I have to admit that I was the most excited about our plans to go to Maruba Jungle Resort & Spa. My husband does not typically go to day spas, but he was a good sport and acted excited, as well. We both were thinking that a day of pampering would be just the prescription for relaxation.
We were supposed to be picked up at the VH pier at 7 a.m. by Seaduced. Our feet hit the floor of our room around 6 a.m. and we were waiting at the pier with ten minutes to spare. Good thing they have lounge chairs under the gazebo because we had to wait about 30 minutes. When Seaduced arrived, we realized that we were the last to be picked up and did not have a choice for seating. We were the first two people seated at the front of the boat. We were actually glad to sit there so that we would have prime views on our trip to the mainland. There were about 25 people on the boat going to Lamanai. We were the only two that were using the boat as a taxi to go to Maruba.
As soon as we were seated, the captain took off as if he were racing to the mainland. The boat took the waves very well, which made it a pleasant early morning ride. There was one spot that we had to go as fast as the boat would allow because the water was so shallow. If we went too slow, the propellers would have hit the sand bottom.
As we approached the river, we slowed down only a little. The river is surrounded on both sides by mangroves, which the captain said was the home of crocodiles, snakes, and many other animals. It was a little spooky to me going through the mangroves. At the beginning, the river is wider and then it becomes very narrow and curvy. It looked only wide enough for one boat to travel. The captain continued to maneuver through the river at high rates of speed showing off for all of us tourists. There was a time or two when the captain slowed down to point out certain plants and trees. He even slowed down to show us "vampire" bats. He put the front of the boat directly under a tree and told all of us where to look to see the bats. Everyone was looking for black bats, but these were disguised. There were four bats in a vertical line that were the color of the tree bark. The only way you could finally see them was that they had fuzzy hair. After a couple of minutes of being right under them, I was ready to go. But, the bats had enough of us first because they flew off. That was scary.
When we backed away from the tree, the captain said that it was time to put the AC on. He floored it and tried to get the speed up so that the wind would cool us down. We were going pretty fast. My husband asked me how the captain knew that another boat was not going to be traveling in the opposite direction. My response was that the captain does this tour every day and must know the times to travel. Boy, was I wrong!
As we went around a left curve, we saw another boat traveling in our direction. We were going very fast and had about 25 people on board. The captain pulled his controls to neutral, but there was nothing else that he could do. The weight of everyone on the boat caused it to continue to push forward. The other boat only had two people on board and was going very slow. With the view we had, it looked like we were going to hit it head on. My husband jumped into the floorboard of Seaduced and I was on his heels crouched down. The couple sitting across from us did the same thing. Within moments, Seaduced slammed into the other boat and our boat was forced into the mangroves. It seemed like we went in the mangroves for minutes with tree limbs falling into our boat. By some miracle of God, we stopped moving and realized that we were back in the river. It was like our boat ricocheted back. If it had not, we would not have been able to get our boat out without some other help. The trunks of the mangroves would have prevented us from starting our engines. By the time we were able to get ourselves together, the other boat was gone.
Because of where we were sitting, my husband jumped on top of the boat to see the damages. We hit the front left side of Seaduced and had a 3' gash in the fiberglass. The fortunate thing was that the damage was above the water line and there was no fear that water would get in the boat. The captain basically ignored that we had just had an accident. He did ask if everyone was okay, but then he was off again. He also told us that the driver of the other boat was the owner of Maruba. He took it a tad bit slower for the remaining five minute ride, but that was only because we had several boats in front us as we approached the mainland and Moomba Bay.
My husband noticed that his right middle finger had been biten by something on his knuckle. I was initially concerned that maybe he jammed it or broke it in the wreck. With the itching, he knew that it was just an insect bite.
We arrived at Moomba Bay unharmed in the wreck and were ecstatic to be alive. All of the other passengers on the boat were taking a bus to Lamanai, but we were going to Maruba. We were greeted by a van from Maruba and were happy to be headed to the spa. However, we were getting concerned about my husband's finger that was now the size of a corn dog. We were now anxious to get to Maruba not only to get to the spa, but also to get some medication for his finger. The van driver was evidently in a hurry. We do not believe that he knew how to use brakes or how to travel at a safe rate of speed. The roads were enough for one car to travel, but when we passed another vehicle, we just drove on the shoulder. We were beginning to believe that we would never see San Pedro again!
Finally, we arrived at Maruba and entered this beautiful paradise. The only problem was that my husband's swelling now included two fingers. We immediately were greeted with fruit punch served in coconuts and were provided the menu of spa services. However, we were becoming more concerned with the insect bite than getting massages. We requested some benadryl and ice and were given both within a few minutes. Several different employees told us that he had been bitten by a "doctor fly" or "yellow fly", which is in the family of a horse fly. We asked if we needed to go to a doctor, but we were told that a physician or hospital was about two hours away. Instead, we opted to hang out at the pool for a bit to make sure that we did not need to leave the resort.
Maruba was a paradise in the middle of nowhere. Trees and flowers decorated the property. Paths zig-zagged throughout the property, as well. There was an open air lobby, with a comfortable sofa and pillows, restaurant, and bar. Just outside the lobby was outdoor dining. One of the paths led us to the pool. We were the only people at the resort as far as we could tell.
Although we had been there for less than 30 minutes, my husband's swelling had worsened and included his entire hand up to his wrist. He now looked like he had a club instead of a hand. Whatever bit him caused a major allergic reaction and we were scared. While waiting to see if the medication would stop the swelling, we watched a lizard sunbathe. It walked on its hind legs wobbling from side to side.
