Travelogue-style trip report (photos!)

Posted By: Xoe

Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 05/25/06 03:47 PM

I’ve combined my photos and narrative for my May 11-18 revisit to Ambergris Caye, resulting in a travelogue style photo story.

The photo groups (which have "title pages") are:

Mata Rocks

Walking south along the beach from Mata Rocks

Snorkeling with Alfonso

A walk to town from Mata Rocks -- sights along the beach and around town (this includes photos of many hotels on the beach, south to north, and some businesses in town, including El Fogon and the new bakery; all are labeled)

Day trip to Bacalar Chico

Flora and fauna

Catamaran sail to Caye Caulker

Exploring neighborhoods


Going home (this concludes with a photo of "the real Xoe").

Regretfully, you won‘t find photos of the wonderful storm (lightning, thunder, torrential rain) a bit after midnight on Wednesday May 17. I wasn’t equipped to be out there taking photos! Also, the day trip to Bacalar Chico included excellent snorkel stops at Bacalar Patches, Barracuda Patches, and Mexican Reef -- and I had forgotten to take my underwater camera, so those visions linger only in my memory.

It was another great trip, leaving me even more impressed with the graciousness and generosity and true hospitality of the Belizean people.
Posted By: catdog

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 05/25/06 03:56 PM

WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you!
Posted By: Now Danny

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 05/25/06 05:09 PM

Really great photo's Freda and thanks for taking the time to share them. We also went snorkeling with Alfonso but didn't take any pics, so thanks again. Maybe next year we will meet up, you never know. All your pics are great and I especially liked the full moon pic as we were there to see that also.
Posted By: SimonB

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 05/25/06 05:15 PM

Great job!
Posted By: Seachange

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 05/25/06 05:26 PM

Gorgeous pictures and a really perfect overview of the island. Thanks so much for sharing. Xoe was generous to let you use her name. She is also quite beautiful!
Posted By: CaliBlueFrog

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 05/25/06 06:29 PM

Xoe (F/X) - REALLY Great Photo's! It was fantastic meeting you after talking for so long on e-mails back and forth. Michelle and I are still sorting through all of our pics, and will more than likely need your expertise in putting them all together to share on the message board.
Am already planning my next trip back to purchase property. I am SO ready to retire there! Hehe!
Posted By: travelqueen

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 05/25/06 06:37 PM

Excellent pics Xoe!!! I'm going to save that link for future reference!

The dog's home don't look too shabby either!!
Posted By: Kra-Z-K

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 05/25/06 07:24 PM

great shots! Fun to see some friends here in the pics too.
Posted By: Xoe

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 05/25/06 08:57 PM

Yes, Ms. Xoe-dog has a good life. Her photo was taken at Fort Ebey State Park on Whidbey Island, our island home north of Seattle & south of the San Juan Islands. Xoe is from Czech/German working lines, and LOVES to work; she has earned 3 obedience titles so far, is preparing for trialing at the next two levels, and is currently also learning sheep herding and tracking.

That is OFF TOPIC for the A.C. board -- but dog training is a love of my life, as is snorkeling. (I'll bet Xoe would like snorkeling if she had a chance to try it!)
Posted By: snorkelgirl

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 05/25/06 09:07 PM

Fine job on the photos, Xoe, thanks for posting! So fun to walk down memory lane (or beaches) and see familiar faces too. How'd you like DandE's frozen yogurt? Yummy!

Did you snorkel on the way to CC? Coral Gardens or anywhere? How about from the beach at CC?
Posted By: Xoe

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 05/25/06 10:53 PM

SEAduced made snorkel stops at Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley on the way to CC. I liked the easy water entry/exit from the back of the catamaran. However, visibility wasn't as good that day as it had been a few days earlier. Instead of the prevailing on-shore breeze from the Caribbean, the wind that day was from the west, which meant if was really HOT on the eastern seafronts of AC and CC.

I'd like to have DandE's frozen custard right here on my home island! Beyond yummy!
Posted By: SuzyQ

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 05/26/06 02:18 AM

What a wonderful getaway that was for me. Took me back and started the longing to be there all over again! Thanks for sharing!
Posted By: Marty

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 05/26/06 04:31 AM

incredible pics Xoe. an amazing number of places are represented in your pictures.....
Posted By: Xoe

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 05/26/06 06:02 PM

My hope & intention was to provide specific visual information to future visitors through labeled photos of places they might want to stay or to visit. I also wanted to include residential neighborhoods. Walking through neighborhoods gives me a better sense of place, and I always try to do this when I travel.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 05/28/06 03:14 PM

Excellent photos, Xoe. Caye Caulker is fabulous, but it looks especially fabulous thanks to your excellent photography. Do you have an e-mail address that I can contact you privately?

Thanks and cheers,
Wendy Auxillou
Posted By: Xoe

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 05/28/06 06:39 PM

E-mail me at

[email protected]
Posted By: Xoe

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 06/04/06 01:35 AM

I wish I could expand the caption for one of my photos, but it's complicated and might cause me to lose the ShutterFly URL. So I'll add a note here instead.

