A final evening in Caye Caulker and a journey of many forms of transportation to Placencia

After publishing my last post, I enjoyed a final evening in Caye Caulker. I spent the early evening hanging out while waiting for my friend from Holland, Ife, to finish her night dive. Apparently the diving off Caye Caulker was super amazing so I’ll have to look into it the next time I travel there!

We went back to the Enjoy restaurant as Ife had made friends with the owner on her walk back from her Scuba dive. He told her that we could bring in our own beer so that helped us make a decision pretty quickly as you can buy a bottle of Belikin or Landshark from the grocery store for $1.50 us each, compared to the $3-4 at a restaurant or bar. We decided the share the seafood feast deal, which got us a rum punch each, a set of sides per person and then 3 different types of grilled seafood to share for $27 USD total (for two of us – so $14 each)! We went with the lobster again, the snapper and shrimp skewers. It was so tasty and a great last meal on the island for me.

After dinner Ife and I went to the bar near our hostel to watch the Garifuna drummers perform which is a typical type of drumming that Belize is known for. It was fun to watch and the whole bar enjoyed it.

The next morning I left Caye Caulker at 8am on the water taxi for the big journey ahead of me. I knew it would be a long day to get to the beach town of Placencia in south Belize but I didn’t anticipate how long and HOT it would be! I also spent the night suffering from a full body sunburn (I got too confident at Koko king beach) so it was an unfun time lugging around my giant backpack.

After arriving at the ferry terminal in Belize city (a ferry system and luggage handling system 100 times more organized and efficient than Thailand’s, I must add) I hopped in a $4 usd taxi to the bus terminal. I had gotten transportation instructions the night before from a man working at my hostel so I knew where I was going but still a bit nervous about knowing exactly what the journey would be like. As I was waiting in the terminal a small kid that must have been 9 years old started talking to me, he was nice but I figured he wanted my money so I just kind of brushed him off and he left me alone to bug some other tourists. Besides the kid and one man who made a comment at me I felt completely left alone in the bus terminal which was a relief!

I waited 45 minutes for the bus that was an express to the city of Belmopan, then turned into a milk run down the Hummingbird Highway. It was a converted American school bus so I gave my giant backpack away and found a spot on the bus. Without moving, it was 40 degrees on there and I was melting (so was everyone else). Before the bus left the station, about 10 separate people hopped on and off trying to sell everything from empanadas to coconut juice to newspapers to cookies. It was a relief to finally get moving as the open windows on the moving bus acted as an air conditioner of sorts and was a major sigh of relief from the sauna we had been sitting in. The conductor came around to collect our money and the bus cost me a total of $19 bze, so $9.50 usd.

The next four hours was a drive, and drive we did. The driver RIPPED down the highway and slammed on the breaks every time a dog or person or iguana needed to cross the road. The iguana I saw was the size of a small dog! I was scared at first but looking around at the locals who didn’t seemed to mind told me I had nothing to worry about. Speaking of locals, I was the ONLY foreigner on the bus the entire journey. It made for an “off the beaten” path feeling for me for sure. It was cool to see all the little local areas we stopped in and marvel at the changing scenery. After finally arriving in the town of Independence, I jumped in a taxi to get to the “Hokey Pokey water taxi” station. The driver was super nice and I shared the cab with a local who I chatted with as we made the short drive. This guy lives 10 minutes away from Placencia but has never made it there yet! He said he was too busy working. My taxi was only $2.50 usd (I’m including all the prices in case anyone who stumbles upon this post is looking for this type of information)!

At the water taxi station I waited 45 minutes then got on an old speed boat to take me to Placencia. This taxi cost $5 usd and took about 15 mins. I found my hostel pretty quickly after arriving in Placencia and after the day I had, it felt like coming home. The owner, Pandora, is a delightful American woman who has lived in Belize for 15 years. The hostel is the bottom level of her house and only a ten bed dorm! Last night was a quiet night at the hostel with only me and Robert, a super nice older American guy, booked in.

I wandered around the town to get a lay of the land, then went down to a bar on the beach for food and drinks with Robert, Pandora, and Pandora’s friend, Dylan (a local)! It was cool to hear from Dylan and Pandora about what living in Placencia is like! It was really neat to walk down the street with them to see that they literally know everyone in this town, and that everyone was so friendly and nice!

The bar was a busy place for low season! On Tuesday nights, all of the rum drinks are $3bze (1.50 usd), so that may have been part of the reason the bar was so busy. We had a great time and our group made friends with a Navy Seal who was sitting alone at the bar!

We also got chatting to a nice guy named William who likes to be called the Plastic Man. He makes bracelets out of plastic bags he finds around town and washed up from the ocean (you can check him out on YouTube if you search his name, plastic man and Placencia). His process and story was pretty neat so I ended up buying a bracelet. It’s fun to buy mementos that truly have a story.

Though my journey to Placencia and arrival were a bit strange to start off, and I can now say I have stayed in a hostel where only one other person is staying, last night was one of the best nights I’ve had in all my travels. The mix of locals and other travellers, the great vibes in the bar, and the general friendliness of the people made for a terrific start to my stay here.

After having the best sleep I’ve had so far on this trip (due to 2 fans pointing in my direction all night) I woke up today with the intention to recharge, and that I did. I had an iced coffee and Honduras donut at Above Grounds Coffee and enjoyed the view and the fan keeping me from the heat, then wandered around to book my tour for tomorrow and look at all the adorably painted buildings.

My sunburn still hasn’t fully healed so I stayed in the shade while relaxing with my book and podcasts to catch up on. I spent some time under a palm umbrella near my hostel then made my way over to the other side of the peninsula for a swim in the clearer water.

I went for a post- swim smoothie at the Shak which is apparently a must-visit restaurant in Placencia. I’ve just gotten back to my hostel to see 4 new people checked in! It looks like it won’t just be me and Robert tonight but should still be an adventure!

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