Shortly thereafter, his hand stopped swelling and we determined that he was not going to die in the jungle. We returned to the lobby to place our order for spa treatments. It only took a couple of minutes and we were sold on the Mood Mud massage and African Killer Bee Scrub.
We followed two ladies down a path to the spa treatment room. Along the way, we passed individual buildings that were other treatment rooms and resort rooms. When we entered the treatment room, we were delighted by the ambiance. There were two tables covered in purple sheets. The walls were made of bottles, such as wine bottles, soft drink bottles, bourbon bottles, etc. The outside of the building had the neck end of the bottles sticking out and the inside of our room had the bottom of the bottles. The lighting was beautiful because of all of the colors of the bottles. The floor of the room was small rocks/gravel. There was incense and mosquito coils burning. We were handed two paper rolls about 1" long, which we soon discovered were our thongs. We were directed to put on the thongs and wait on the table face down. My husband's face was priceless. We laughed for five minutes while we tried to get undressed and put the thongs in the proper places. We had spa treatments in the past, but none that required us to wear thongs. We cooperated and were waiting face down when the ladies returned.
For one hour, we were massaged with white mud. The only body part not massaged was where the thong covered! Everywhere else met the mud! That was odd for me, but I decided that they had seen so many more people that my boobs did not matter. Towards the end of the treatment, I could feel them decorating me, but I kept my eyes closed. We then heard both of the ladies say that they were finished and we could get up. What a sight! We were laughing hysterically at each other painted in white mud with red flowers on my boobs and my husband's thong donned in leaves and flowers. We both had mud in our hair and a flower over one ear. Without hesitation, we had them take our picture with our camera.
We composed ourselves and followed them to the bath house wearing only our thongs and flowers. We convinced ourselves that no one else would be in this section of the resort since it was just for spa services. We entered a large room with no roof and two large tubs. There were shower heads on some walls. One of the tubs was already filled with water and we were directed to submerge in that one. We eased our way into the freezing water and began to wash off the mud all the while with one of the ladies standing right over us. She even poured buckets of water over our heads and helped us get the mud off of hard to reach places. Again, all modesty was left at home. When we stepped out of the tub, she was waiting with towels. There was no need trying to fix our thongs because she made sure to tell us she had already seen it all before.
We followed her back to the treatment room to begin the African Killer Bee Scrub that had been recommended by Wayne and Carly a few days earlier. We changed into dry thongs and hopped onto the tables. First, honey was rubbed all over our bodies and into our hair. Then, a seaweed gel was rubbed on top of the honey. Finally, raw sugar was crumbled on us and the scrubbing started. The exfoliation process was painful at times especially on sensitive areas. This process lasted only about 40 minutes and we were escorted again to the bath house. This time we went to the other tub and froze again. The lady did not leave our sides and helped wash us as she previously did.
When we returned to the treatment room, we got dressed and were told to follow the path back to the lobby. We thought we had followed the path, but we obviously took a wrong turn. We tried to back track, but we got lost again. Finally, we ran into the owner of Maruba, and she escorted us back to the lobby. Since I still could feel the honey on my body and in my hair, I needed a quick shower and shampoo. One of the employees permitted me to use the shower beside the pool. So, I pulled out my shampoo and conditioner and proceeded to wash my hair right there in front of everyone. Well, there was no one there so no one saw.
While eating lunch and having several drinks, we met the owner's son who had been the driver of the boat that had wrecked with us. He blamed Seaduced for traveling too fast and Seaduced blamed him for traveling in that direction during the time of day that the tour boats traveled. He informed us that his boat only had a few superficial scratches, but nothing serious.
After lunch, we sat on the sofa to rest for a few minutes. However, a few minutes turned into an hour of sleep. When we woke up, the owner gave us a tour of the property. The rooms were unbelievable. Each one is a little house that include a bedroom, living room, bathroom, and jacuzzi room. They are decorated uniquely and no two are alike. They have a lot of tile and bright colors. All of them have TVs and CD players. They are far from other houses to give each room privacy. There is a weight room and lounge with a big screen TV. There are horses, monkeys, wild boar, and crocodiles on the property and we saw them all. In our opinion, this is a romantic setting, but a little too quiet. It would be great for one night either upon getting to Belize or on the last night before going home to the U.S. Any longer would probably get too boring if you like being around people.
By 4:30 p.m., we caught the bus with all of the people from the Lamanai trip and we headed back to get on the boat and travel to San Pedro. We made sure to get on the boat first and sit in the back of the boat. The captain took it a little easier on the return trip, but I still had to ride with my head down most of the way through the river. Once in the open waters, I knew that I would be okay.
When we arrived at VH pier, we thanked the captain and got off the boat. Since we were not part of the tour, we had not prepaid for our travel on Seaduced. We also did not partake in any beverages on either part of the trip. To our delight, the captain did not ask us for any money and did not even mention that we owed anything. We chalked that up to the fact that he realized that the wreck was a close call and we were right in the front taking the brunt of all of it. At any rate, we believed that he had done the right thing by not requesting payment.
We were so wound up by the events of the day that we immediately went to the bar to see Tony and Stone and tell them about our day. They were the ones to inform us that the captain of the boat was the owner of Seaduced. A few drinks later and we had to get ready for dinner.
We went to Blue Water Grille with friends from VH who were on their honeymoon. Dinner was just as good as lunch had been a few days earlier. Nice breeze and view.
We returned to Fido's to hear Kevin Black. Ran into Lana and Mark. Laughed and cut up for a while, but ran out of steam. I had to get to VH and to my bed. Another early night ended by 11 p.m.
Only one night left, but we were expecting it to be a fabulous, romantic one especially after all that we had heard about Capricorn. What a shocker! Can't wait to finally tell about our worst evening in San Pedro.