Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ambergris Caye (Part 2)

Wednesday was our 27TH ANNIVERSARY and was a wonderful day!  We both had early morning appointments so we left the cabana by 8:15.  Rick had scheduled a 2 tank dive so we drove to Ramon's Village where he was going to leave from.  We parked the golf cart and after seeing him off I walked down the beach for my spa package:)  I had a 90 minute aromatherapy massage plus a facial.  I was in a small hut at the end of a boat dock with just the sound of the water and relaxing music playing in my ears.

Rick was not scheduled back until 1:00 so after my spa experience I stopped at a little lunch stand to get a bite to eat then went back to Ramon's and read until he got back.  I do have to admit every time he goes diving I say a lot of prayers that he will come back safe to me.  I have just heard to many horror stories of diving accidents.  He had a wonderful time, as usual.  He loves the undersea world!!
He was hungry when he got back so he ordered "the best" ceviche he's ever had! (So says he:)

 Afterwards we drove South of San Pedro to see what it was like.  We stopped at yet another fruit stand to see what they had:)

When we arrived back to our cabana these were waiting for me on our bed:-)  Rick is so good to me!!

After relaxing for a few hours we drove back into San Pedro for dinner at Pinepple's Restaurant at Ramon's Resort.

We ordered some delicious coconut shrimp to start out with and then Rick ordered the Steak and Lobster while I had.....

a shrimp fried rice pineapple boat!  We were both very happy with our meals but the best part of it was....

the dessert!!  This was the best Key Lime Pie I have ever had!!  Rick had chocolate cake and ice cream but there was NO comparison!!  What a wonderful Anniversary day we had!!  I LOVE this guy more than ever and am so blessed to be his wife.  We have an amazing marriage and truly enjoy life together!

The next day was Thursday which brought more rain.  We took advantage of being indoors and made this scrumptious breakfast.  Fresh tortillas from the tortillaria and freshly made pico by yours truly. Rick made us fresh fruit smoothies.  Oh man!  This was a great breakfast!

 We were grateful that it cleared up in the afternoon because we had an excursion planned to go to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and to Shark and Ray Alley.  We caught the boat at Cocotal's dock and we rode for about 20 minutes to get to Hol Chan.  Our guide was Henry, a local on the island, we snorkeled with him for about 45 minutes in this beautiful area.  Lots of tube and fan coral, conch,  and fish galore!  Oh yeah,  we saw a spotted eagle ray in the distance as well.  Beautiful colors on the reef.

After Hol Chan we rode another few minutes to get to Shark and Ray Alley.  It is an area where the locals feed chum to the nurse sharks and rays.  There are plenty in the area and the sound of the boat motor gets them over to the boat.  Henry immediately started feeding them while Rick jumped into the water on the other side of the boat.  He made his way around to where the sharks were and just watched.

 I wasn't sure I wanted to get in the water with all those sharks around so I stayed on the boat and hung out with this guy.  I love pelicans!  They are super cool!  Especially when they dive into the ocean for dinner:)  I did eventually get into the water but I stayed on the OPPOSITE side of the boat. That was close enough for me!

After our excursion we drove into town and ate at Waruguma restaurant.  Rick had the lobster burrito and I had fajitas!

 After dinner we went over to the market.  There wasn't a whole lot going on over there but I did buy me a heart shaped bowl made out of Belize's National wood, Mahogany.  This nice looking fellow made it himself.  I also bought a dip tray and spoon made out of conch shell.  I'm excited to use it!

Friday was our last full day on the island.  We got up early and caught the water taxi over to Caye Caulker, about a 30 minute boat ride.  Cay Caulker is like a primitive Ambergris Caye.  It is very laid back and only has dirt roads.  There are golf carts here but not as many for sure.  

We stopped and had lunch by the water....

 ....and bought a few table runners from this nice lady.  Here's Rick bartering with her trying to get the best deal:)

Rick had a barracuda steak.......That does NOT look good to me:(

 Af course, when a place offers you free samples of mini donuts you come out with a whole dozen of them.

Street cooking .......shoulda eaten here!

Back in Ambergris I had to get an ice cream from the food truck!

Our last night we went back to Pineapple's to cook our meat on a stone.  The waiters bring out a stone  at a temperature of 600 degrees and you cook your own meat and vegetables.  It sounded fun so we had to try it.  It was a fun experience but we would not do it again.  Too pricey and not as good as it should have been.  Must have been the chefs!

The next morning we got up early to pack and caught the ferry back to the mainland to catch our plane!  Our Belize vacation will always bring fond memories.  We had such a great time!!

Ambergris Caye (Part 1)

After our three days in Belize City we caught a ferry over to Ambergris Caye which is a Belizean island off the mainland.  We stayed in the Cocotal Inn and Cabanas.  Our one bedroom cabana was so nice.  It was just built and we were the ones to break it in!  They were doing last minute touches even as we were arriving.  This was our little home for a week:)  It was just steps from the water and Cocotal was just a beautiful little place.  I loved driving into it each night.  The foliage was beautiful and the workers there were just splendid!

