From Guatemala’s waterfalls, limestone bridges and caves at Semuc Champay and the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum, we headed straight to Caye Caulker (one of Belize’s many islands amid the second largest reef in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef). A completely unplanned stop but I’m really glad we ended up there for a few days.
We were travelling with a couple of American friends who managed to score an old beachfront shack (cabana) and we all promptly invested in 7 large lobsters straight off the neighbour’s boat (for USD25 – oh so happy). We had no idea that our timing was perfect for the Belize Lobster Festival… pure luck!! We spent the next couple of days experimenting with different ways of flavouring, cooking and devouring lobster, snorkelling trips out to the reef and enjoying the Caribbean-style night life (reggae grooving til the wee hours!)
Thunderstorms are another particularly dramatic feature of Belize at this time of year – one minute it can be stinking hot and sunny and then it is rapidly followed by an hour of pouring rain. When you combine pouring rain, hot temperatures that make raincoats (and even sunscreen) unbearable and the tropical wood / thatch style of construction on most buildings, you quickly realize that there is no escaping the weather! It rains just as much inside as it does on the outside. And whether due to rain or pleasure activities (swimming, sailing, snorkelling etc), whatever you wear gets wet… you just gotta get over it.
Belize is such a small country but there is plenty to explore and it has a fascinating mix of cultures: several different groups of indigenous peoples, the Spanish colonial history, African Caribbean / Creole influence, waves of Asian immigration and a range of other visitors that have chosen to settle into / ‘got stuck in’ the laid back lifestyle on offer. Rasta-influenced pick-up lines and friendly compliments seem to be a normal part of walking down the street here Hey, its always nice to be told you’re looking very beautiful today… “sweet honey pie”
Both Ella and I also got told to ‘slow down’ numerous times! As I write this, a week later, I think we’ve finally mastered the slow stroll!!! Hmmm, perhaps that crazy little thing called relaxation is happening.