Our Beachfront Home

Our Beachfront Home
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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Adventures in Placencia, August 2008

Everyone has been asking me when I am going to update the blog. So we decided it was time to go on a road run, this time to Placencia. We packed a computer bag with laptop and a couple changes of clothes, charged the battery for the camera and hit the high seas. This means that we got up at five o'clock, had smoothies for breakfast, caught the first water taxi of the day and headed from Caye Caulker to Belize City.

We were at the bus depot early and imagine our surprise when this bus rolled in. We took a second look when we noticed the destination of Bellingham. I checked, there is no Bellingham, Belize. This cushy bus was not going to Placencia, so we waited for the 'chicken bus'. When I mentioned to my sister that we took the chicken bus, she had a vision of crates of chickens tied to the roof. This is not the case, as most of them are just older style school bus types rather than the air conditioned beauty you see above.

This is what we call a 'chicken bus'. Please don't confuse us with Mexico.

To get to Placencia from Belize City by bus, you need to travel from Belize City to Belmopan on the Western Highway, Belmopan to Dangriga on the Hummingbird Highway, and Dangriga to Placencia on the Southern Highway. Total travel time is anywhere from four to five hours, depending on how many stops there are to pick up and drop off passengers along the highway and how long the stop in each city or town is. The highway from Belmopan to Dangriga is one of the most picturesque roads in Belize. Some typical scenes along the way are:

House along the roadside.

Another house on the roadside.

No need to walk on the highway here in the village of Armenia.

Keep our country clean.

Bus stop number one.

Bus stop number two.


At any given time you will find a bus full of mothers and children. The children of Belize are beautiful as you can see by the pictures I took on this bus ride.

This young man was not threatening me, he was actually posing for me, as was his sister.

Posing for me
In this photo she was looking away, and I got her by surprise. You have to love those eyes.

When we went to Dangriga in June, we noticed the scent of the orange blossoms all the way. The orange blossoms are done now, but we did see lots of oranges on the trees, mostly green but starting to ripen. Lots and lots of orange groves along the highway.

Once we left Dangriga and got past Hopkins, we were once again in new territory. We had been worried about the Kendal Bridge, but it was fine, no problems at all. It seemed strange though to drive along the road, see the bridge gone and around the corner, see the land bridge. It makes you appreciate mother nature and her power.

After Kendal Bridge, the drive was groves of oranges, grapefruit and limes. We passed by banana plantations and then more orange groves. It was truly awesome. I did take some pictures, but they didn't turn out well enough to post. We are going back on September 1st, so I will try to take some better pictures then.

We got off the bus at the Maya Beach Hotel, owned by John and Ellen Lee. We would recommend this hotel to anyone, especially if you have any special needs, including dietary. All the staff were excellent, friendly and attentive to our needs. http://www.mayabeachhotel.com/

Once we were settled in, we went for a walk down the beach and found our new home.

Here you can see Bob getting a feel for our beach chairs, looks like a good fit to me.

This is the view from our beach towards False Caye.

For a quick lunch we headed to the Frisky Frog Fast Food Fix which is across the street from Mango (closed). We had nachos for a quick lunch. We walked along the beach and back to the Maya Hotel, then sat on the swing out on the pier. It was very, very relaxing, perfect.

For dinner, we headed north and found the BellaMaya Resort and Residences http://bellamayaresort.com/. We went to the security gate and asked if they had a restaurant. The very pleasant security guard pointed us in the right direction, across the street, around the buildings, past the pool and swim up bar to the beach bar and grill. The food was very good and we would recommend this place to eat. Everyone was very nice even though we weren't staying there. While we were there a family came in on a HobieCat, pulled up on the beach in front of us and headed to the pool. After dinner, we raced back to the hotel as we were being consumed by mosquitos.

The next morning, after breakfast, we borrowed a couple of bicycles from the hotel and pedalled into Placencia Village. Just a short ten miles. Don't try this at home kids. If you do decide to cycle from Maya Beach to Placencia Village, make sure you take lots and lots of water. It was a very hot day, but we did it. We walked along the boardwalk all the way to the end. We had lunch at Shak's and sat looking at the water.

View from Shak's Restaurant

Another view from Shak's.

After lunch, we walked around the village and found TuttiFruitti Icecream shop. It was everything we had been told it would be. Outside, around the back there is a pond and in it are at least two crocodiles, more turtles than we could count and lots of fish. It was pretty cool.

Crocodile and turtle sunning together.

This crocodile was just hanging.

We were surprised that the turtles and crocodiles were so friendly towards each other.
The two crocodiles, sunning and hanging.

We continued our wanderings and checked out the village markets and shops along the main road. We hailed a taxi and had the driver put our bikes in the back, it was a one way bike ride.

We had dinner at the hotel and sat out on the deck and just enjoyed the view, the food and the ambiance. Early to bed as we were leaving the next morning.

There are only three buses out of Placencia each day, 5:30 a.m., 6:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. We chose the 6:00 a.m. It came along shortly after 6 and picked us up outside the hotel. We were in Dangriga before 7:30. This is where the ride got interesting. If you have ever been on a bus in Belize, you know that the roads are windy, twisty and turning. Not a good place for a young woman who has morning sickness. Not a good place for me to be in the way. Things happen. After a few stops and starts, we did make it to Belmopan where the young lady had had enough and got off the bus.

Travelling by bus in Belize gives you a chance to be with Belizeans and get to know them. The buses get full and people share. Our bus was no different. Bob gave his seat to a woman with two small children. The girl, who was one year old, did not want to sit with me and made strange, so I took her brother, who was two years old, on my lap instead. He was a very quiet little boy who never said a word, but he did look very sorry when he wet himself on my lap.

That family got off in Hattieville, and a man sat down beside me. The woman sitting in front of us also had two children. I indicated to her that her young daughter (three or four years old) could sit with us, but the daughter did not want to. Next thing I know, I am catching a baby almost tossed over the seat into my arms. This is a little one, maybe eight or nine months and she wanted to play. She was at the stage where she was just learning to stand. We had lots of fun, jumping, looking out the window and then, she just snuggled into my neck and fell asleep. She stayed there until we got off the bus in Belize City.

We took a taxi from the bus depot to the water taxi and we were back on Caye Caulker before 1:00 p.m. It was a long three days.