Let me start by thanking my friends Christina and Vince for having a destination wedding and choosing Belize. I've been wanting to get back to Belize for 15 years and they helped get me there!
Emails about this trip had been circulating for 6 months, so when the week came, everyone was ecstatic. Nick, Jamie, CF and myself were in a suite together at Athens Gate Resort on Ambergris Caye. It was a short Tuesday- Saturday trip, but oh so fun with all 28 of us.
Belize has Cayes that follow the coast line and help protect the main land, much like North Carolina has the Outer Banks. These Cayes protect the Belize Barrier Reef. It's the longest reef in the Western Hemisphere, and second largest in world, spreading down over 200 miles of coastal land. There are more than 200 cayes, cays or cayos that fall under the Belizan Islands.
The country is often referred to "Mother nature's best kept secret". It has pristine beaches, hundreds of islands, jungles, waterfalls, caves and Mayan Ruins.
I love fun facts and I love sharing fun facts... so here are some about Belize:
- Birthplace of chewing gum (Aztex women used it as mouth fresheners)
- Only country in C.A. with the official language being English. However Creole & Spanish are both spoken throughout the country.
- Mexico boarders the North, Guatemala to the South and West and the Caribbean Sea to the East.
- Belize is small: 8,800 square miles
- Population is the lowest in Central America at 340,844
- From 1862-1973 Belize was known as British Honduras
- 1981 it became part of the Independent Commonwealth realm retaining Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State
- Only Jaguar reserve in the world
- People of Belize do not swim in the sea or rivers on Good Friday, it's bad luck and apparently you will turn into a fish!
- Belize City was the Capital. In 1961 Hurricane Hattie did a lot of damage to the city so the g'ment moved it to Belmopan- more inland.
Our crew arrive within an hour of one another at the Belize airport: it doesn't take long to snag a cab. It's a pretty drive for the most part ( not as pretty as flying in!) within 30 min we are in historic downtown Belize getting tickets for the water taxi. We have about an hour to kill so we grab some Belikin Beer to go and walk a block to see my old friend, Gilvano Swasey. He and Yasser, another old friend, run and operate a building that houses art exhibits, classes, after school activities, workshops, a travel agency and book shop right on the water. I met them both when I was there in 2000. It was so wonderful to see a local familiar face in a foreign country. We visited about 30 min then we had to catch our water taxi to San Pedro. The water taxi is a local mode of transportation. A lot of tourist opt for the peddle jumper flight over to the Cayes. Not us!
Tuesday night we went to dinner at The Black Orchid with the crew that was in town already. All the menus were pretty much the same, fresh catch of the day, conch, pasta, veggies, rice - all fine by me.
From here drinks are had at the small pool bar and beach back at the resort.
We are on the 8 am water taxi heading to Caye Caulker for a day of snorkel and sailing. Caye Caulker is the complete opposite of Ambergris Caye where San Pedro Town is. Caye Caulker is tiny, no cars, and three streets: front, middle and back. When I last visited Belize we spent a lot time here and knew I wanted to take my peeps here. And old friend took over a snorkel company so we went out with them vs taking a stranger from San Pedro. We had enough time to stop and east breakfast in Caye Caulker before heading to Raggamuffin a couple blocks down the street. Our group opted for the 6 hour (10am- 4pm) tour. For $70 we got; several hours of snorkeling; including reef, sharks and turtle snorkels, lunch, music, rum punch and one of the best days I've had in a very long time. Once they found out we were there for a wedding, they gave us a bottle of vodka!
When we get back, everyone has gone to dinner so the three of us shower up and go trotting around town looking for a place to eat, and we found one, Hidden Treasure was just that! It was beautiful, well priced and empty! The menu was incredible. That was the best meal of the trip for me. We all got different things and shared. Everyone is drinking at the pool bar when we return, so we join in.
Wedding Day is Thursday. We got take out lunch from across the street, helped the bride prep and laid by the Caribbean. The ceremony was at 4pm, right out on the beach. All day the staff was working hard to beautify the space, which seemed like a large task, considering where we were. But they out did themselves. They hung bulb lights, white chairs created a semi circle, palms were trimmed and trimmings used to make a standing space for Tina & Vince. The ceremony lasted about 15 min then we had cocktail hour while the bride and groom walked down the beach for photos. I had the pleasure of partaking in this! While all this was going on, the staff made a enclosed square for dinner, after dinner the DJ started up and dancing began. By 9;30 the bride was tipsy and we had to make her cut the cake, which ended in a cake fight with her new groom!