Photo #21 shows one of my favorites among the homes I walked by on the beach each morning. My caption is "Fun Art on the Doors!" -- and it is indeed. However, thanks to Marty I now know that the photo shows Casa Escalante, which is situated on six acres and is the home of Jules and Rose Escalante. Two suites in this beautiful property are available to visitors. What a WONDERFUL place that would be to stay -- so I wanted to add that to my trip report!
Posted By: [email protected]

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 06/08/06 08:15 PM

Xoe - terrific photos. Really got a feel for the Island and the people. Thanks for sharing.

Posted By: Xoe

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 06/30/06 12:16 AM

Some of these photos tie into Captjeff's trip report:
Photos #86 and #87 show the new bakery and El Fogon, both mentioned in captjeff's report.

Also, these eateries have been mentioned recently on this board:
Pedro's, Photo #88;
Tabu, Photos #83 and #84;
Fido's Sandbar, Photos #18 and #19.

Sometimes knowing what a place looks like makes it easier to find.
Posted By: captjeff

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 07/01/06 02:17 PM

Xoe what great photo's ,you got around and did a lot good for about living the dream..
Posted By: Xoe

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 07/01/06 04:17 PM

It was a great trip -- I hope to be back . . . Marvelous place for snorkeling, and for walking with camera in hand!
Posted By: Squidgy

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 07/22/06 05:49 AM

Hello Xoe. Thanks for posting the great pics. I am trying to plan a trip in August and would love your advice and opinions. First, how was Mata Rocks? Would you recommend it? How does it compare to Banana Beach and Exotic Caye, in your opinion?

Secondly, can you give me an idea of what I should expect to pay for things...for instance, how much is a beer on the beach or in the bar? Cocktails? What about restaurant prices for meals? Did you use the kitchen facilities in your room? Any help anyone can give would be great. Thanks.
Posted By: lovey and thurston

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 07/22/06 01:00 PM

Hi Xoe,
I just now pulled up your great pics of the island. Our house is on one of them. It is the one with the "Attack Conch" sign. Wish I had a penny for every picture taken of that sign! One of our dear friends got that for us after we had a break in. Very nice perspective for tourists to see what the island looks like both north and south.
Posted By: Now Danny

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 07/23/06 04:25 AM

L & T, I agree with you about Xoe's pics. They are a good perspective. Squidgy, IMHO Banana Beach is very nice. Comparing BB with Mata the rooms are bigger at the Banana and nice kitchens and two sheltered pools. Not covered but wihin the walls, check their website. Whatever, I'm sure you're going the have a great time. Stop at Pedro's for a this crust pizza and the coldest beer around. Go fishing.
Posted By: DANZA

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 07/23/06 04:43 AM

Great pictures that may hold me for a while. We're not coming down until Jan-Feb so same question as squidgy. We need a place to stay.
Sure wish I could take pictures like that. Jealous
Posted By: DB

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 07/23/06 07:17 AM

Great photo report. Pics speak for the trip.
Thanks for the post. Can't wait to go back. smile
Posted By: Xoe

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 07/26/06 11:30 PM

Sorry to be slow in answering. We were at a family reunion in Portland, Oregon -- wonderful birthday celebrations for 3 family members -- fantastic time, although the 100+ degree heat did not add to the fun!!! (And no sea at our door to cool off in . . .)

I am happy to see my photos have been having another look by some of you. I did have a good time trying to give viewers a balanced look at various aspects of A.C., including some "paths less taken".

Squidgy, I thought Mata Rocks was a fine place to stay, and would recommend it highly, so long as you don't expect a luxury condo -- which it doesn't purport to be, and isn't. Rooms are immaculate, tastefully decorated, and comfortable; my standard room had a small fridge, not a kitchenette or kitchen. What I LOVED about the place is its small size and lay-out so that EVERY room and/or its balcony has a good sea view. Mata Rocks has a very open feel, very much ON the sea and part of the seaside setting. For that reason, I like it better than Banana Beach, which by comparison seems rather closed in and shut off from the beach and sea, unless you are in one of the front (seaside) units, which are only a small percentage of BB's complex. I don't mean to knock BB -- I know its fans are many -- but my tastes run more towards a smaller place, and my balcony with sea view, which allowed onshore breezes into my room, was very important to me. The price I paid was a good deal, too -- 7 days (7th day free) on off-season, which started in May.

I know from others' posts that BB's rooms are bigger, so it just depends what is important to you.

Another comment on places to stay: in January my sister and I stayed at Belizean Shores in a wonderful spacious condominium, and I LOVED that!!! Amazing pool, marvelous place for long morning or evening beach walks. Water taxis to get to town worked just fine for us, so being north of town was no problem. If traveling with someone, I would happily go there again; by myself, it was more space than I needed and more $$ than I wanted to spend.

