THE ROAD TO HANA ON NORTH AMBERGRIS CAYE by Harriette Fisher
BELIZE – CENTRAL AMERICA
In Hawaii on the island of Maui on the north east coast is a small town named Hana. The road to Hana is famous for its scenery and many hairpin curves. Even though it is only 68 miles long it takes about two hours to drive from one end to the other. On the far north east end of Ambergris Caye is a place called Robles Point. The reef that fronts the island nearly touches shore here. It actually does touch at the next projected land mass and that is called Rocky Point.
I have dubbed the road north of the bridge ‘the road to Hana.’
I have some property between Robles Point and Rocky point and because it takes me two hours to drive from my house at Birdland I will legitimize the name of the road by calling my property ‘HANA.’
Before I bought I had made two trips up there with friends from the US. My third trip was Mother’s Day, May 11, 2014. This time I took a camera but didn’t think to start taking pictures until we reached the 8 mile marker and I realized all the talk about paving the road north intends to go to this point.
I knew they had worked from the bridge to Grande Caribe but was shocked how much further they had gone. Except for a section behind Matachica the road was in excellent condition – up to mile 8.
The North Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch (NACNW) had mile markers made and posted from the bridge north.
Road to right leads to Blue Reef Resort on beach.
(Click any photo for a larger version)
This is the view looking north with a turn off to the sea on the right.
The picture on the right shows is what lies ahead for some time. . . .
. . . until you turn right towards the sea and come out to the beach here.
From here to Tranquility Bay Resort we were forced to drive on the beach sometimes in soft sand, mushy sea grass, heaps of trash, waters edge and occasionally in a bit of surf. Elapsed time was 2 hours 10 minutes.
As difficult as the driving is the views are spectacular!
On my previous two trips it was easy to find the cart path north on the far side of Tranquility Bay. It took off up the hill just as I remembered but quickly dropped back down to the beach. I went back twice looking for the main trail. It seems to have been left to grow over. We traveled along the beach which, to my surprise, has a lot of homes built and inhabited. I took every opportunity to cut in and try to find the cart path.
Frustration took over and we pulled into a boarded up place and had lunch under an old Sea Grape tree before giving up and heading home.
This place had two marine windmills.
Back on the beach on impulse I once again headed north. Within a short distance there was a clear path heading inland. Sure enough it connected up with the old trail. This area of the island is pristine; other than the Mayans no one has lived up here. I was looking for the path into an area marked as lot #19; which has been divided into 5 parcels. Before I purchased my lot I looked at this. As beautiful as it is it would not work for me. This area sits 15 feet above the sea shore with a very steep rocky wall down the face. I found the well worn path towards the sea that passes under a cement shell of a house and stops on a small rise about 25’ from the shore. My lot is just north of this.
The ground is littered with broken corals, shells, driftwood and some trash and is mostly covered by wandering salt tolerant vines and bushes. The sand is so soft I would sink in up to my ankles. It becomes obvious that the ground is solid coral indicating that at one time this all was underwater.
This is my puppy ‘Tonto’ and my
friends Rene and Wes.
The colors of the water are breathtaking and the surf roars as it breaks on the reef. It was a very windy day and the waves were large. Small craft warnings had been
posted for four day.
The point in the background is just south of
Rocky Point where the reef meets the shore.
Loggerhead and Hawksbill Turtles
Nest from here north and June is
their nesting season
To be able to sit and listen to it roar is worth the
drive. Two hours up – two hours there – and
then it’s time to spend two hours getting home.
I grew up along the Pacific Coast of Washington, Oregon and California.
Trips to the beach always included bonfires, wieners and marshmallows.
The biggest differences between the
Pacific Ocean and this Caribbean Sea are air and water temperatures.
Scuba diving in Northern California waters required at least an 8 mm wet suit and most everyone now dives in dry suits as the temperature is seldom above 54º whereas the temperature here is about 82º year round.
Living just a mile north of the bridge means the reef is a good ½ mile out and except in sever storms isn’t heard on shore.
April 2013 was my first trip up here. Fortunately the cart path was obvious and the golf cart climbed right up the hill into the breathtaking beauty of the jungle. We scared up an owl that flew in front of us until he was out of sight. When we would catch up with him he would wing it on to the next rest.
In May I made my second trip. When we stopped to take a picture we heard strange noises coming from the trees over brackish water on the west side. We took enough time to let our eyes adjust and were able to see a large
flock of Wood Storks nesting.
This is the good section.
Now I’m excited to document the details of the road (or lack thereof) so have the camera at the ready.
NOTE: Do not attempt this in the rainy season!
Be sure it has stopped raining long enough to dry out.
This time, in the same general area we flushed out a good sized hawk. He is behind the curved tree trunk in the 3rd picture but I only had my wide angle lens so he does not show up.
So here’s how most of the path looks; but it got much worse.
There were a couple of places that we had to clear a downed tree in order to pass.
Coming back we followed the path as far as there was any trail at all. One area was covered so densely with dried golden leaves that we could only guess there was a path under them. We managed to get well beyond where we had come in.
Just north of Sapphire Beach the sand is littered with coconuts and debris –
Sapphire Beach was raked clean.
Met a couple staying there and they said it reopened in March
The beaches to the north are no wider than the beaches around town. However the land does rise more rapidly and the elevation at the cart path north of Robles Point averages about 25 feet. Between Robles Point and Rocky point there is very little trash and not much sea grass even though none of this is being manually cleaned. It must be because this beach faces south east.
These two pictures are of local trash that has washed up
The trash from cruise ships is all shredded into little squares. The difference between this and The trash from cruise ships is all shredded into little squares..
Which way to El Secreto?
We saw this sign on the way north and had not passed these resorts so we knew the way.
Too many signs here have this confusing double arrow.
AH – ALMOST HOME
OOPS – FORGOT ABOUT THIS
During the drive north we did not see any other vehicle. The only person we saw was a home owner grading the road behind his property. Coming south the only tracks we saw were the ones we had made. We met a couple on the beach just north of Sapphire Beach and chatted a while. But once we passedthe 7 ½ marker we met a lot of people heading north. We found some tourists stopped trying to make a decision whether to go on or not. My suggestion to them and to you would be take the road to the beach then find one you like and stop and enjoy the
BUT WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME.
Stop by and watch my wild birds, check out my turtles and meet Tonto – my faithful companion- and chat awhile.
San Pedro Town
Belize, Central America