Friday, February 10, 2012

February 4-10, 2012

We drove from Hopkins to Belize City in about two and a half hour, turned in the rental car and took the water taxi to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. We split up from the Thunens after our arrival in San Pedro since their hotel was in the northern part of the island and our accommodations were in the south.

If it hadn’t been for the disappointing room accommodation we got stuck with, the transition from the mainland to La Isla Bonita would have been a seamless one. But it was not to be. The ocean view studio condo should have been called “The Cave” (a very petit one at that). Its view of the ocean should have stated “a peek” from the front porch. But with the assistance of the property manager, we found a larger condo right on the beach closer to San Pedro. Things were looking up!

View from our porch.

Our last week in Belize was geared to relaxing and water sports. Mornings consisted of coffee in a beach chair, reading the paper and watching the docks come alive. On Tuesday the four of us met in town ready for a snorkeling expedition. We booked the trip with Aqua Scuba, who took us to Holchan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. Both were fabulous.


Early morning in San Pedro.

Since Holchan is a reserve, the sea life has no fear of humans. Curious fish swim right past you, albeit keeping an eye on us. We saw turtles, sting rays, pompano, nurse sharks, eel, tarpon and a variety of smaller tropical fish. We then headed off to Shark Ray Alley. As the boat approached the area, we already could see fish heading towards the boat, looking for a free meal. When the boat anchored, the crew started chumming, throwing out small bits of food and telling us it was time to jump into the water.

A nurse shark coming to dinner.

On a bike ride we took to Captain Morgan's.

An iguana doing a show for us.

Osprey parents watching after of the kids.

View from our next condo.

There were so many sharks, sting rays and skip jacks, that it was difficult to get in. I was the first one and initially was a bit hesitant of jumping in. But these fish were docile and were only interested in one thing - the little bits of chum being tossed at them. It was quite an unforgettable experience.

San Pedro is the quintessential tropical town, with small houses along cobblestone and sandy streets. The water is a clear turquoise with the barrier reef visible from most of the beaches. Aside from Australia, this is the longest barrier reef in the world. From our hotel, we can see a couple of cruising yachts at anchor.

Tuesday's fruit and vegetables brought by sailboats.

The main means of transportation on the island is the golf cart. They are everywhere and they can get annoying - particularly the motorized carts with gas engines. Otherwise, people ride bikes and walk.

Perhaps it’s because San Pedro is so dependent on the tourist trade that the people are nice, but we found the locals to be exceedingly good natured and always friendly. The hawkers always are ready to sell you their wares, but if you decline their offer, they smile, thank you and move on. They’re not pushy. I had lots of offers for exotic smoking tobaccos, even Cubans!

On the diving trip - Blinkie, the dive master.

On our last evening in San Pedro, the Thunens came into town via water taxi. We had a bottle of wine on our porch and then went to dinner at El Patio, a local restaurant. It turned out to be a superb last evening. Good food, good wine, good friends and a great way to end a successful Belize adventure.

Diane found a purse she couldn't resist.

Far right and far left were two of the place we stayed at.

Morning view from our porch.

Another view from the porch.

Local chick on palm tree.

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