumper to San Pedro Island.
San Pedro Island is weird. I guess there weren't paved roads and cars on the island until the last twenty years. Now it's over run with gas-powered golf carts as the main means of transportation and it is super touristy.
We explored the island by foot a bit and I had my taste of "The Beer of Belize."
Day 6 included manatee watching snorkeling, lunch on a small island and a quick trip to another island by the name of Caye Caulker.
Snorkeling was pretty neat, but I really enjoyed seeing the manatees up close. Unfortunately we weren't able to get a good picture of them.
Here's the small island we had lunch at, which is known as Goff's Caye.
On Day 7 we took another tour. This one promised more snorkeling out by the second largest barrier reef in the world, a stop through what is known to the locals as Shark & Ray Alley, and a longer stay on Caye Caulker.
During our second and longer visit to Caye Caulker we enjoyed what was probably my favorite meal.
Day 8 saw our departure. Taking off from the San Pedro Islan airport was an unbelievable experience. It's a smaller airport and only services other islands or passage back to Belize City. We were able to check in and then I was allowed to leave the airport, walk down a block and pick up a breakfast burrito for Laura. Crazy. That would never fly in the US.
Overall, it was a wonderful trip.
I was nervous going into this vacation, but only because I've been reading the news more and there are things out there that make you think twice about going to Central America. I also tend to worry about silly things like the language barrier and what not.
Belize is beautiful and welcoming. English is the official language of the country and most individuals are bilingual (Spanish) and some speak three languages (Creole). While inland our drivers, tour guides, and the staff at the lodge (Elmer & Josie in particular) were just tremendous. You weren't treated like "just another tourist passing through" but they really seemed concerned about making sure we had a great experience.
San Pedro Island wasn't necessarily for me. We had never really done the sun/beach thing as a couple and it was a fun experience, but it's not something I think either of us need to repeat soon. I didn't care for the touristy nature of the island, but the snorkeling, manatees and food made it worth the trip. Plus, the company was unparalleled.
If you're ever considering getting away and looking for a warm spot to land don't hesitate when considering Belize. I would highly recommend it!