Saying goodbye to Rachel and Megan was a bummer but after Guatemala I shot straight up to Belize City to meet up with an oldie but a goodie, Megan Purtell! Megan I were born two days apart so obvi we have been BFFs since the womb. When my mom went back to work Meg’s mom watched my sister Megan and I which was the start of my double Megan life. Purtell and I went to different elementary schools but always stayed close and then were back in school together starting in middle school. So yeah, we go way back. Meg was very on board with visiting me and picked Belize as her meetup spot.
Our first night we stayed a cute little Belize hotel which had a dock in the back and bar next door. We shared a dinner of a dozen Belkin beers and king size bag of Reese’s while wearing matching headbands from Guatemala. Gotta love a reunion!
From our research Belize City didn’t have much to offer so it was kind of a get in – get out sort of mission. There are some fun adventures to take from the city but we didn’t get to it this time. We are hoping to go back and tubing/caving is on our next to do list! We made our way to the speed ferry and headed out for the island first thing the next morning. As we took the boat over we were both in awe of how gorgeous the water is. So blue, so untouched.
When we arrived at the island we set out for a little place Meg had read about online. Shady Lane something or other.. it was $6 a night. My budget was happy happy! Once we arrived we realized why it was so cheap. Our room was in a clapboard style building with 4 rooms and the shared bathroom was an outhouse. There was a flush toilet and the shower had good water pressure so it ended up being ok. When we first saw that we were a little scared but honestly it wasn’t that bad. Our room was crazy hot but I lucked out with the bed under the fan which was nice. We had booked the space for 3 days and we stayed that long without a problem. After the three days we did decided to move though and stayed at a place that cost $45 a night. So expensive! I panicked, Meg talked me down and helped cover some of the extra costs – thanks buddy! This place was again fairly basic but it had AC, tv, a private bathroom and a small porch area. The front of the building faced the water and would have been gorgeous. We ended up in the back so we had a lovely view of a construction site but honestly we spent very little time actually in our room so it didn’t matter.
Belize has lots of little islands off the mainland area known as Cayes. Caye Caulker is infamous for being the backpacker Caye because it’s cheap and super laid back. There are no cars on the island, only golf carts. The island is tiny and you can walk from one end to the other in under a half hour. You can also rent bikes for pretty cheap which is great. There are endless little beach bars, happy hour is from 2-7 and so many opportunities to eat ice cream. We realized it had probably not been on a bike ride together in 15 or so years. Still got it! We toured around the island and had a nice little time. Then we came to a 4 way stop (reminder no cars but other people on bikes) and I panicked and fell off my bike. Hilarious. Everyone around us ran over to help me up. I was totally fine but one side of my body, legit from head to toe was covered in this fine white sand/dust which made very obvious I had fallen over. Tourist on a bike. #zerochill
The main place to hangout is The Split. Sometime maybe the 90s? a hurricane came through and split the island. The main part of the island is where people stay but if you are strong enough swimmer you can swim against the current and get to the other side of the island. The current was actually super strong. You would jump off the dock and have to really swim for about 20-30ft into the water to avoid getting pulled backwards and then the current almost disappeared. There was also a sandbar on the other side of the current which was silky soft and easy to stand on. When you were ready to head back in you just put yourself into the current and it sucked you right back to the dock area. We both love to swim so we spent lots of time in the water.
Early on we met two really nice Canadian girls who became our vacation friends. We would meet up to swim or eat or drink or play cards or eat more ice cream. Forget the alcohol and we were basically living our 10-year-old dream lives. Add the alcohol and were actually living our 29 year dream lives!
The biggest thing we wanted to do was a snorkel trip. We did a bunch of research and heard that Raggamuffin – a Reggae theme sailing company was the best one to go with. I cannot recommend it highly enough – they were AMAZING! We did a whole day sailing trip visiting 3 different locations. Belize has the second largest reef system in the world, second to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Belize’s is much healthier and has more coral and wildlife though so it’s an ideal place to snorkel or dive. When we arrived at the office there were about 25 people and we were told we would be going on two different boats. We made some friends with the people our age but it turned out we were on different boats. Somehow we ended up on the family boat. Eh. Whatever, it was fine we both like kids and that meant more rum punch for us on the way back!
There was one very sweet mother and daughter from the Netherlands. The little girl decided I look like her neighbor from home which was very exciting to her. Her mom didn’t swim but the daughter loved the water and the mom wanted the daughter to experience snorkeling. It was really sweet, the mom was terrified but wanted to support her daughter. Meg and I offered to be her water buddy and she became our little shadow for the day.
We saw so many fish, sharks (of which Megan is terrified), turtles, eels and my personal favorite on this trip a MANATEE! The fish and sharks to the boat came for the chum but everything else was completely natural which was amazing. At one of our stops we got split into two groups to go look for more wildlife. Captain Shane and his First Mate, Jay split the groups. Jay counted us off “You, you and you – you’re in my group. I will call you…. Jay’s group.” Meg and I found that hilarious and still like say #Jay’sGroup whenever possible.
On the way back we just opened the sails and cruised. Jay made a delicious fresh caught ceviche and bought out a 20 gallon (idk, I don’t measurements but it was HUGE) of pre-mixed rum punch. So here’s the thing… Meg and I were among the few drinking the rum punch and the only ones pounding the rum punch. It was sooooo good. Juice! Plus we were thirsty we had been doing a lot of swimming and it was really hot. By the end I think Captain Shane and Jay were a little annoyed by the German family, the Dutch family slept and the older French couple just sat up front. Meg and I provided the entertainment while they provided the punch. The pictures progress and it becomes quite clear the point at which we probably should have been cut off. Except we never were….
That evening involved a bit of time travel on my part. Not to be recommended but I mean.. it’s the Caribbean, you have to embrace that sweet island life! The story goes on but considering the mixed audience reading this blog I have probably already said too much! :) #islandpourswillgetyou
The next day we took it a little easier. Probably didn’t have a drink till dinner, a real show of restraint. The island’s cheapest food is called a fry jack which is basically like deep-fried calzone ideally with eggs, beans, bacon or stewed chicken. Meg and I ate them almost everyday. A big greasy breakfast that could hold you off until your afternoon ice cream followed up a grilled seafood dinner. We made zero attempt but healthy but it was all so good so we didn’t care! Belize, or at least Caye Caulker was cheap. We ate mostly at divey places, stayed for real cheap and as I mentioned made good use of the happy hour specials. We both agreed that even with the flights Caye Caulker was cheaper than Myrtle Beach so put it your mind for future vacations because we loved it!
If all that isn’t enough there is a “drive-in” theater – a backyard with comfy benches and a big screen that they show pirated movies on. We saw a double feature – Jurassic World and some underwhelming rom com. So fun and the first time maybe ever that Megan stayed awake for an entire movie – proud of you.
We had a blast. It was so good to see Meg and it was one of the most “vacation” like parts of my entire year away. We had some good things planned for the future. A blog worthy adventure hopefully coming up in 2017!
I was sad to see her go but next came Mexico which meant my last country and my parents time to visit!