Post has been updated with pictures! Got back from Berlin a week ago and then I headed off to Belize with my boys on Friday, June 13th, which turned out to be our lucky day, no flight delays to speak of, and smooth flying. We weren’t sure if we were going to take a plane or the water taxi to Ambergris Caye, but once we landed and checked it out, we decided to fly. It was a good decision, even though it is a short flight, it was great to see the sea from above, the water is remarkably clear and blue. We are staying at the Villas at Banyan Bay, which is south of the airport in San Pedro. The hotel is very family oriented with fully equipped condos surrounding a nice pool. We chose a pool view room, which was a little less expensive than a sea view, a good choice since our boys are spending most of their time in the pool, and we can watch them from our front porch.
On our first full day, we started off with a walk into downtown. San Pedro is full of restaurants, excursion providers, etc…very much geared toward the main industry, tourism. People are friendly, and a broad mix of backgrounds. In the afternoon, we took a trip to Hol Chan, a marine reserve where Brandon and I snorkeled while Mike and Andrew tried out their newly certified SCUBA skills. I have snorkeled a few times, but this was the most amazing array of wildlife I have ever seen. Our first treat was a beautiful sea turtle who swam with us for a bit. Next I saw a few nurse sharks – they are bottom feeders and totally harmless, but one of the women in our group wasn’t as comfortable around them.
Hol Chan is a marine preserve, so we had to have a guide with us – he was great in pointing out the various types of fish, and corals, some that sting and others that are as sharp as razors. The coral isn’t colorful, but there are lots of fish of all sizes, we saw barracuda, and there was also a large eel that I couldn’t see because I’m getting near-sighted. I’m wondering if there are face masks for us near-sighted folks…although I didn’t have much trouble seeing most of the fish. We then went to a place where the sharks and rays hang out waiting for chum from the tourist boats. They swarm around the boats initially then move off once the food is gone. Brandon and I waited until they had moved off a bit, but we saw plenty of nurse sharks and a couple of big rays. One of the guides held onto a nurse shark so we could tough it. It was very docile, and didn’t seem to mind the attention. Nurse sharks are one of the only sharks that can sit on the bottom and “sleep” we saw a couple of them doing that. We all had a great time in the marine park, and may do it again before we leave, or go to a place called Mexico rocks.
For dinner, we chose a Jamaican restaurant, Jambals. The jerk chicken and pork was great, spicy but not too hot. It’s low season for tourists, but there were still lots of folks out at the bars, also watching the world cup soccer games. The strong winds have kept the temperatures very tolerable, and I haven’t noticed any mosquitos so far, although I’m still suffering from bites I got before we left Austin.
Today is Sunday, and the local electrical utility is doing some major work, so the power has been out since 6am and is supposed to be back on by 3pm. This hasn’t cramped our style at all, we are planning to rent a golf cart to drive around town, after the boys are done playing in the pool.
— We are back from our trip with the golf cart, had a great lunch at Estel’s on the beach, we had barbeque and the location was perfect. Then we took a ride in our golf cart to the southern part of the island. Looks like it was hit hard by the end of the real estate bubble, but still has lots of nice houses and condos. Mike walked through the Mayan ruin site we forgot to bring bug spray and I’m a mosquito magnet so the boys and I waited for him. Lobster fest starts tonight in San Pedro, so we will be heading up for dinner tonight to see if we can get lobster!
— We enjoyed a nice lobster dinner and the boys got papusas at Waruguma restaurant. The boys enjoyed watching them make the papusas.