June 16 - 24 - better late than never...
I hope this picture link works...
Thursday, June 16
Shuttle picked us up at 4:15am (!). Easy USAir flights from BWI to Charlotte to BZE. Tropic had us landing in San Pedro before noon. A quick taxi ride brought us to Banana Beach. The staff was welcoming, the place looks great and our room was comfortable. And the rum punch was strong. We were home… After we unpacked we hit the beach and walked up to Rico’s for lunch. Lobster burritos. Perfect. Then walked into town along the beach and just soaked it all in. In the evening we caught a taxi to Papi’s to have what I think are the best grilled shrimp on the island. And the prices can’t be beat. Afterwards we did one of our favorite activities – we walked back to BB, stopping at every tiki/bar along the way for a quick one. Ahh…Paradise!
Friday, June 17
Up early for the Banana Beach Breakfast (BBB). What a deal. And I like mine “solo pina.” We rented a golf cart and headed north. The ferry is a hoot. We picked up local workers along the way and dropped off at their work sites (clearing land for development). Stopped at Capricorn for refreshments, then Capt. Morgan’s for a tasty lobster salad lunch. Splashed around a bit in the pool before heading to the Palapa Bar. Gave a lift to two nice folks who were quite surprised that they were staying so far away from San Pedro… That night another good dinner at Caramba’s – shrimp, both grilled and coconut. Mmmmm. Visited BCs, Canucks and the Squirrel’s Nest on the way home.
Saturday, June 18
Got our BBB to go so we could catch the 7am Tropic flight to Municipal (first stop International, everybody off, not so fast you two…). Municipal is great – a very short approach to a very short runway. We stopped on a dime, made the turnaround and still made change. We were off on the Tropic Air tour to Cave Tubing. Woo Hoo! Our guide (Mark McField) picked us up at the terminal. When I asked how many others would be joining us he told us that we were the only two. Great! Just like the fantastic Tropic tour to Lamanai last summer. We got to see some really interesting landscapes on the pleasant ride into the interior. Our guide was very informative and interesting. When we finally arrived at Jaguar Paw we were taken by the natural beauty of the setting. Our river tour guide was a young fellow named Israel. Our walk through the jungle was fun. Then we hit the water. Wow! What a treat it is to gently and quietly float down the river, passing through caves where you can’t see the entrance or exit, hearing the flutter of little bats, feeling the cool drops of water coming off the ceiling, learning the history of the Mayans who used the caves, and even getting a thrill from the short stretch of mini-rapids. So much fun. I do recommend bringing a full change of clothes for after. We had a good lunch at Jaguar Paw and visited the butterfly research facility. On the way to the Zoo, while still on the mountain road, Mark stopped to give a ride to a young family – a mom and three beautiful children, ages 5, 3 and 2. The five year old had a smile that lit up the whole van, the three year old was wary of everything until she found a great new toy (the seatbelt!), and the two year old just wanted to nap. I helped them out of the van when we got to their destination on the road. When I got Mom’s bag out of the car a live chicken was giving me the hairy eyeball. Probably tomorrow’s dinner… Well, we got to the zoo a little later. That was something else. All the animals! We liked all of them, except for the peccaries that really stunk up the joint. Phew! Then we hit the Old Belize Museum where we saw great exhibits on what life was like in the “old” days. We even had time to visit the very good bar/restaurant at the beach at Sibun Bight for some refreshment before we headed back to Municipal for the comfortable flight back to SPR. That night we had dinner at Blue Water Grill. Susan had the pasta with pesto sauce and chicken, and I had grilled shrimp with garlic butter. On the way home we stopped at BCs and Fidos.
Sunday, June 19
Woke up at 5am to big thunder and big lightning and associated rain. It lasted until almost 10am when the dark clouds finally moved on. It started to clear just in time to head over to BCs for the Sunday Barbeque. It was great. Chicken and shrimp. A good time was had by all. Ran into Govikes (Susie). Did some catching up, then off for some shopping. That evening we did a quick stop at Canucks then back to BCs for Charlene’s birthday party. It was a real hootenanny (when was the last time you saw that word?). Lots of fun. Susie introduced us to Tulu and we set up a trip for Tuesday. And the power went out. The party continued in complete darkness while waiting for the generators to kick in. Then we had a late dinner of lobster at Rico’s. Superb.
