Saturday, June 02, 2007

Finally. Belize Break-Down.


The question of this trip seemed to be “What are you doing next?” Our response always was “We don’t know yet…” This was the most unplanned trip Kurt and I ever took. We did not reserve a room, did not write down an itinerary--we played everything by ear, and we loved it! I have done a trip report day by day, and we can’t wait to go back for a longer period. Oh, another quick note, the people in Belize were the nicest I have EVER met in my travels. When we got back to Miami and the US and encountered our first rude person, we quickly realized just how nice people in Belize were…..
All pics of the trip are on my Flickr page. Click here to see them.

Friday

Flights there were great. Stopped in Miami for a very short time (enough to get a quick snack and board again). American Airlines, thumbs up! J.

Arrived and got our rental car. Steve, the owner’s son, picked us up and took us to the place, he was really helpful and nice. We found out he is in school to be a lawyer, and he is a realtor, so Kurt asked him a bunch of questions about property in Belize, which he is interested in. Steve’s Mom was at the car place, and she is a realtor too, and gave us advice on where she thinks we would like to live, which is around Punta Gorda.

Left there, and headed to the Belize Zoo. Stopped and got gas, and for everyone complaining about gas prices, it’s almost $5 here per gallon. J. The zoo is known as being the best in Central America, and it was really kewl. We saw jaguars (black and spotted), pumas, ocelots, jaguarondis, spider monkeys, howler monkeys, tapir, peccaries, harpey eagle (which was one of the kewlest birds I have ever seen, really scary, they kill sloths for their main food), toucans, macaws (scarlet), and others. After this, we stopped and did two short hikes in Guanacaste National Park, which was really nice. Did not see any exciting animals there, but did see a lot of butterflies, birds, and lizards. After that, we were exhausted since we were going on like 4 hours of sleep from the night and our early flight. So, we stopped at this resort I read about called Caves Branch Jungle Resort. Our room was really, really kewl. It had a thatched roof and no electricity, except the ceiling fan. We had to use oil lamps. Which is really roughing it for Kurt and I. HAHA. Around our bed were all screens so you could look outside at the jungle and hear the sounds of the night while sleeping. Took some pics of the grounds while Kurt took a nap. The shower had a view of the jungle as well. Dinner was kewl, it was served buffet style and you sat with others staying at the place. We mostly talked to a couple from San Francisco, and a girl who was from D.C. but went to U of M for college. It was fun. We crashed after that, as we were totally exhausted.

Saturday

Got up early and checked out of Caves Branch. On the way there, Kurt stopped to help a turtle cross the road because he was worried about it. J. The drive here was gorgeous, all mountains and jungle. Headed to Cockscomb Basin National Park. Did several trails there. The first was called Wari Loop, and was 3.7 KM. We saw a lot of lizards, birds, and a kinkajou in the tree. After that, stopped and had a drink, then headed on another trail, which was like three trails in one that we kept following. This trail was marked “strenuous” and it really was because of the heat. Much of it on the way was uphill…….And, we ran out of water on the way back. Whoops. The bottom of the trail was this awesome waterfall. We saw a lot on this hike too, with the highlight being a herd of peccaries (which we only noticed because one of them snorted at us, LOL), an armadillo, and lots of birds and lizards. After this hike, we found another kewl resort to stay at, called The Lodge at Big Falls. We got there and were literally the only guests staying. The owners were really kewl and three cute dogs. We hiked around their property, which is right on the Rio Grande (river). Our room was really kewl here too, thatched roof cabana, with hammocks and chairs on the front porch. Restaurants were almost nonexistent in this area. We stopped at two, before finding one finally. The first, which said “Bar and Restaurant” on the sign, told us they did not serve food unless you called in advance. OK…..the second, only served fried and bbq chicken, oh, and pork. The third, had one vegetarian option, so we stayed there. The owner was really kewl, sat with us through dinner telling us stories about the area, with the help of his parrot, Jerry. Jerry said many things to us and was adorable. He could say Hello, How Are You, Come Here, Goodbye. After dinner, we came back to the room.

