My wife, Sarah, planned our vacation to Belize to include a final, full, day unencumbered by any plans. We woke up before the sun and because the lodgings at The Turtle Inn face east, including our own Starfish Cottage, we held hands in bed and watched it rise above the Caribbean Sea lighting up the Belizean sky in various hues of orange. Every day of the vacation started with, at the very least, a delicious cup of Guatemalan coffee and this one was no different. The four of us (Sarah, me, Bob and Susan Green) washed down a variety of morning delicacies with two French press pots of the rich, black, caffeine filled ambrosia and discussed what was in store for the day.
Sarah and Susan decided they’d spend the first part of the morning on paddle boards. I volunteered to play lifeguard (even though I would have had to corral and actual lifeguard if either actually needed help) while reading the next book on my list, Before the Fall a page turner written by Noah Hawley. Bob was going to read too but he decided to do that, on a lounge chair, in the comfort of the deck that surrounded our private pool. Time floated by on a soft, spring breeze and the early morning activities gave way to a mid morning walk along the beach and eventually lunch.
The food at The Turtle Inn, and Blancaneaux before that, was delicious but the salads, made with fresh, garden grown vegetables, were especially good. Leafy greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, mint, basil, and more, coming out of the ground not 25 yards from where we ate, were flavorful and filling. After lunch we headed back to the Starfish Cottage for a spirited game of bocce. Susan and Bob against Sarah and Keith, first team to 21 wins, best two out of three. The in-laws jumped out to a big lead but we battled back, first tying and then going ahead and on to win game one. game two was less competitive despite Bob and Susan trying to make a spirited comeback of their own. Sarah then decided we should “mix it up” so she partnered with her dad to take on Susan and me. This game to eleven. With the “pig” changing hands and finding hiding places in the sand, they piled up a few early points but then my mother in-law caught fire and brought us back to even at 10-10. Since you had to “win by two” I was imagining this game lasting for a while when Sarah nestled a ball up next to the “pig” and Bob expertly blocked our approach. I had one last chance to continue the game but failed miserably on my attempt and Sarah and Bob exchanged high fives (after setting their champagne glasses down, of course).
Post bocce seemed like the perfect time to get back on the resort provided bicycles and ride back into town to try the gelato which everyone said might be the best we’d ever have. I don’t have a lot of gelato experience but after enjoying a scoop of Stracciatella (vanilla with chocolate shards) combined with a scoop of cinnamon I couldn’t image gelato any where in the world tasting any better. Sarah and Bob both had Cappuccino while Susan showed an amazing amount of control and abstained. Satisfied, we rode back to The Turtle Inn and took a dip in the Triangle Pool (filled with warm, salt water) then hung out some more before it was time for dinner.
The next day was departure day and we left for the air strip expecting one last bumpy Belizean ride, this one in a DeHavillan Twin Otter DHC-6. The prop plane, with room for 22 (including our pilot and co-pilot) was clearly a veteran of this flight from Placencia to Belize City. We boarded first which meant we Sarah and I got a birds eye view of the cockpit. The pilot taxied to the end of the runway, turned around, revved the engines and let her loose. Once up in the air we levelled off at a cruising altitude of somewhere between 1440 and 1520 feet above the ground and settled in for a surprisingly smooth flight.
Starting our decent into Belize City drove home the notion that our vacation was, indeed, at an end. It was a terrific trip. We’ll all remember Caracol and the caves (Barton Creek as well as Rio Frio), the jungle, the beach, the food and the drink. Most of all I think we’ll remember the smiling faces of the incredibly hospitable Belizean people. Johnny, Pedro, Gilberto, Viktor, Susilly (just call me Susie), Baromeo, Virgil, Umberto, Graciella, and the rest. We’ll remember the bumpy roads, the diverse landscape and the barrier reef. I’ll remember not dying in the middle of the Caribbean Sea.
If any of this encouraged you to check out Belize for yourself may I suggest doing a little research online. You’ll need bug spray and suntan lotion; a good attitude and a sense of adventure; a full iTunes playlist and a good book or two. Might I also suggest shooting Rachel Hornaday at Central American Journeys an email Rachel@centralamericajourneys.com she did right by us and I’m sure she’ll do the same by you.
Until next time.