Monday, June 20
Another early day in anticipation of a full day fishing trip with Captain Bicho. The heavy rain (surprise!) started about 6:30am. The good Capt. called a little later to cancel. I called Steve at Coconet Internet Café & Bar. We had booked through him (1-508-721-6556 or firstname.lastname@example.org) and were able to reschedule for Wednesday with Hillyboo. (I thought that booking through Coconet was a great service.) So with the rain we stayed in and watched a cable movie until the rain stopped. Then we took the cart on a trip south to see the sights. The puddles and mud were fantastic. I was having a ball, but Susan wasn’t… So we turned around and headed to Celi’s for an excellent lunch. The shrimp fajita was perfect. Stopped in to see Steve at Coconet. Later walked the beach. That night we had dinner at Elvi’s. A mistake. Last summer we were thoroughly disappointed, but thought we would try again. We got the same poor service and, though Susan did like her Mayan chicken, my grilled shrimp and lobster were overcooked to the point where I actually ate all of my salad. They seem to have bought into the hype. And with the prices they charge you would expect Capricorn quality. We won’t go there again. A quick stop at BCs put everything right again and then it was off to Canucks to hear the Punta Boys. Lots of fun.
Tuesday, June 21
That Banana Beach Breakfast can’t be beat. Love that pineapple. On the schedule for today: snorkel trip to Caye Caulker with Tulu. Tulu arrived promptly at 9 am and off we went. First stop was Hol Chan. It was absolutely gorgeous. Lots of bright, colorful fish. And a magnificent eagle ray was slowly floating along below us for a good while. Stop number two was the conch spot. The nurse sharks were waiting to be fed when we tied up, but we had to disappoint them. Off they went only to be replaced by the big old sea turtle. What a treat that was to see him (her?) close to the boat then reasonably close in the water. But no touching is the rule of the day and we stuck to that. Next, off to Shark/Ray Alley. Plenty of sharks to go around… Tulu figured it was getting near lunch time, so it was on to Caye Caulker! A very picturesque, quiet little town full of friendly people and good food. The burrito at Rasta Pasta was enormous. On the way back to SP we stopped at a site called Coral Garden for some more snorkeling. Tulu made it a great trip! That evening we caught the water taxi north for a fantastic dinner at Capricorn. Susan had the superb grouper. I had the melt-in-your-mouth filet mignon and lobster. Another fantastic meal and beautiful evening at Capricorn. It had been a long day, so we headed back to Banana Beach for a good night’s sleep.
Wednesday, June 22
Hillyboo rang us up at 7:30am to verify our 8am pickup. And right on time Cort and his first mate Pancho picked us up at the pier. It was pretty rough out towards the reef so we headed to Cayo Cangrejo and had a ball catching snapper. Later we moved back towards Ambergris to catch barracuda. Caught lots of little ones to throw back, but Susan pulled in one big fighter. We really enjoyed eating some of those fish, along with tasty lobster at the BBQ lunch. After some relaxing back at Banana Beach and some splishing and splashing in the pool and the sea we decided to go into town and use some of the drink coupons we received upon arrival. Did some walking and talking, caught the chicken drop (“come on lucky #55…”). Had a late dinner of wings (very tasty) and salad at Coconuts.
Thursday, June 23
Today was our last full day, we needed some serious beach time, so after the BBB out we went. Just a good morning to hang out under a coconut palm and watch the beautiful world go by. We drove into town for lunch and had another excellent meal at Celi’s. After a short walk on the beach we went over to Papo’s Gallery and bought a couple of beautiful painted wooden fish. We had the artist, a charming young man named Solis, sign the works. They are now hanging on our wall at home. Ran into Susie on the way back down the road and made our farewells. Got in some more relax time in the sea. Did a quick pack job (how come it takes 10 minute for the trip home, but seems to take days before the trip…). We walked over to Rico’s for a perfect final meal of shrimp scampi and tilapia. After dinner we walked up the beach to BCs. We made our farewells and had some Belikins and mango coladas. The walk home under the starry sky was very nice. Our flashlights kept those coconut trees from jumping out in front of me… And we met a happy dog who kept us company for part of the walk.
Friday, June 24
Up early, again. Our last BBB, then some serious time to just watch the colors of the sea. At 9am we had another easy Tropic flight to BZE. After some duty-free shopping we had plenty of time to relax, laugh and enjoy some already happy memories. The return USAir flights were again easy. The customs agent at Charlotte turned out to be a young fellow who grew up down the street. Before you know it we were landing back at BWI, driving to the old homestead, and talking about our next visit to San Pedro…