Our Belize Trip (part two)

 

This will be my last post about our vacation.  I’m still on our third day.  After leaving Placencia, we decided to drive up the coast a bit to Hopkins.  My book said that all the beaches there are public.  The village is a Garifuna village.  It took us awhile to figure out where to park and we weren’t even sure we were right.  But the bar owner explained that the short streets to the coast are for parking.

 

It was a bit cooler here and the water was so warm.  The beach wasn’t as clean as in Placencia (my husband picked up plastic for them).  We had a couple drinks at the bar, swam a bit, and just hung out.  I really liked it.  After leaving, we drove around a bit and stopped at an art shop to buy something unique to bring home.  More about that below.

 

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The bar is hidden behind the trees.  The building next to it were the bathrooms.  We parked over by that yellow building.

 

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My pina coloda was made with fresh pineapple and coconut cream.  Not juices like we get here in the US.  It was so good (I had two).

 

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We found this great little art and jewelry shop.  Only the man was there, but he does amazing wood carvings.  He was working on one when I walked up.  His wife makes jewelry using lion fish fins and other things.  And his daughter did the gourds.

 

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This is the gourd I picked.  It’s very light and hollow.  I might buy an led tealight to put inside so the light shows through the wholes.  The owner said it will change colors a bit over time.  I always want to buy something unique and not typical when I go places and this was perfect.

 

 

Hopkins is a very poor area (most of Belize is).  We drove around a bit and I took some videos from the car just to show what it looked like.  The people were all nice.

 

 

The roads are all dirt (as are many in Belize) and our car was filthy.  But this village was peaceful and authentic.  They are adding tours and a couple small hotels hoping to get some money into the community.  Most of their money comes from fishing there.  In Belize, most of the income outside our tourism is from farming and fishing.

 

The sun was setting as we drove back.  I tried to get some pictures, but they just didn’t turn out well with the car moving.  When we got back to the room, my husband, Jesse, looked up a couple restaurants close by on his phone.   I’m the pickier eater, so I chose one after seeing Caribbean Jerk Chicken Quesadillas on the menu.  Jesse got our food and we ate in the room at the desk.

 

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We checked out on day four which was Good Friday.  So many places were closed and there were no alcohol sales anywhere in the country, including the airport.  It was cloudy that day and we got rained on a bit.  But barely anything.

 

We drove around San Ignacio a bit and since we got to the airport early, we decided to keep driving to the edge of Belize City.  We stopped to take some pictures of the river.  When we crossed a bridge later, we could see that it was getting wider.  A couple minutes later and we could see the coast.  So that was nice.

 

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The airport was the smallest I’ve ever been in.  We had to walk outside and up stairs to the plane.  There was no US customs there (there was in the airport in Aruba), so we had to go through customs in Dallas.

 

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Outside of the airport when we arrived and Jesse was getting our car.  I snapped a quick picture.

 

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This was our terminal.

 

 

Jesse and I didn’t have seats by each other on the way home.  Mine was an aisle seat, but he was across in a window seat.  I saw that he took pictures out the window when we were leaving.

 

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Our layover in Dallas was 2  1/2 hours, but it took forever to get through customs.  By the time we found our terminal, we had fifteen minutes to grab a quick dinner.

 

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I had this super yummy brisket stuff potato.  I’ve never eaten so quickly in my life though.

 

We got back to Chicago late and made it home before 3am on Saturday (the 5th day).  I slept when I could on the plane, but ended up passing out on the drive home, too.

 

 

We loved both Belize and Guatemala and wished we could have stayed longer.  There was so much to see.  I am in no way an expert on anything now, but I did want to give some tips.  Bring bug spray and sunscreen.  It’s hot and humid, so stay hydrated (I recommend getting juices from people on the side of the road).  Snack a bit (I recommend plaintain chips for this.  They sell them everywhere and they’re $1 per bag).  You can use US money in Belize, but not in Guatemala.  If you’re going there, I suggest using a tour and don’t drive yourself.  Don’t carry a lot on you.  Don’t wear a bunch of jewelry or take out stacks of money.  We kept most of our money and one of our credit cards in the hotel to be safe.  Bring a lot of singles.  You have to pay $1 to use public bathrooms and you’ll need to tip people.  Be polite and don’t act bothered by the police stops.  Be prepared to see very large guns.  Don’t walk around alone at night.   Or late at night at all.  Stay on well lit streets if you’re out.  They speak English in Belize but Spanish in Guatemala.  Another reason to use a tour if you’re not fluent.  Know the exchange rates.  Belize was basically 2 to 1, but Guatemala was around 8 to 1.  So our cacoa was marked as $80, but was only $10.   When you exchange going back into Belize, you’ll get a rate that isn’t as good and they’ll give you Belize money.  Save room to bring stuff home.  We stocked up on plantain chips, plus bought small gifts.  I’m sure I’m forgetting some other stuff.  But don’t be super afraid to explore.  We didn’t feel unsafe anywhere we went.  Most crime is theft, but Belize City has higher crime.  There is also a lot of cocaine, but we were never offered any.  One guy did ask if we were hooked up in Seine Bight, but we assumed he meant weed.  Oh, also have your hotel call a car for you if you need one.  And try to book tours through them if you can.

 

 

I’m such a fan of Central American culture.  Luckily Jesse loved it, too, so our goal is to visit every country if possible and maybe one or  two in South America.  I’m already planning our trip for next year!

Have you been anywhere in Central America?  Is there a country you really want to visit?

 

 

 

 

Author: confessionsofayareader

I'm Kristi. I'm a wife, mom, and grandma. I have been breeding leopard geckos for ten years. I love to read and have been trying to review more books (the reason for this blog besides wanting to talk about books with everyone). I also love music and going to concerts, mostly punk and pop punk.

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