Best Trip Ever!!!

Posted By: pookster

Best Trip Ever!!! - 03/24/08 08:25 PM

Wow what a vacation we had just a few weeks ago in Belize. Best vacation I have ever had. Where do I begin? Well here are a few highlights and adventures my friends and I experienced. I have to give a big shout out to all on this message board. It is the reason our trip turned out so good. Thanks to everyone! (special shout to Taco Girl!)

Day 1:
We flew all night from CA to land in Belize around noon. We were quickly met outside by our transfer and away we went towards the Jungle. You couldn’t help but notice immediately the poverty and shanty type housing everyone lived in on the outskirts of town. It was surprising and somewhat heart wrenching. We arrived at Jaguar Paw resort and were greeted by Gumbo the rescued baby howler monkey.

Evidently they found him after the hurricane? That was the story I heard and let me tell you he was so playful and sweet we just couldn’t get enough of him.
At night he would crawl on the back of your neck and fall asleep purring like a cat. It was surreal. We had just enough time to check out the beautiful pool
and Jacuzzi and drink our first Belikins before dinner.
(Belikin is my new favorite beer!) We had a great meal at dinner and then crashed out like nobody’s business since we had been up for almost 30 hrs.

Day 2:
Today was cave tubing day. I wasn’t sure I was going to do it until I took a brief walk to the river the night before to check it out. It was absolutely beautiful and serene.
The river was crystal clear water. I was in on that adventure. So off we went for the one hour jungle trek with our guide Edmondo and Emma the resident german shepherd who swims the river with tour groups.
The hike was not bad at all. We saw lots of the leaf ants, stopped and ate something like coconut off of a large fern plant, and checked out a paw print of a Tipor? I have no idea if that was spelled right. All I know is Edmondo said it was a donkey like animal that he was scared of. Next thing you know we were all in the river tubing immediately. 
Floating through the 5 different caves was simply awesome. I recommend it to all. You have little head lamps which at one point we all turned off and just floated in darkness. (sweet!) There is also a cave that has an underground hot spring that comes up and creates a rock waterfall.
Just totally cool. After tubing we were ready for the hot tub and more Belikins! We had yet another wonderful dinner(food was excellent at Jaguar Paw) and then proceeded to play with Gumbo and got to know the security guards and other tour guides. (they all hung out at the picnic table near the lobby) I have to say everyone we met on this trip was so nice and friendly. Most of the Belizeans we spoke with were more than happy to share their stories and their culture and were certainly interested in how we lived our lives in the concrete jungle of L.A. It was really neat to swap stories and imagine for a moment each of us living in the others environment. We just loved all the locals we met. Off to bed we went daydreaming of a life in Belize some day. (yeah right)

Day 3:
Had to get some last minute play time in with Gumbo before leaving the Jungle and heading for San Pedro. Said goodbye to all the locals we met and shared stories with and bid the staff who waited on us goodbye and then it was off to the island. Of course we couldn’t leave without a few more Belikins for the road.  (I think there is a Belikin in 2/3 of my pics of the trip) We got on the island hopper plane and away we went. The take off was slightly disturbing but the rest of the flight was smooth. Good thing we decided to get some of the local coconut rum before getting on the plane. We were getting tired of beer (or so we thought) and decided the newly discovered drink “panty ripper” was quite nice and would be good to have in the next hotel room. Next thing you know we land and are very excited to get off the plane and into our next adventure. My buddy Laurie and I are the last ones to exit the plane. I start down the aisle and she is behind me when all of a sudden I hear this “Crash”. I don’t look back, it can’t possibly be that huge bottle of coconut rum we just bought? I still don’t look back I decide to completely disown my best friend of 10 years and pretend nothing happened. I quickly get to the steps out of the plane just as this clear liquid is starting to flow out of the aircraft. I walk quickly towards the luggage with my hand over my forehead attempting to hide myself and all association with that dumb American tourist who just spilled a huge bottle of coconut rum on the plane. I look back and there is my buddy Laurie with her hand on her forehead pretending like there is a ghost behind her who dropped the rum and she had nothing to do with it. We were so embarrassed and laughing histerically. How could that have happened? At any rate we saw the pilot taking the next passengers out to the plane and reassuring them he was not drinking coconut rum and that someone had spilled it in the aircraft. Not necessarily the way you want to start your island adventure. (dumb American tourists) LOL!