I'm not a good source for information about prices because in May I was traveling alone and ate at odd-ball times, and didn't, for example, have a beer on the beach. I'd suggest you post that question as a new general topic -- you'll get lots of help from lots of people, including residents who really know.

Lovey and Thurston, I LOVE your house! I'd be happy to act as back-up for your "attack conch" if that means I'd get to hang out there!
Posted By: Xoe

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 07/27/06 12:25 AM

Two afterthoughts:

First -- Mata Rocks' air conditioning was used, effective, and appreciated during my May visit. Belizean Shores also has good A/C, but in January we used it very little as weather was cooler then -- open windows and ceiling fans kept us comfortable for our entire week there, except for the last day when we were packing, when we appreciated the cool-down for that job.

Second -- on my photo site
which started this thread, if you look at the bottom left of the page beneath my explanatory comments, you'll find my other photo collection from our January trip. Those photos show the perspective from north of town, and may interest some of you who plan on staying up that way. I'll add a post on the earlier trip report to bring it up nearer the top of the Trip Reports and Photographs section of the board.
Posted By: Pam&Dave

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 07/27/06 05:40 AM

Your "photo story" is fantastic! A very unique perspective. You have a great photographic "eye." I too love the house guarded by the "Attack Conch." It has such an island feel to it. Lovey and Thurston - you did a beautiful job. Did you design it? You are blessed to call it home.
My, what big ears you have Xoe! I must say, the picture of the "real" Xoe is my favorite. What a gorgeous animal. Her eyes are mesmerizing.
Freda - Thanks so much for posting.
Posted By: lovey and thurston

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 07/27/06 12:13 PM

No, we really didn't design it as such. It is probably the oldest house at that end of the island. We bought it 22yrs. ago and just kept working on it until my husband retired. It is very much an island beach cottage,and we intentionally kept it that way. We too have loved it and feel blessed to call it home. Stop in and we'll give you the tour. When we bought it there was a delapidated old above ground cistern behind our bedroom. We got the brilliant idea to turn it into a plunge pool. That has been one of the best ideas we've ever had.Thanks, Judy
Posted By: Xoe

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 07/27/06 03:28 PM

I love the conversations on this board -- thanks for providing us this venue, Marty, and to all of you for writing.

Yes, Xoe has big ears and knows how to use them! She's a great dog who loves to work, and has titles in obedience (4 so far, more to go). Our current new training project is sheep herding. She's from Czech and East German lines; quite a few of her brothers are K-9 patrol dogs, mostly in Vancouver. I am privileged to be "her person".
Posted By: ArtZ SmartZ

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 07/27/06 07:44 PM

I loved your pictures! The ones of Ucluelet were magnificent, especially the ones with the light shinging through the trees. And the one with the dog. "Stairs to the beach". Oh my GOD! It could appear in National Geographic. I've never been to the west coast Canada. It's absolutely beautiful. I've never had the desire to go to a cold climate for vacation, but your photos has changed my thinking. You have a way with the camera. Are you a professional photographer? You should consider it. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
Posted By: Xoe

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 07/28/06 04:24 PM

I think that area is one of earth's most beautiful -- AND lightly populated. September is a fine time to go. The weather is usually excellent, moderate temperatures, PERFECT for hiking, and gorgeous trails.

I am a lifelong photography hobbyist, which started with a father who processed his own stills AND 16 mm movies in a basement darkroom. For a 5-year period I sold photo note cards in the Monterey Bay area of California, where we then lived. Since moving to Whidbey Island, WA, I just play around -- and enjoy every minute of it!
Posted By: divingcowgirl

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 07/29/06 02:41 PM

Wow! Awesome pictures! We just got back a month ago from San Pedro. Sniff, sniff I really miss it! frown But hopefully we'll be back again! The pictures of Ucluelet were beautiful. So is Zoe!
We were originally going to fly up to Seattle and that area and rent a car and drive down the pacific coastline. We've been wanting to see the redwood forest, but we opted to go to Belize instead. I'm glad we did, but your pictures make me want to head north next time. So many places to visit and just not enough time to do it in! Jobs have a tendency to get in the way! laugh Thanks again for the pictures and the memories!
Posted By: Xoe

Re: Travelogue-style trip report (photos!) - 07/30/06 04:15 PM

Perfect vacation schedule: in September, explore the Pacific Northwest, flying into Vancouver or Seattle, then heading for the west coast of Vancouver Island, where the Ucluelet photos were taken, or the gorgeous areas in the Olympics or Cascades, or maybe Whistler, north of Vancouver.

Then, Belize in the January-May time frame.

You could hardly find a a better combination of great snorkeling/swimming and all else that A.C. offers, and the most stunning imagineable scenery with marvelous uncrowded hiking trails in the Pacific Northwest.

Ah yes, jobs do get in the way, even though they do pay for those great vacations.
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