Every time I go to Belize, I make it a point to see and do different things. Every time has been an adventure. This trip was no exception. Started off my 10 day vacation with arrival on 11/19, Garifuna Settlement Day holiday, to Punta Gorda for the first time, returned to Placencia after 5 years and ended the vacation with 5 nights in San Pedro. I wish I had spent more time in PG and Placencia, as they were both beautiful and special places. PG was a tropical jungle on the ocean, somewhat primitive, definitely off the beaten track and nature at its best. Placencia is just eye candy for its beaches and small town, total kick back atmosphere. Both are very affordable.
I used Barb from Barb's Belize (thank you, you rock!) to book my accommodations on the mainland because I am lazy and too busy to deal with all the internet stuff. Plus, I love to have her vouchers in hand and everything paid for long before my arrival. Very easy.
The flight to PG takes a bit, as Tropic stops briefly in both Dangriga and Placencia. I was surprised and excited when we made our descent into PG. Just a beautiful jungle paradise awaited me. I stayed at Hickatee Cottages, about a mile outside of PG on a dirt road. It is owned by Ian and Kate, a British couple who have lived there for years. Ian picked me up at the airport and drove me through the small village for the lay of the land, then off to Hickatee. It was the Garifuna holiday and ceremonies were taking place, along with lots of drumming, which I heard far into the night. Very cool. When we arrived at my digs for the next 2 nights, my jaw dropped - the grounds were stunningly gorgeous, jungle, flowers, plants, butterflies, hummingbirds everywhere! They grow pineapples, avocados, herbs, so many other things.
There was only one other guest there and they upgraded me to their "cottage suite". I was tired from flying the redeye all night, but when I walked into the cottage, I immediately got a second wind. This trip was starting out very good! The suite was gorgeous, hardwood floors, flat screen TV with full DVD library, beautiful separate bedroom, killer bathroom with all kinds of goodies, a spacious veranda in the front and a sitting area out back. Wow, wow, oh wow! I immediately called my friend in Placencia who was supposed to arrive the following day and told him to get his butt down there ASAP to enjoy this beautiful place with me. When he arrived, I opened a great bottle of California red wine and we sat back to enjoy the jungle sights and sounds on the veranda.
The howler monkeys were loud during the night, we saw gibnuts running around. We ate shrimp that night at the cottage and woke up early, with coffee and tea service right to our veranda. Breakfast is included and Kate is a fabulous chef. I am a foodie and I was in heaven.
If Ian is going into town, he will offer you a ride, so we had him drop us at the market, looked around at all the fruit, vegetables, seafood and other local goods for sale. Bought some wonderful local honey from PG. I think I saw 2 tourists in town, seriously. A beautiful, hot sunny day in store, my friend ran into an old friend and he invited us to sit out on his property right next to the sea, drinking Belikins, talking to locals and listenting to music all afternoon. Just what the dr. ordered for me!
I had my heart set on visiting the American Crocodile Sanctuary in PG, but wasn't sure if it would happen, but it did. Took taxi out to the sanctuary and Vince met us. Together with his marine biologist wife, they have created an incredible habitat for crocs. Saw howlwer monkeys and toucans in the trees on the jungle path down to the croc habitat. I jokingly asked if George aka Satan from San Pedro was there. To my surprise, he lives there and was captured and towed out of the lagoon in SP by Vince. Via golfcart. Amazing. Was told that he is a mean son of a gun and when I saw him within 2 feet of viewing, he is HUGE! I think he may be the world's biggest croc, I don't know. He is not friendly with any of the other crocs, but at least, he is back to a somewhat normal habitat and is not subject to rogue kids with machetes chopping at his tail and feeding him whole, raw chickens to appease ignorant tourists. Our taxi driver was invited into the grounds and he was really enjoying the tour.
Vince asked if we wanted to stick around and watch him capture a young 4 month old male croc to move him to a bigger pond. We did. That was quite a feat, tying him up with duct tape. If you go to PG, this is a must see and make sure you give a good donation, as they are non-profit and do not charge for the tour.
After that excitement, time for adult beverages and early dinner in town. Had drinks at a place called MiraMar. There are not a lot of choices, but everywhere we stopped was good. Dinner was curry chicken, rice, beans and coleslaw for $7 BZE, delicious and can't beat that price.
The funny thing we noticed about PG is that ice was virtually non-existent. We had our taxi driver stop at numerous places, even private residences (that is another funny story) and ice was just unavailable. Finally found a chunk of it for 25 cents. Cracked up for a while about that. Ended the day with drinks, quiet music and the sounds of the jungle.
Off to Placencia for 2 nights:
Kate made us a another great breakfast. Ian dropped us off at the bus stop in town and we took the 1-1/2 hour ride to Independence. $15 BZE for 2 people. Saw lots of cool things along the way. Got off the bus and complimentary ride one block away to the Hokey Pokey boat over to Placencia, across the lagoon, $5 U.S for both of us. This is the way to go folks. Skip the plane. Boat ride across the lagoon was beautiful, took only a few minutes. Then I was in the beautiful beach paradise of Placencia. More to come on Placencia.