well, after two solid days flying and four days of food shopping in surprisingly spring like anchorage, we're finally back home. It's snowing, and there is a pissed off looking moose across the street daring me to go out of the house. Oh, how i wish i was back in BZ!
I'll post much detail and tons of photos as soon as i get the scanner fired up, but here are some quick notes on our honeymoon trip.
Mata Chica absolutely rocks. I hope anyone who ever wants to stay at a place like that has the chance. There may truly be no finer place to pass a late afternoon than on a hammock in a beachfront casita there. The service was perfect, everyone was helpful and friendly. It is absolutely beautiful. We were so relaxed, the next stage of relaxation would be "meat fell off the bone."
took a bunch of tours, far and away Daniel Nunez's Tanisha Tours is the best. Daniel knows every animal on the rivers on a first name basis. If you like wildlife, he's flat out the best. he'd be zooming up the river at 40 mph, do a 180, and pull over along side a tree and point out a 3" lizard. Sees everything. We went to Altun Ha with him, and stopped to view manatees on the way. We had been there about 20 minutes, watching at very close range, when a way over-full boat from one of the big tour comapanies pulled up, stayed two minutes and left. We were there another 10 minutes after that. I spoke to someone later who was on that boat, he was happy that they "kind of saw a manatee." Daniel has some seriously cool ideas about conservation and Belizean ecology.
also took two tours with Seaduced, and had the same guide both times. Very hard worker. Did the cave tubing/zoo trip, the whole thing lasted about 12 hours. Great attitude, not afraid to put in a long day. Terrific guide.
Overall, the food varied from pretty good to mediocre. Quality was frequently inverse to price. Had two great meals in local places, Papi's diner and Los Cocos. Thanks for the tip, Daniel!
Los Cocos was excellent, basically the restaurant is pretty much the enclosed porch of the womans house. Or so it seems. Had a great fried chicken dinner, with two soft drinks our bill was under $10US for dinner. I left about a $30 tip. Ingredients must have cost more. Papi's was also excellent, had a seafood combo as good as anywhere else, and a fraction of the price. Lime-chicken soup was the food highlight of the trip. Dinner at Blue Water Grill was a big dissapointment, as was Portofino. Mata Chica was good, but not great.
Spent one day in Caye Caulker, Julia did lots of shopping there, and we had lunch at Rasta Pasta. yum. Very good, and much better than the dinner a few nights later at the Rasta Pasta in SP. I was also kind of dissapointed in the changes at Coconuts, their old beach bar was one of my favorite places to hang in SP.
Spent a lot of time snorkeling, mostly good, we did half day trip at Hol Chan/shark ray alley that was a big dissapointment. Our hotel hooked us up with Belize Diving Academy, I wouldn't recommend them. We took our own masks/snorkel, purchased in Target for about $40 a set, definitely the way to go, unless you like having poor fitting masks and snorkels that have been in 200 other mouths before yours. Think about it.
Special note to the perpetrator of Caye Chapel:
shame on you. money doesn't give you the right to do that kind of ecological damage. shame, shame.
Overall, Belize is one of the most beautiful, friendly places we've ever been to. Can't say enough good things about it. Will have more to write when i have pix to go along with it.