Belize is located in northern Central America on the Caribbean, south of Mexico and borders Guatemala to the west and south. It is said to be the home of the second largest barrier reef in the world thus making it a prime vacation destination for anyone who loves scuba diving and snorkeling, neither of which I do. So you ask, why would my husband, Frank and I decide to travel there?
Well, the weather in Houston, Texas in January 2013 was in the 30’s, not a temperature that Frank and I are fond of. Our February wedding anniversary was around the corner and we were looking for a fun place to celebrate; a place we had never been to before and one with warm weather. After a few days of narrowing down our options we agreed we needed to go south. We decided on Belize.
We Googled resorts and hotels and came across Robert’s Grove www.robertsgrove.com, which is located in Placencia, Belize. It looked like our kind of place, very low keyed and warm. The resort offered a four day diving certification class which I found appealing. Maybe it was time I learned to dive. Frank was interested in bicycle riding. They had bicycles for rent . So far so good. There were other activities available to enjoy for example excursions to the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, the Jaguar Reserve, or the Mayan temples. It sounded like a recipe for fun so we called our travel agent, Gail Casson, at Windsor Travel and asked her to schedule our trip.
Our flight to Belize was nightmarish, as I find most commercial flights to be these days. I cannot, for the life of me figure out why air travel has to be so complicated and unpleasant? It hasn’t always been that way … but I digress … let’s save that conversation for another blog … Planes were late and we missed connections. By the time we got through customs in Belize City, which took hours, and got on our flight to Placencia I was too tired to be concerned about the size of the next plane I had to board. It was a propeller plane that looked like a toy, like a very old toy. We climbed aboard on a step ladder; a two step ladder to be exact! No standing up in this plane and definitely no cocktails or restrooms. In fact, the interior was no bigger than my walk in closet. Okay, maybe a little bit bigger. It held eight passengers and the pilot. The cockpit dashboard looked antique, like something you would see in a museum. After we were all settled, the pilot cranked up the engines. They roared and we gained speed for liftoff. Suddenly, I had the funniest feeling, like I was actually going to travel back in time and I could feel my mood changing. The deafening hum of the engine began to relax me.
The view below us was awesome. In this picture, if you look closely you can see our shadow on the ground. The entire experience was exhilarating! I hated to see it end.
We arrived at the Maya Island Airport and there was no one there from Robert’s Grove Inn to pick us up … no fault of the hotel … after all we were running a bit late.
Placencia is not the kind of place you hail a cab. Luckily, two of the eight passengers on our flight were singers performing at the Inn that night. Their driver offered us a ride and we gladly accepted. In two miles or less we were at our final destination, which turned out to be a lovely place with a relaxed atmosphere, casual attire, good food, nice rooms and friendly staff members. And the view from our room was particularly spectacular.
Rather than spend our whole trip in Placencia learning to scuba dive we decided to save that adventure for another trip. Instead, we checked out a couple of bicycles and headed towards Placencia Village.
We pedaled five miles to the village which was small and unassuming. There were just enough shops, restaurants and bars to fulfill anyone’s needs – not commercial at all or touristy. The simple quality of life was refreshing.
We meandered about and then stopped at the edge of town for a beer. It was there we met a lady knitting socks. Brenda, a local food vender selling jerk chicken by the docks introduced her to us. The Knitter said she lived on her sailboat.
She created sock patterns for knitters which she sold online. That was her livelihood and she donated the knitted socks to an orphanage in Uzbekistan. Hers was an interesting story. We chatted for a spell and then continued on with our exploration. We discovered the Tipsy Tuna Seaside & Sports Bar and settled there for another beer, lunch, and a great view. We contemplated the simplicity of village life, contrasting it to our own fast paced city life. It was something we would ponder throughout the duration of our trip.
Coming up next … the Mayan Ruins.