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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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On Saturday and Sunday (July 28-29), we explored the town of Punta Gorda several times, riding beach bikes provided by Hickatee Cottages, where we were staying, and on foot. Punta Gorda is very different from San Pedro, even though both towns are right on the water. Unlike San Pedro, which caters to divers, fishermen, and tourists from all over the world (including celebrities), "PG" is not touristy. And since it's not on an island, cars and trucks roam where mostly golf carts and bicycles still travel the streets of San Pedro (though more and more motor vehicles arrive monthly, it seems). Traffic was lighter than in San Pedro overall, even on a Saturday. There's a great Saturday market we got to check out, and I bought a Maya bag from a local man that probably would have cost me double in San Pedro.

The PG town clock is stuck at 1:05 forever, but at least it has a toucan!

Saturday (and Wednesday) are "cook's night off" at Hickatee, so we knew we'd have to find a place to grab some dinner in town. We chose to ride bikes back in and use our headlamp to find our way back to the cottage after dark. There are many fewer restaurants in PG than in San Pedro, and a few of the restaurants with signs were closed, so we didn't have a lot to choose from, but we landed in a little Italian place that had great pizza and a very friendly Belizean staff (not an Italian in sight!) Unfortunately, the flies chased us in from our table outside, and they didn't have an alcohol license (it's hard to eat pizza without a beer!), but we were glad to get dinner somewhere!

Our view before the flies forced us inside the restaurant

Another library with colorful murals We had planned on eating lunch in town but were striking out on finding anything open. Just when we were about to give up, we found the Driftwood Cafe, which felt like an oasis in the desert for these two hungry walkers. It was a real hippy cafe, run by a woman from Ohio (like Barry!) with dreads (a contradiction in terms, you'd think!). She served coffee, fresh-baked goods, and vegetarian food.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos on the BeBelize Blog!

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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Bike ride to Boom Creek Village and Moho River

While staying at Hickatee Cottages southwest of Punta Gorda, Belize, we decided to grab a couple of the complimentary beach cruiser bikes and explore the unpaved road westward to Boom Creek Village and the Moho River one afternoon.

Almost zero traffic other than a couple of bikes going the other way made for a really fun ride.

We stopped to check out birds many times along the way to the village, so the five-mile ride ended up taking around an hour and a half.

The traditional Maya village of Boom Creek has no electricity and just a few Maya huts. There are no stores, restaurants, or any other form of commercialism. The only building we saw other than personal dwellings was a church, or at least what appeared to be one, since there were two crosses on the outside. Looks like the roof needs a bit of work, though.

Church building

Traditional Maya dwelling

We passed Boom Creek, at the time not sure if it was the creek or the river, since it's not marked in any way.

The road ended at a much larger body of water that was obviously the Moho River, confirming that the previous body of water we'd passed had been Boom Creek. There are no signs marking either. Nor is there a bridge across the river. The road just ends. If you want to get across, you'd have to take a boat.

Moho River

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos on the BeBelize Blog

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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Haven away from home at Hickatee

We already introduced you to Hickatee Cottages near Punta Gorda town in a previous post, but we wanted to share more about this gem of a place to stay in southern Belize. There was so much to love here, from the peaceful setting with so many plants, to the resident howler monkey troop, to the lovely, comfortable cottages, to the cooling dipping pool, to the fantastic food, and last but not least, to the helpful and knowledgeable owners, Ian and Kate. I'm sure a lot of folks who stay here spend most of their time venturing out on excursions during the day, but we really enjoyed just hanging out here, watching birds on the grounds or on the road right outside. The natural setting can't be beat, and as you enter the gates you can actually feel your stress slipping away.

Flora and fauna

Here are some of the plants and animals we enjoyed seeing around the grounds. There are great identifying signs for many of the plants. Some we'd seen before in other spots but hadn't known what they were, so it was helpful to put a name with a face, so to speak.


This little "Jesus lizard" really blends right into the ground -- look very closely or you'll miss him!

This butterfly perfectly coordinates with the "hot lips" plant it was enjoying

Hiking Trails

There are numerous cleared trails in the jungly woods on the Hickatee Cottages property that we yearned to explore, but this being rainy season, we weren't able to check them all out. We did hike as many of them as we could manage without being up to our ankles in water, but a return visit during dry season will be necessary to finish our exploration.

Bridge constructed of a huge log that probably fell across the creek

Howler monkeys right overhead!

We saw this troop of five howlers nearly every day, which was very exciting. I mean, come on, how often do you get to live among howler monkeys, for goodness sakes?! One afternoon they were moving from tree to tree right over the Hickatee cottages, stopping to eat leaves on occasion, and we got many great looks at them. Barry got some great photos, so I've included quite a few below since it was so hard to choose the best ones.

See the baby on his Momma's back?

Click here to read the rest of the article and see many many more awesome photos on the BeBelize Blog

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Haven away from home at Hickatee (part 2)

In addition to the great things about Hickatee Cottages I shared in part 1 of this post, there's even more that we loved about being here. They have this great little dipping pool. It was cool, refreshing, and just right for lounging around in. Even though I am bird watching in this photo, I did enjoy this pool daily after our hikes and bike rides.

There are cute stone paths around the property, perfect for watching birds and butterflies from.

The paths did get a bit wet after a heavy rain one night, but they didn't take that long to drain.

And the road right outside the property is great for birdwatching too since it's the perfect wood's edge environment. We spent many an hour here.

The office/restaurant/lounge is well equipped with a bar, sitting area, and library, in addition to outdoor dining. We loved eating meals out on the porch.

Fantastic food

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the food here is super tasty and beautiful as well. Kate is a wonderful cook! Continental breakfast (hot breads, butter, jam) and an excellent French press pot of coffee is included in the daily cottage rate, and a HUGE plate of fresh fruit is just an extra $10 BZ ($5 US) and worth every penny. We got two of these every morning. I'm sure we could have split one, but we love fruit! There's also a hot breakfast available for $15 BZ, but we had eaten so many eggs at Mama Noots that we skipped it.

My favorite breakfast was these hot and melt-in-your-mouth English pancakes (similar to French crepes), served with raw sugar and lime. Ian explained that these pancakes were historically made before Lent began to use up all the eggs in the kitchen. Sure enough, a quick glance at Wikipedia under "pancake" says the same.

Delightful hosts

Ian and Kate were great -- helpful, knowledgeable British expats who positively bubble over with enthusiasm for what they do and where they live. They seem to be doing exactly what they were born to do, and we enjoyed all they had to offer and share. From birds, to bats, to butterflies, to howlers, to plants, to spiders, and even to salamanders, there's very little about the natural world that one or both of them don't know. This makes Hickatee such a delight for nature lovers like ourselves, and very hard to leave!

Ian and me

Kate and me

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos on the BeBelize Blog

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