On to Ramons Village we went. (of course we had to stop and replenish our rum supply) We had nice rooms and proceeded to eat a late lunch. Then we did the San Pedro thing. Off we went walking the beach bar hopping. We started at B.C’s and then got stuck at the Tackle Box.
We loved that bar. Rebecca, Kevin and Albert were totally awesome. Kevin especially took a liking to us and pretty much adopted the four of us for the remainder of the trip.
He was a great resource for restaurants, fishing and pretty much everything. He was one cool dude. On his recommendation we ate at Jambel’s that night. We absolutely loved the jerk chicken and shrimp. It was spicy but man was it good. Yet another great day in our trip and on full bellys we headed back to Ramons to sleep it off.

Day 4:
Today was our scheduled down day. It was all about the beach baby! We laid on our beach chairs, shopped for some blankets, drank some pina colada’s, snorkeled out by the marina (which was totally great. Lots of fish under Ramon’s dock) and napped in the hammocks. It was pretty much an ideal Island beach day. The kind you see on TV. We loved it. We ate dinner at Ramon’s that night because they were having a beach bbq but weren’t that impressed. That was the 2nd and last meal we ate at Ramons. The food there was just not that good. It wasn’t bad it was just OK and when you are on vacation I say do as the locals do! There are plenty of good restaurants in town so we went exploring the rest of the trip for food.

Day 5:
We discovered Estells. Yes the best beach breakfast you will ever have simply because the coffee is good, you can put your toes in the sand and you can just inhale that beautiful ocean view. We never ate breakfast anywhere else after that. Love that place! Today was Snorkeling day. We booked a half day with Carri’bean tours. Oliver and Tyree were super fun and laid back. ( I recommend them highly) We went to Shark Ray alley and Hol Chan.

The snorkeling was just totally amazing. It was like being in your own fish bowl. I could not get over how clear the water was and then we got to pet a stingray and a nurse shark. It was just awesome. We had some rum punch on the way home and hit Oliver up for some good restaurants. He pointed us to Fodon. Oh man was the food good there. We had bbq chicken and curry chicken and it was out of this world good. You know you are doing the local thing when you walk into a restaurant and everyone starts looking at you. (of course being in Ramons pink golf carts is a dead giveaway)  We headed over to the tackle box to talk some more smack with Kevin and started scheming. We said wouldn’t it be nice if we could go fishing in the morning, bring back the fish here (tackle box) and you (Kevin) could cook it for us since you say you are such a good cook? No more than having that roll of our tongues did we get it set up for the next morning.

Day 6:
We decided Kevin had to come fishing with us so we met at Estells and off we went fishing with Chris. (One of Kevin’s fishing contacts.)
We headed out towards the mangroves and didn’t catch much except rocks so we went to a different location. In the middle of the sea Chris knew about this one spot and so we gave it a shot and boy were the fish biting. We landed 12 and called it a day. We stopped for a quick snorkel since we had time and ended the half day with some yummy rum punch. Off we went to the Tackle box to test Kevin’s cooking prowess. He started the BBQ and prepared the fish and I am telling you it smelled sooooooo good.
All the tourists were coming up to him asking if it was for sale and we were in the background waiting to pounce on anyone who dared take an interest in our catch. LOL Long story short Kevin is an excellent cook and I am not sure it gets much better than fishing in the morning and eating that catch a few hours later. Our trip was just like that. Everything we wanted to do just happened. Unbelievable. After the fish feast it was nap time but I just couldn’t bring myself to waste what precious time I had left on the Island so I convinced Connie and Mo to go on a golf cart adventure with me. Off we went south of the Island to see what was there. It became more like get to know every mini mart on the way so we could re load our Belikins.  We drove past 5 construction workers who looked very thirsty so we went to the next mini mart bought more Belikins and brought it back to them. They were so surprised and very thankful. Again perhaps not all pink golf carts stop to give free beer to locals? Off to the left of the road I made a slight mistake and pointed out to Connie a mud hole. Next thing I knew we were full bore heading for it and splash! Our pink golf cart was now brown along with my shorts and part of my T-shirt. Funny part is we had to hit all mud holes after that. It was a thing.  Finally we decide to turn around and start heading home. We were trying to figure out what we were going to do about the brown golf cart when all of a sudden we see our construction buddies sitting and drinking Belikins. We stopped and asked if they had a hose and they sure did. A few minutes later our cart was good as new and it was time to hit the next mini-mart for more Belikins.
We got back just in time to pick up our buddy Laurie and head over to the chicken drop. We ate dinner at Caliente and gave our ticket stubs to the local kids hoping they would win. They didn’t but it was fun trying.
They got a kick out of it. Yet another great day in the books and after all those Belikins let’s just say it was an early evening.