Sunday

Got up early this morning and headed towards Punta Gorda, which is the biggest city in Southern Belize, and also the poorest. Drove through down, the views from town into the ocean were spectacular and I predict this will be the next place to build from big resorts, etc., or that Americans will move to. After Punta Gorda, decided to drive to a national reserve, which we never actually got to really. Well, we did, but there were no hiking trails and such, and we could not figure out how to get in except driving. We drove a little bit and gave up. We were really in the middle of nowhere though, LOL, and it was an awesome jungle drive. It seemed like nobody had driven there in weeks from the buildup of grass, plants, etc. Next, we drove to Baranco, which is further South than Punta Gorda and right on the water. Really pretty, but really poor area. Next, we went to Laguna, which had this really kewl little walk in another reserve which is known for birding. In the wet season, there is a creek that flows under the bridge we walked on. Anyway, it was really hot out, so we did not spend a lot of time there since it was totally in the sun, but the walk was really nice. After that, we started to drive back towards the Cayo District, where we wanted to spend the remainder of our trip. Stopped on the way back at Blue Hole National Park. Saw the Blue Hole swimming area, which was kewl--like a swimming pool in a cave, kinda. Hiked this hellacious trail, talk about strenuous without warning. The trail was called “Hummingbird Trail…” Yea. Practically all uphill and freaky. We saw three snakes, two ON the trail, which we had to wait for them to move so we could continue. Two were green vine snakes, about 4 feet long and the other was a snake with a white head, no idea on that one. It was in a hole though. The first snake, I guess I was not paying attention because I walked right by it, almost stepping on it. Whoops. Kurt about died since he is terrified of snakes, LOL. Got done with that and headed to St Herman’s cave, which was VERY kewl. Walked to that, saw the cave, walked another trail out (all uphill, I swear, we were getting our exercise this day) and headed on the road again. Decided to drive to San Ignacio because there are a ton of resorts outside of the area. We picked one called Chaa Creek. Ummm, nicest place I have ever stayed and so freaking relaxing. Loved it. Our room was called a cottage and was gorgeous. Had a huge deck with hammocks and furniture that overlooked the Macal River. Breathtaking place. Had dinner and drinks and were going to do a night walk, but it rained and we decided against it and just chilled, walked around the property, and headed to bed.

Monday

Today, we started off by doing an early morning bike walk with a guide. We saw SOO many birds and got to use our new binoculars. My fav we saw was this bird called a motmot that we have never seen before, and of course, the toucans. We also saw a lot of other birds, including two really kewl woodpeckers, vultures, robins, yellow birds (that really was their name), and others. After that, had breakfast and then Kurt took a nap while I went to the butterfly and nature exhibit at the hotel. The butterfly exhibit was beyond kewl. I actually got to see two butterflies emerge from their cocoons, and learned about their growth and such. I stayed in the butterfly house for a long time, taking shots. After that, went and woke Kurt up and we went for a hike on the medicine trail at the hotel. The medicine trail has different trees and greenery marked with what they are used for in real life. It was pretty kewl. At the end, there was a lady who sold herbal remedies for ailments, and I was going to buy one for migraines, but ended up not. We then left the resort and went into San Ignacio, which could be considered a “big” town, but only has about 6000 people, LOL. We walked around the town, talked to a realtor, walked in some little stores. We then went to a nearby botanical garden, and got a flat tire which we changed. Ugh. Went back to the resort and hiked another trail down to the river, which was really relaxing. There were sooo many hummingbirds on the trail. It was beautiful. We sat by the water for a while relaxing and enjoying the sun setting then went back to our room to shower and head to dinner. After dinner, finally got to go on the nightwalk with a guide. We saw a bunch of things, including two different kind of possum, armadillos, scorpions, tarantulas, other spiders, etc. It was fun to walk around in the dark looking for things. Went back to the room and laid in the hammocks for a while, then went to bed.

Tuesday

Got up this morning and packed and headed to the airport. Both flights again were awesome, and I am now a fan of American Airlines for sure.

4 comments:

MissThang said...

The pics were amazing...some of the best you've taken, I think! Sounds like you had an absolute blast :)

I'm not really one who is up for travelling outside of the US, but whenever I read your trip reports and look at the pics, it makes me wish I had someplace to travel to!

Rebecca said...

Yay, I finally got to hear about the trip :) I haven't looked at pics yet but I'm sure they will be amazing as always.

MegWalterbach said...

Thanks for sharing your vacation with us. I'm living vicariously through you. I don't know if I'll ever get a chance to visit such exotic locations! But I really enjoy hearing about your travels.

Crazymrsnancy said...

Wow you have the coolest vacation! And the sweetest husband! (Helped a turtle cross the street? Aww!) I can't wait to see the pics!! (I'm at work and flicker is blocked blah)