Having a great week in Belize. It’s exactly what we were looking for− a combination of relaxing beach time and some activities to keep us from getting bored. The house we rented has been good if a tiny bit sparse, and is a good location for us to get to town and walk around the beach. Kerry and Isaac had a longer red-eye flight here, but for us it was only six hours of travel time and we’re only off of our timezone by 1-2 hours (no daylight savings here− they’re doing it right), so we’re definitely considering coming back.
We’ve had several days or half days of just walking along the beach, stopping at a shack and having a drink or sitting for lunch and bringing a book to read on the beach. The weather has been warm but a couple of days have been overcast and a tiny bit cooler than we might have expected. We’ve been lucky that we haven’t had much rain this week although some was predicted. We've learned that yoga retreats with an attached café are a good place to look for vegetarian food amongst all of the seafood here.
Our first adventure was a full day trip to the Mayan ruins at Lamanai. It took us about five hours to get there by boat, then bus, then another boat up a river. We had a great simple lunch provided of rice and beans, chicken, fried plantains, potato salad, and some kind of coleslaw. Then we spent a couple of hours walking around three different ruins with a great guide who is of Mayan ancestry. His wife grew up right around these ruins and was six years old in the 70s when archeologists excavated the ruins, declared it a national treasure, and moved her whole village out. Eventually they were able to get the government to give them some land close to the ruins, where they now live. Our guide knew a lot about the ruins, and the surrounding flora and fauna. We didn’t do much research beforehand, so we all learned a lot listening to him. It was super hot and humid, and we were glad that we decided to stay at the beach and take a day trip to the mainland rather than splitting our trip between the beach and a couple of days at the mainland. We had thought that we might see more ruins and have more time, as two hours at Lamanai went by really quickly. The trip home was a little faster because we didn’t stop to look at wildlife along the way, although on the final boat leg we had to stop at a tiny fishing island so that some of the drunk idiots that were part of a cave tubing adventure could pee. Note to self: maybe avoid the cave tubing if it draws that kind of crowd.
The next day we rented a golf cart so we could explore a little farther on the island and because the weather was grey and drizzly although calm. We went farther into town, and we signed up for snorkeling in the afternoon. It was overcast, but the calmest day we’d had so far, so seemed like a good day for snorkeling. It was my first time snorkeling, and Marc’s second after his recent trip to Hawaii. Monkies had been snorkeling before. We went first to Hol Chan and snorkeled around the reef and saw fish and a moray eel and some rays, and also the cutest sea turtle munching on sea grass who then popped to the surface for a breath of air. When I smiled it would break the seal on my mask and a little bit of water would leak in. The turtle totally broke the seal. As my first time snorkeling, I was paying so much attention to keeping track of our people and following the guide and trying not to get kicked by others in the group and trying not to touch the coral that actually looking at the fish was kind of far down on the list. Next time I’m sure I’ll get to look around a little more.
After the reef, we went to a place called Shark and Ray alley where we saw lots of nurse sharks and stingrays. Kerry got to hold a nurse shark, and we all got to pet it and a couple of sting rays. It was a great time. By the time we got back on the boat I was freezing though, and ready for a hot shower!
Wednesday we had a totally chill day of taking the cart around town before we returned it, then walking up the beach to our current favorite yoga/lunch place where we sat on the beach with our kindles for a nice long while, then we explored some of the low tide pools and walked home. We had some more down time at home and then a boat picked us up for a fancy dinner at a resort six miles up the coast. It was fun to take a night boat ride and just see all of the lights along the coast, and it also confirmed that we were not interested in a night snorkeling adventure. We all agreed we would have to level up quite a bit before we felt comfortable jumping into the dark water without every horror movie playing in the back of our minds.
We have two more days here now before we head home, and I think this might be the first trip we will have taken where we won’t feel like we need a vacation at the end of our vacation. It has been a great mix of relaxing beach and some activities. We signed up for snorkeling again tomorrow morning at a different location, and if we’re lucky, it will just be the four of us on the trip. Today we have some more downtime, and Marc and I are thinking of renting jet skis to take up and down the coast. It’s beautiful and sunny today, and looks like total paradise!