Belize (December 15 to 19, 2011)

Mode of Transportation:
To: Plane
Around: Tour Guide, Boat and Golf Cart

San Ignacio - Midas Hotel
Caye Caulker - Barefoot Caribe

Recommended Season: Summer in Belize (December to March)

Crew Size: 6

Day 1:
Arrived in Belize International Airport at 11 am. Upon arrival, my friends and I were picked up by Belize Nature Travel owner Luis Godoy. Luis served as our travel guide for the first 3 days of the trip.

After Arriving we were brought to Cheers for lunch. I got beef fajita. It was a little dry and took too long. I asked my coworkers what the local delicacy was, they said rice and beans, and then laughed. Hmmm, I guess they were serious, because the Luis told us that "rice and beans" was in fact a local staple - and so did all the menus in all of Belize. What's interesting about Cheers is the look. Everyone that visits San Ignacio stops here for a meal. It's location is comparable to a truck stop. Very interesting set up, reminds me of the bus stops in the Philippines.

Cheers... Somewhere between Belize City and San Ignacio. Photo by Local Visitor

After lunch we went cave tubing (40USD per person). It was fun and a little scary. We went on a short hike upstream of a river that runs underneath a cave. I can't remember the name of the Cave, but this is where everyone or most of the tour guides take tourists for cave tubing.

Our final stop for the day was dinner at Hode's. A very good meal after a tiring day. Luis drove us around town, took us to the hotel (25USD per person for transport to the hotel) and we then walked to dinner. We had steak and chicken and thank goodness I decided to order the pork chop. I don't know if it's their specialty, but the crew decided it was the best of the lot. I also loved the grilled chicken. So if you ever make it there, do order the pork chop and the chicken. These are both from the grill.

Day 2:
Luis picked us up at around 730 in the morning. Having all our clocks stuck in eastern time, we thought we woke up at 7am and started scrambling. The hotel was alright but they did not have a clock. It was a very quaint, very lovely cabin, but we have a schedule to keep!

We were taken to the border of Belize and Guatemala (18USD per person to cross to Guatemala). A lot of traffic at the border, having a tour guide definitely made things a lot easier. That day's destination was the Tikal Ruins (100USD including some really good coffee and lunch). It was quite a hike. If you're not big on archaeology, the critters in and around the ruins will definitely keep you interested. We saw birds, coatimundis (raccoon family), leaf cutters (crazy cool ants), and several monkeys jumping around the trees. It was quite fantastic.

Miniature Tikal at the lobby of the ruins. Photo by Local Visitor

One of the many protected carvings in the ruins. Photo by Local Visitor

The tour ended with a late lunch at a restaurant by the ruins. There were three choices: vegetarian, plain grilled chicken, grilled chicken with bacon mushroom sauce. Well, you know me and food. My friends and I all had the same thing and drove away very, very satisfied!

Upon return to San Ignacio, Luis took us to return our bags to the hotel and dropped us off at the town. In town we had some yummy, non dairy ice cream, tacos from the streets of San Ignacio, and souvenir shopping. Everyone in town is hustling. I feel bad turning down people trying to sell tours to us. A supposedly ten minute walk to the hotel turned into about an hour. We ran into a play ground and started goofing around with the swings, monkey bars, and busted a two each end on the sea saws.

We ended the day with a game of basketball in the pool, some more food from Hode's (fried chicken, grilled fish, and nachos), and some drinks from the bar. This might be a Filipino preference, but do try the grilled fish with soy sauce and lime, oh heaven!

Day 3:
In a rush, got up at 630am, bought breakfast at the morning market (something that goes on every Saturday in San Ignacio, comparable to a swap meet). For the last time, Luis picked us up (all packed and checked out) and drove us to coffee and to our destination for the day, the ATM Cave Adventure Tour (135USD per person, includes lunch). Actun Tunichil Muknal, home of several sets of pots and sacrificial human remains. It was quite a tour. A few steps here and there, crossed three rivers, went through a few hoops while submerged in water, and climbed the ouch ouch rocks. I must say, I agree with everyone, this is definitely something you shall not miss. Do bring some bread for snacks before entering the cave.

Pots were found in specific arrangements, which pertain to the time and ritual that was being performed. Photo by Don Manuel Dulos

We drove away with a turkey wrap. We were dropped off at the port in Belize City to take a boat to Caye Caulker. After a 45 minute boat ride, we took a golf cart to to our hotel, settled in and got dinner. Dinner was, yes Belize is on a streak, very good. We had lobster, fish and steak at a restaurant in front of the hotel. After dinner, we walked around and found some ice cream for dessert. I did not have ice cream, I had a mudslide instead. Just like Vegas, you can walk on the streets with alcohol in hand. We got some local rum, but ended up calling it a night.

No cars in Caye Caulker, just golf carts. Photo by Don Manuel Dulos

Day 4:
No more Luis, now we are on our own. We got out of the hotel at around 9am. We returned to the ice cream shop for breakfast. Everyone had something from their specials, and every plate looked, smelled and tasted good. At 1015am we headed to our adventure for the day, snorkeling (45USD per person, includes lunch and gear). The tour included three stops: a protected reserve with reefs and an ocean of fish, a shark alley, and an area where we were allowed to explore without much restrictions. Our guide was funny, informative and took good care of us. Half of my group became sea sick and he tried hard to make them feel better. 

Upon return to the island, we decided to rent a golf cart (80USD for 24 hours). We took a stroll around town, got some souvenirs, had dinner, saw a town parade, some of my friend got a henna tattoo, grabbed some drinks and ended the night in the hotel.

The "newly tattooed" and the artist. Photo by Local Visitor

  • The local rum was very good.
  • The tattoo artist was very interesting and very talented, but the henna ink he was using was lacking quality.
  • The golf cart was a very good idea. It's a small island and walking is always good, but the golf cart was fun.
  • We checked out a few bars. There were quite a bit of them, and all were less than a quarter full. I am speculating that we were there during the beginning of the season and during peak would be to capacity.

Day 5:
Last day in Belize. It was a slow morning. We had lunch and did some last minute souvenir shopping. In one of our stops was a group of children fishing for crabs. They were relaxing to watch. They had no care in the world and were just having a good morning.

Belize-an children hunting some crabs. Photo by Local Visitor 

The trip ended with a boat ride back to Belize City and then to the airport. Over all it was a good trip, not too tiring and not too boring either. Food was good and people were nice. With questions, feel free to comment.

I have a few more trips to publish. Sorry for the delay, but I hope my blog is helpful and a motivation to travel.

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