Day 7:
Yet another fabulous breakfast at Estells and then it was off to Holy Cross School. We found out about the school reading the message board and Taco Girls Blog so we brought some stuff to donate and it was time to seek them out.

We did get lost in some interesting neighborhoods (again pink golfcart. Not thinking that was such a good idea in some of those areas) Still we had absolutely no issues with anyone and finally got directions to the school. We showed up with a bag full of goodies and the office admin looked at us and said “I love you”. I have to say we didn’t bring a lot of items but it wasn’t about the qty for them it was the thought. We met Mr and Ms Frances and got a tour of the school.
It is just amazing what they have accomplished over the last two years. My hat goes off to them and anyone who volunteers for the schools in Belize. It is clear they could use more support in the education system all over the country. Hopefully that gets more attention as time goes on. After the good deed it was time to go shopping! Off we went to pick up knick knacks etc for friends and family and then our last dinner out. We went back to Jambel’s because it was so good and once again caught our mouths on fire. Yum! We headed over to the Tackle Box to say goodbye to our good friend Kevin and also Albert. It was our last night and it was a sad affair. There was a lot of crying into Belikins. 

Day 8:
The last breakfast. Yes we said goodbye to Estells and then packed our things for the trip home. It was just an incredible vacation and one we plan to repeat again and again and again. I did forget one part of the trip. (it sort of starts blending together after awhile) We did take a water taxi up to Rojo Lounge for lunch one day and it was absolutely delicious! Besides the fact you are isolated like on your own island or something, the big fluffy couches and island dogs and cats, I am telling you we got lost up there for 5 hours. It was just killer. Totally worth the water taxi fare. It isn’t cheap but neither are lifelong memories.  Thanks again to all on the message board. You rock!

P.S. Shrimp burritos at Warugama were out of this world!!!
Posted By: Bill Mc Ghee

Re: Best Trip Ever!!! - 03/24/08 08:46 PM

Nice trip report. Now you know firsthand why the people on this board go back year after year, and as many times as possible each year.
when are you going back ? smile

P.S. the lobster burritos at Waragumas are even better. but your right shrimp ain't bad either.
Posted By: pookster

Re: Best Trip Ever!!! - 03/24/08 09:51 PM

Probably won't be able to go back until next year cry But it is okay. I know it will be worth the wait. I might try to get certified in diving. I heard nothing but great things about the diving.
Posted By: Bill Mc Ghee

Re: Best Trip Ever!!! - 03/24/08 10:14 PM

In february of 2009 Reaper, a board member here holds a "Boogie" ( Skydivers from all over the world ) come to San pedro for 9/10 days and it's great fun.You can even arrange to Tandem jump with his group.My wife and I missed it by 1 day this year but not next year for sure. We are booked into SP from Feb 13th,to Feb 23rd 2009. The Boogie ( I believe) is Feb 14th till Feb 24th. Make your plans now. I'll see you there!!!!
Posted By: pookster

Re: Best Trip Ever!!! - 03/24/08 10:34 PM

Well isn't that just a fabulous idea. Duly noted. I believe I will make arrangements to be there then. A very good idea.
Posted By: BrusselSprout

Re: Best Trip Ever!!! - 03/25/08 04:27 PM

I just printed out a copy of this for Kevin. He was beaming. Come back to visit soon! - Rebecca (Tacklebox)
Posted By: pookster

