Last year, I started a new tradition of creating a “snapshot” post from our travels with a handful of superlatives and anecdotes to sum up our bigger trips. It’s a fun way to me to reflect back on specific moments, so to continue that tradition here is my Belize snapshot!
On the last day while snorkeling at Mexico Rocks, a super sweet loggerhead turtle played with us in the water for a good ten minutes or so. Every time he came right up to my face or pushed off of me with his flippers, I dissolved into giggles through my snorkel. As someone who has associated the ocean with nightmarish things for so long, it was an awesome feeling to find such joy and positive associations in the water.
Also? (I’m obviously not good at sticking to only one superlative!) Conquering my fear of scuba diving was pretty awesome. I’m so glad I didn’t chicken out even though I came close. I would have really regretted not going through with it, and it actually turned out to be a lot of fun. It doesn’t look like I’m enjoying myself in this photo (or that I’m even alive), but I am.
The second runner-up for worst moment was when our taxi cab didn’t show up on Day 1 to take us to IAD for our departure flight. We had to jump in my car and drive to the airport (thankfully only 15 minutes away), find parking, catch the shuttle, and get to the terminal.
Oddly enough, the actual worst moment was also flight-related when we were leaving Belize City. We arrived at BZE an hour late thanks to Tropic Air running an hour behind schedule from San Pedro, we were told that our flight had closed, and there were no other flights out that day. I’m usually pretty chill about travel snafus, but this one caused a minor breakdown in the form of tears. At that point I was itchy from bug bites and sore from too much sun and I just longed for a trip to CVS in the States. Thankfully they were able to expedite us through security and customs and we did get on our plane, but it was a stressful moment.
And speaking of bug bites, candidates for the Worst Moment category continued once we were back home. Mid-way through the week on Ambergris Caye, I accumulated a couple of angry-looking bites on my hand after I slacked off with my bug spray regimen. They continued to stay red and painful two weeks later, so I decided they required a trip to the dermatologist. He did a cryotherapy treatment on the site, and I’m in healing mode now. There are some crazy creepy bugs in Central America, so I highly recommend that you pack and diligently use bug spray, people! But just so we’re clear, despite the flight troubles and the ugly red marks on my fingers that still linger as I write this post, I have incredibly fond memories of this trip.
I know I said I was going to get better about taking pictures of my favorite meals, but I failed again. The problem is that I’m not generally one to take a photo of every meal, but then I eat it and I’m like…wow! That was my favorite meal! And all that’s left to photograph is my sad empty plate. Or the paper wrapper and crumbs from my breakfast at Ruby’s Cafe, for example.
I did take a photo of my second favorite meal though. Our dinner at Temple Run Tavern one evening closely followed the two meals I would consider my favorites: an oven-baked snapper at Portofino (resort pictured on the left below) and a wonderfully fresh meal cooked at home by Ernesto’s wife, Samantha, after a day of fishing.
Something We Learned
We learned a lot on this trip: Belize culture, Maya history, how to scuba dive, and the fact that iguanas like tomatoes but not limes.
We’re Thankful We Packed
Chris and I both bought new fins since the (cheap) ones we were using on previous trips hurt our feet after snorkeling for a while in them. Before we left for Belize, we hit up our local dive shop for some properly fitted fins and it made a huge difference in comfort especially since we did a few longish swims. We used the fins daily, so it was a good purchase even though they took up a huge amount of space in our luggage. If someone could invent lightweight, foldable, packable fins while keeping the comfort and function of regular fins, they’d make a pretty penny for sure.
Oh and I’m always happy to have my rash guards with me on beach trips. I specifically love the Pacifica UPF line from Athleta.
We Didn’t Need To Bring
We probably could have packed less clothing since most days we lived in our swimsuits. Despite many beach-y trips under our belts, sometimes I forget that the vibe of island-life is always incredibly simple, and I end up overpacking. No one cares if I repeat a t-shirt during the week, or which pair of flip-flops I wear with dresses vs. shorts. At least this time I decided not to pack a dressy pair of sandals in addition to flip-flops. Most places didn’t even require shoes.
I also brought a few GoPro accessories that I didn’t end up using. Before we left for Belize, I had pretty serious ambitions for getting all Spielberg with some creative videography techniques, but I didn’t end up using any of the tools I packed other than the Bobber to hold my GoPro steady (or at least steadier) underwater. I’m pretty pleased with the resulting video even sans gadgets.
I really (really really) wish we had stopped by Caye Caulker. I hear so many wonderful things about how laid-back and colorful it is, and I think we would have enjoyed spending a day there. Our schedule ended up being fairly packed though, and the idea of one more excursion felt too busy to both of us. So we’ll just have to go back!
Reasons To Go Back
See Trip Regrets above! I’d love to see Caye Caulker, and I also didn’t get to eat a fry jack. Chris had one for breakfast on our way to Lamanai, but I chose the smaller portioned johnny cakes so as not to fill my belly too much before two boat trips and a 45-minute van ride. I passed at the opportunity to even try a bite of the fry jack, and then the day we went back into San Pedro to get them again they were all out! Bummer.
Chris and I both love this first one, and then Chris’s other favorite is the spotted eagle ray below. My absolute favorite photo from the trip is the last image of our sweet turtle friend getting chummy with me while Chris is in the background.