Belize Travel Notes
Placencia and Laughing Bird Caye
Belizean Jump up breakfast (eggs, beans, rice, flautas and Marie Sharps XXXX hot sauce); coconut fish stew with fried plantain.
Belize dollar (2:1 $USD)
Laughing Bird Caye day trip was the best money spent. If I returned I would spend more time in the Cayes; the Cayo region was also very diverse with many forest, river, ruins and mountain activities.
Northern Belize was a mixture of lowland brush, farms and small villages. Most of the signs were in both Spanish and English and most of the people spoke Spanish. Taking the second class bus was enjoyable and a great way to see the country (Make sure all the windows are open). These buses stop for all people, animals, etc and provide a different perspective of the country. Given all the bad press and comments from Belizeans themselves about Belize City, we decided to continue through the City and at 7:30pm descended upon the remote village of Gales Point Manatee, Belize. Gales Point is a small village situated on a long spit (in some places the spit was only 25 yards wide) in a vast lagoon. If you desire to see manatees up close or enjoy fishing for snook or tarpon in season, consider this town. However, this is the bush and there are no hotels or multiple restaurants to choose from.
We decided to make the long trek to south Belize and the town of Placencia after several recommendations. Our bus ride took us through the coastal plain area, which consisted of vast citrus and banana plantation, while tropical forest covered rolling hills and distant mountains dominated our western view. I now understand why everyone raves about the outdoor activities in Belize. Placencia is reported to have the best beach in Belize and cheap accommodations and access to many natural activities. Placencia did not disappoint. Placencia is a spit of land with the Caribbean sea adjacent to the east and the lagoon on the west side. Main Street is a four foot wide strip of concrete going down the middle of town. On each side of the "strip" are guest houses, restaurants, services and tour guides. This place is really a much laid back, small beach town for people how love to hang out on the beach and enjoy the water. About a 45 minute boat ride from shore are the southern cayes famous for diving and snorkeling. We took an all day tour to Laughing Bird Caye and I will let our pictures do the talking.
After Placencia, we journeyed west to the Cayo region. San Ignacio is the hub of this region and has an adventurous frontier feeling. Many expatriates live and work in this area, which is situated in the Pine Ridge mountains, a vast area with a Karst landscape and caverns to explore, numerous rivers flowing through tropical forests and the continuation of the ancient Mayan infrastructure. There are numerous tour operators ready to take you to remote ruins, caverns, walking tours and river floats. We stayed outside of San Ignacio at a place called TrekStop. TrekStop is an eco-lodge operated by John, who has a PhD in Botany and is very knowledgeable about the local flora, fauna and Mayan artifacts, and his wife. Our kids had a great time and did not want to leave. This area is difficult to stay in on a budget, because all of the major sites require a guide to visit and have steep entrance fees. However, if visiting Belize for 2-3 weeks I would defiantly want to fit this region into the itinerary.