Re: Best Trip Ever!!! - 03/25/08 05:38 PM

That's great! Thanks Rebecca. We totally had a great trip as you can tell and we will most definitely be back. We would have it booked already if we could. The Tackle Box rocks. You guys do a great job. Everyone back here who sees the pictures of that bar want to go there. Have another glorious day in paradise. I am so jealous right now. cry

Please give a big hug to Kevin for us. We miss him. Okay you don't have to give him a hug since you are his boss but if you could let him know we are thinking about him that would be good enough. smile

Posted By: divingcowgirl

Re: Best Trip Ever!!! - 03/25/08 06:12 PM

Pookster, you will LOVE diving off SP.... I made my 5th trip down there this past Feb. I've only been able to dive 3 of those trips but the reef is alive and teeming w/ fish and all sorts of ocean life. I love SP, the people and the reef. You'll defininately have to make it in Feb, next year.. I'm going to try and go for the "Boogie". Reaper got me hooked on skydiving now...(see the monster you creater Reaper??) and I want to go again.
Posted By: travelqueen

Re: Best Trip Ever!!! - 03/25/08 06:24 PM

Great trip report!! Those are my favorite places!

I'm "booked" for those Feb '09 dates too!
Posted By: pookster

Re: Best Trip Ever!!! - 03/25/08 10:58 PM

Thanks Travel Queen. It's looking like the "Boogie" is catching some momentum. Might have to seriously consider booking that time next year.

Diving Cowgirl I am definitely considering certification. Thanks for the comments.
Posted By: CeeSF

Re: Best Trip Ever!!! - 03/26/08 08:21 PM

Hiya Pookster!
Loved readin' yer story, especially the part about the broken bottle! LOL.
Are ye goin' to post yer pics?

Re: Best Trip Ever!!! - 03/26/08 10:28 PM

Great report pookster, Another "hooked" gringo in Belize. Glad you got to enjoy the Mainland too. Hope you get back there soon to do it all over again. Pictures, we need Pictures!!!!! grin
Posted By: pookster

Re: Best Trip Ever!!! - 03/27/08 12:03 AM

Guys I need help on how to post pics! It asks me to enter the complete URL for image. I'm not sure how to do that. Help!!
I have some really cool pics I would love to share. Great ones of Gumbo and Cave tubing.
Posted By: BamaB's

Re: Best Trip Ever!!! - 03/27/08 11:46 PM

If you go to google & create a google GMail account, it allows you post photos, I think I had to download something but it wasn't bad, and then you're all set!
Posted By: pookster

Re: Best Trip Ever!!! - 03/28/08 01:47 AM

Thanks BamaB's. I am going to try that. I would love for everyone to see some of these pics. It really does show how much fun we had.
Posted By: Ernie B

Re: Best Trip Ever!!! - 03/28/08 02:17 AM

Youre hooked ! Join the club !!!!
Posted By: Mikeywaz

Re: Best Trip Ever!!! - 03/28/08 03:38 AM

Great trip report! Thanks for sharing!! Hope you can post some pics.
Posted By: travelqueen

Re: Best Trip Ever!!! - 03/31/08 10:10 PM

Click on the links, y'all. Are ya seeing the pics?... frown
Posted By: rach

Re: Best Trip Ever!!! - 03/31/08 10:37 PM

no pics!

Love your trip report though! I am already in holiday mode drinking a gin and tonic despite not leaving til friday. Bring it on.
Posted By: pookster

Re: Best Trip Ever!!! - 04/02/08 05:35 PM

Well it seems you need to have a Gmail account to see the pics. What can I say? I am a rookie at this for sure. Next time I am going to point to a website. That way all can enjoy!
Posted By: Ernie B

Re: Best Trip Ever!!! - 04/02/08 05:43 PM

I opened a Gmail account and still cant access the pix.
Posted By: travelqueen

Re: Best Trip Ever!!! - 04/02/08 06:38 PM

I have a gmail account... no pics. frown
Posted By: rach

Re: Best Trip Ever!!! - 04/02/08 09:07 PM

Have you just emialed those pics to someone or received them via email? If so you need to upload them to webspace so everyone can access them. Photobucket etc will do the trick!
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