We have been in Caye Caulker for 2 weeks and are leaving tomorrow for San Ignacio in the interior of Belize. It is a little strange to say goodbye to our first destination, and I think it’s really finally hitting us that this trip continues – we’re not going home after a 2 week vacation. This was the perfect first stop – we have eased our way into our journey by relaxing on a safe, English-speaking, easy to get around island. Certainly we may have been spoiled by this first stop – good food, cheap but great accommodations (thanks to Maurice and Monique at Wish Willy’s), and awesome new friends (shout out to Rob, Lynn, Andrew, Steve, Michelle, and Tina).
We have scuba-dived, snorkeled, wind-surfed, swam, ran, yoga-ed on a hotel rooftop at sunset, read, slept, ate, played games, watched a few movies in an outdoor cinema, and enjoyed spending time together. The only thing I’ve found to be annoying on this island are the sand flies that will not stop biting me. I learned the “trick” from another itchy tourist late last week – apparently if you lather yourself in baby oil, the sand flies won’t bite you. Why this works, I have no idea, but rest assured my skin has been encased in a layer of a mix of sweat, sunscreen, bugspray, and baby oil. I also have a new appreciation for geckos and other lizard creatures – they sit on my porch and eat the bugs that would otherwise bite me. Much love, lizards, even though you also make bizarre sounds in the middle of the night that, when reflected off our tin roof, sound like giant prehistoric reptilians have invaded.
Possibly the most important thing I learned in my time here is that my most happy place is in a hammock – either right next to the ocean under a shade or on a covered porch during a cooling rain shower. If I didn’t have to lug it around with me for the next 6 months, I’d purchase a hammock from here and base future home buying decisions on hammock placement options. There’s something special about hammocks on this island – the material they’re made from, the way they’re woven together, the lack of structure seen in American hammocks, yet the sturdiness to hold even the largest tourist (not yet me, but maybe by the end of this trip if my diet continues to lack salads).
Travel Tips: For any of you looking to take a beach vacation in the near future, we highly recommend Belize, and particularly Caye Caulker. The beaches aren’t the best, but the water is absolutely amazing. It’s affordable, activity-filled, and a short flight away. If you ever find yourself here, make sure to eat at Wish Willy’s (anything he serves, including possibly the best french toast and pork chop we’ve ever had – make sure you eat the homemade habanero sauce but use it lightly!), fried chicken at Syd’s, conch ceviche at Marin’s, and of course dessert from cake lady (our fave is the chocolate coconut pie). There are a number of nice hotels and cabanas and even more budget options – check out airbnb.com (how we booked Wish Willy’s) or trip advisor. Getting from Belize City to the island is super easy – either take a water taxi or fly (for 10 minutes) on Tropic Air.
Tomorrow, we will be taking the water taxi back to Belize City and navigating ourselves to the bus stop to take a public bus to San Ignacio – should be a bit of an adventure, which we’re looking forward to. We are staying at the Western Guest House in San Ignacio and have booked 2 tours with Pacz Tours (thanks to Sarah B.’s suggestion). On Friday, we will visit the Mayan ruins at Caracol. On Saturday, we will do the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave tour where you hike, trek through the jungle, swim through caves, and eventually find yourself viewing ancient Mayan ritual and burial sites including that of the Crystal Maiden. We’re excited to see the sites and learn about the history of the Mayans in Belize. On Sunday, we head to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, for 2 weeks of Spanish immersion – we will be staying with a family and spending 5 hours/day in private tutoring. But you can’t got to SJDS without spending time surfing – it won’t be all work and no play.
Signing out from Caye Caulker – Go Slow! SOURCE