The front of our cabana looking out to the Carribean Sea.

Our beautiful view.

 Our living area and full kitchen.

Our bedroom

 On arrival they offered us rum punch...we told them we didn't drink alcohol so they just gave us punch.  Unfortunately, it was really strong and I couldn't drink it.  Rick drank most of his though:)

We rented a golf cart to get us around the island for the week.  There are a few vehicles on the island but mostly golf carts buzzing around.  Rick had lots of fun driving around dodging potholes and speed bumps!

 After getting settled into our rooms we drove over to the 'food trucks' and walked out to the lagoon to watch the sunset.  We thought we might get some grub there but decided on the place next door.

 Stella's was a really fun place to have our first dinner on the island.  Our table was out on the sand and we had a nice view of the lagoon.  At Stella's they have a different chef from around the island come in each night to serve their specialty.  This was pizza night and it sure was delicious!  We also ordered an appetizer that was really yummy....a papaya black bean dip with chips.  I'm not a huge fan of papaya but this was great!  I'm going to try do duplicate it at home.

 The next day was Sunday and church was bright and early at 9:00.  We got there just as it was starting.  The branch there is pretty small with only about 30 people but they were very friendly.  The island has three sets of missionaries.  Two elder and one sister companionships.  We saw them on their bikes a couple of times around the island throughout the week.

 After church we made up some sandwiches for lunch and had a nice Sunday nap.  Later we took a walk along the beach......actually, there's not much of a "beach" anywhere on the island just a little bit of sand and dirt leading up to the murky water.  The nice water and the reef is about 1/3 of a mile off the coast.  More of that later......

 We ended our Sunday with a Conference talk and some games and the movie "The Other Side of Heaven".

The next day (Monday) we drove a couple miles towards town and stopped at Ak Bol, a restaurant next to the water.  Rick ordered a papaya juice and we both had a belizean breakfast which included eggs, ham and fry jacks (aka scones)  We also shared some coconut french toast!  It was delicious!  The bees loved it too.  There were about 10 bees hovering our plate.

 During the day we drove around San Pedro..... the only town on the island.  It is quite small but it was really fun just driving around looking at all of the people doing what they do.  There were a lot of fun smells with people cooking in their restaurants.  There are a lot of little shops and cafes in the town.  We stopped at a bakery for some pastries and then at a fruit stand to get ingredients to make fresh fruit smoothies.  Rick made smoothies three times there in our cabana.  Holy Cow!  They are so delish with all that fresh fruit!!  We also bought veggies to make our own pico de gallo!

In the afternoon we got a kayak (courtesy of Cocotal) and launched it from their boat dock.  As I said before, the water close to the land is murky and there is a lot of sea grass.  We hopped in our kayak....and I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous....and rowed about a third of a mile to the coral reef.  The reef that runs from Mexico down to Honduras is the second largest reef in the world second only to the great barrier reef in Australia.  We had to row through the boat lane which constantly has boats jetting through it.  That wasn't my biggest concern though,  I just didn't want to tip over!!  After just a little ways the water was a glorious blue green.  We could see the sand on the bottom and it was soo beautiful!  We got to the reef safely and moored up to the bouy and hopped in the water.  It was only about four feet deep which was nice.  We got our fins and masks on and away we went!  It was really incredible!  The reef and life out there was magnificent!  Lots and lots of fish but the funnest thing we (Rick) found was an octopus.  He was hiding under a rock and if you got close to him he turned an opaque white color.  It is so cool to see the sea life turn different colors right in front of your eyes.  Rick was in heaven:-)  We stayed out about an hour and then rowed back.

That night we drove out to Secret Beach which from the looks of it online was supposed to be this fabulous beach.  Well......not so much.  First of all,  it was completely in the middle of nowhere on a dirt path filled with HUGE potholes.  I really thought we would never get to the beach.  It is located North of Cocotal and on the Lagoon side.  Without going into it let's just say that the ride was NOT worth the beach.  The sunset was pretty awesome though!

 Rick made friends with Cocotal's resident dog, Mara.  He liked giving her treats and she would camp outside our back door waiting for more:)

Tuesday it rained ALL DAY!!  I enjoyed laying around our room reading a book.  Rick left for a little while and went into town.  He gets stir crazy really easy.  He came back in the afternoon and we walked next door to White Sands for a little lunch.  Here he is enjoying his ceviche.  He loves that stuff!  He had it three times that week!

Lots of rain!!

 That night I was ready to get out of the cabana so we put on our ponchos and headed into San Pedro. We did a little window shopping and then drove down back street.  There are three main roads running parallel to each other in San Pedro.  Front street is nearest the ocean, middle street is of course in the middle and back strew is close to the lagoon.  I came to LOVE back street, especially at night.  The street is not that long but it was just fun driving slow passing the tortillarias and little cafe shops that the people run.  Lots of times people had their front doors open so I could see inside their homes.  There were locals milling about and I just fell in love with back street.  From then on every night after dinner before heading back to Cocotal we took a drive down that wonderful street.