Though I only booked this trip two months ago, I feel as if I have been waiting for it all year (and truly I have, I just didn’t know the destination)! Anyway, here I am!!
Late Friday night, I hopped on a flight to Houston, which is apparently a necessary connection for most people who want to fly into Belize City. I flew with United for the first time I can recall in my life and it was an interesting experience. If you are cheap and fly Basic Economy like me, you don’t get assigned a seat until you get to the gate. I managed to check in early enough that I could pick the last seat for my second flight, but I had very limited options. As luck would have it, I was placed in a “Premium Economy” seat for the first flight, and got an entire row to myself in the second! So sometimes leaving things up to fate in the name of saving $50 really pays off.
I arrived in Belize City at 9am which was pretty ideal. Customs took no time at all, then I grabbed a cab to the water taxi terminal in Belize City. It was about a 30 minute drive, and the taxis are really easy with a flat rate of $25 USD. The water taxi terminal itself was pretty wild, and it was probably 70% locals around the terminal waiting for the boat. The entire process was extremely smooth and organized and I arrived at my hostel (conveniently right outside the terminal) for before noon! That was definitely one of my smoother entrances into a country in terms of time taken, organization, general feelings of stress and safety, and time that I arrived (if you want to hear about a wild time then read my blog about getting to Vietnam at 3AM).
The first day I spent at the tip of the island in an area called “The Split”. It is a giant beach bar with a little section of the ocean walled off to enjoy like a swimming pool. It was a beautiful day and a great introduction to the island.
After hanging out there for a while, I wandered around town to find a snorkelling tour to go on for the next day. I picked Caveman tours based on a recommendation and it was well worth it! I went with the full day tour which was $65 USD. More about that below.
Saturday evening I went for a lobster dinner with a gal from my hostel. We each got a bbq lobster and it was delicious. Typically meals here come with coconut rice, salad of some sort and the protein so it’s a lot of food for a good price. My plate of lobster cost me about $13 USD – apparently one of the cheapest lobster dinners I’ll ever have, too!
The next day I woke up early for my snorkel tour. I can honestly say it was one of the best ocean tours of any kind I have ever been on (including scuba diving in Thailand)! We went around to many sites, looking at sea horses and tarpon (giant fish that ate sardines out of our hands) from the boat,then ventured out to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and other sites.
Here is a photo of me feeding the tarpon:
We saw so much marine life! A manatee, turtles, nurse sharks, and tropical fish galore. Our guides were fantastic and were very knowledgeable about the marine life, while encouraging us to take practices to respect and protect the reefs. I made friends with a nice mother/son travelling pair who helped me get some interesting photos underwater.
At one point in our tour, we hopped out of one side of the boat and the guides stayed on the boat and started throwing sardines over the other side. These fish attracted several giant nurse sharks that we could see underwater. It was really spectacular to see. The guides also talked about the ethical issues of feeding the sharks and though there are some tour groups that don’t, they apparently just crowd other boats that do and piggy back onto their seeing of the nurse sharks. It was really interesting and I am planning to learn more about this practice.
Our guide actually got bit on the finger by a nurse shark after they were done feeding them the sardines. He dipped his hand in the water to wash it off and apparently a nurse shark mistook it as another snack and suctioned on and took a bite!! It was a pretty big bite but the guide wasn’t too concerned. He made his own tourniquet and bandaged it with duct tape so that blood wouldn’t drip everywhere. We all thought it was shocking and made a huge deal of it. Here is a photo of our group at the end of the day (we’re all holding up a finger because that’s where he got bit)!
In the evening a new friend and I watched the sunset off the west coast of the island then went for dinner then trivia at a bar near my hostel. It was all geography-based which I suppose levelled the playing field for everyone from all over the world!
Today I went to an actual sand beach at this resort called Koko King. They have a free ferry and you can utilize the resort for free if you spend $13 usd on food and/ drinks. I utilized a beach chair and camped out for the day, though I may have gotten a bit too much sun. The menu was reasonably priced for a resort as my minimum spend bought me 2 beers and a filling lunch!
Tomorrow I leave Caye Caulker and head to the beach town of Placencia. I’m looking forward to it as it’s been super nice here but quite slow. My hostel has some nice people but it isn’t the liveliest place so I’m hoping the next one has a bit more of a social atmosphere.