Slow down...enjoy the breeze.
After arriving at Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize, you'll be greeted by eager taxi drivers just waiting to take you to your vacation destination. If you are heading to the islands, $25 U.S. is pretty standard for transport. But go ahead and try for $20, you may get lucky. At complete random selection, I decided to head to Caye Caulker for my first night in Belize. When I first arrived, there were very few travelers in sight and I thought I might be in the wrong place. As I walked over to my hotel, Popeye's Beach Resort, I was greeted by a few locals as I always am in the Caribbean..."Hey Ras", "Rasta Gal", "Lioness", to name a few... I felt right home. Traveling female with dreads + tattoos is a recipe for likeness on any island (travel tips by yours truly).
I decided to grab some dinner at Barrier Reef Sports Bar and Grill and was pleasantly surprised with their drink specials and vegan/vegetarian options. They have a happy hour from 3-7pm which I happened to miss by 30 minutes. But, the drinks always taste better at full price, right? I walked over to The Lazy Lizard afterwards for a swim. Great spot, good music and plenty to eat and drink. After dinner, I walked to the other side of the island to catch the sunset and headed back to the hotel.
While walking around Front Street the next morning, yes, Front Street...there are only three main streets on the island. Can you guess the other two names? I will give you a hint...Front, Middle and Back. You can conquer the entire island with those three streets. I noticed a Starbucks WiFi signal on my phone. And lo and behold, there it was! A Starbucks on this tiny island! Or Axxiom Coffee...same thing really. Had a nice breakfast there and decided to head out to another Caye - Ambergris Caye!
Here's where the story gets really good. After a nice water taxi and short walk on the beach, I arrived at Mayan Princess for my two night stay. There is something to be said about staying at a pink Resort with Princess in the name but the accommodation was fantastic. The staff was very friendly and super helpful. They let me check in a few hours early so I could galavant around town without 50lbs on my back.
At dinner, I asked my server who the best tour guide in town was and he responded with 'Little Alphonse'. That evening I emailed them and was set up with a full day tour. We set out to see Shark Ray Alley, Hol Chan and the Coral Gardens. Alphonse is quite the character, he had a great sense of humor and was very knowledgeable about Belize and the ocean life. He has a special connection with a few of the rays and sharks and handed them to me to hold. I am usually against these types of interactions when they are forced as I never want to disrupt animals in their natural environment. But, this was different. These animals knew him and swam around him without being captured. I was able to see sharks, fish, an eel and a sea turtle! I highly recommend him for any of their many tours!
Night life in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye is pretty lively on the weekends and there are several spots to go. If you are looking to mingle and party with the locals, this is where you want to be. Conveniently, they are all in close quarters. Jaguar's Night Club and Daddy Rock are my favorites. And one more thing...if anyone tells you to go to Secret Beach, don't do it! It's an hour+ on a golf cart, which will cost you, on a bumpy unpaved road to a tiny slab of sand and two bars. You've been warned.
Island life forces you to slow down and enjoy the sunrise and sunsets. If you are looking for a Caribbean destination, I recommend the Cayes of Belize. The slow down and relax mentality of the island is contagious and you will never want to leave. Belize it!