Category Archives: Ambergris Caye

2016 At a Glance!

We have decided that our precious vacation time is best spent during the winter and have therefore devised a plan to get away on some short hops only throughout the year in 2016. Johnny is heading to Iceland on April 21st for 7 days with his Mom.  I’m heading to Halifax, Nova Scotia and Saint John, New Brunswick for 4 days on April 22nd.

We have four (4) three (3) day camping trips booked throughout the summer and plans to attend our local Jazzfest and Bluesfest and hike as often as we can.  We are incredibly lucky to live in a city that is totally surrounded by terrain and trails of all kind.  I’m really looking forward to getting started!   We just need the ‘winter’ feel to go away.  Here it is April 6th and we are expecting 15 cm of snow *sigh* (yes, I deep sigh a LOT in the winter 🙂 !

Beyond August, we don’t really have any plans and at that time we will turn our attention to our Winter 2017 Central American adventure.  As it stands right now, our plan is to fly to Belize City, Belize stay in a pre-arranged hotel the first night and then simply ‘strike off’ in hopes of finding places to lay our head each night.  We are hoping for a three week trip that comprises south coast Belize, a couple of stops in Guatemala (most notably Lake Atitlan) and then off to the Bay Islands in Honduras.

I will let you know how Johnny did in Iceland and the girls and I survived the East Coast of Canada in a few weeks!

 

 

Mexico/Belize 2016 – Day 18 of 18

March 8th, 2016

Depart Playa Arena Villas on foot for Ferry Dock

Ferry to Cancun

Taxi or Bus to Airport

Airport Home to Ottawa.

*sigh*….we’re home…..it’s actually now March 10th…..

It was crazy windy our last night at Playa Arena in Isla Mujeres….as you know we sleep with the windows open and you could hear the palm leaves rustling all night and the waves a crashin’ 🙂  All rather romantic really – however what wasn’t so romantic was whatever was on the roof unattached and thudding 🙂  Oh well …. it was still paradise and still our last night….take what you need and leave the rest, huh? 🙂  OK!  Up…organize, pack, dispose…..head off for breakfast and of course immediately starts to rain!  We had breakfast down the street from the hotel and it started pouring once we got there.  By the time we were done breakie it had tapered (a little) and we headed back to the hotel for final room once over, brush our teeth and then head to the ferry.  As we were walking along the rain came down even harder and we huddled under an awning until it subsided a little then dashed off to the ferry terminal.  Quick ferry to Cancun, taxi’s waiting….and then the crazy crazy fast fast taxi driver (one of our scarier taxi trips) blasted us toward the airport.  After about 30 harrowing minutes we arrived, checked in effortlessly (no bag checks, just carry on)……went and had lunch at TGIF…..great sever named Antonio who was very helpful in assisting me with my Spanish (even bringing me slips of paper with translations for common phrases)……..munching away on a big ‘ole juicy burger, drinking this amazing gin cocktail with lemon & cucumber…..and in walks a colleague – Candy K from my office….bizarre…….she and her husband sat at next table and we chatted back & forth.  Johnny & I then headed off to wander a bit before the flight which was scheduled to leave early….wandering through the duty free and I run into an old colleague Heather A – I hadn’t seen her in a few years…so it was quite funny.  She had been in Tulum.  OK….plane boards early early, Johnny and I are in front row…. I had booked my seats eons ago but even then couldn’t get side by side…so we were across from each other on the aisle….coincidentally, Heather A actually had the seat beside me….sooo she kindly let Johnny & I use it and she sat in the other seat….strange but true….that the person seated beside me would be someone I knew.  So, here I am on a plane with 3 people I know….then, on walks another familiar face – Eve E from Kanata……oh boy…..and we took off and were told that not only was the flight leaving early, it was flying faster….original scheduled flight arrival in Ottawa 7:40 – our actual arrival time was 7:06 pm…..no checked luggage……first off plane being in row 1 – we were in fact home by 7:40……how is that for awesome!!!

OK…this is the debriefing of our 18 days.  We had a wonderful time and each of our destinations – Puerto, Morelos,. Mexico; Tulum, Mexico, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize; Caye Caulker, Belize and Isla Mujeres, Mexico had something different and special to offer.  One of the reasons we did this trip in this manner was to visit some places we were interested in to see if any of them might be a ‘fit’ for longer visits as we grow older.

Puerto Morelos, Mexico – Total population around 9,000 – most of whom live on the other side of the highway I think.  We stayed on the ocean side.  Great little spot, a few stores, some nice restaurants, a great beach (on one side, not the other)…..I could see myself spending time there because it is only 30 minutes from Cancun – easy access to groceries, malls & whatever you need.  Cancun is huge.  Also, lots of things to do should you have visitors.

Tulum, Mexico – Population around 18,000 – most are in the town which is not on the water.  About a 10 minute cab/car ride to the beach/hotel zone.  So, Tulum beach is beautiful, almost perfect.  Lots of wonderful hotels of all kinds.  Tulum town also has everything you want and need.  For us though….we want the town and the beach to be closer together.  Nearest big cities are Playa del Carmen or Chetumal where you can buy the big stuff are still a ways away.  So…Tulum, a great place to visit for an awesome vacation with lots of things to do, but for us, not a ‘spend more than a week’ type of place.

San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize –  San Pedro town’s population around 13,000 – long thinnish town.  Honestly, we enjoyed our time there and exploring different ends of the Island, however San Pedro is very busy.  It has amenities, but not as many as I would like.  You could probably go into Belize City for bigger/more diverse shopping needs.  Not quite as easy being an Island.  Swimming/beaches not good here.  Diving/snorkeling via boats to the roof and the Blue Hole great.  So, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize…a great place to visit, would recommend it, but for us and a longer term venture, not on the list.

Caye Caulker, Belize – Population around 1,300.  Small – friendly – easily walkable.  Not great beaches but a couple of nice swimming spots (one of which is The Split).  Would we visit again – yes…could we imagine wintering there – no, I don’t think so…again, it’s all down to amenities, fresh fruit/vegetables, having to get to mainland Belize or Mexico to do real shopping.  Would we stay for one, two, three or four weeks – yes, I think so…has a really nice vibe.  Would be an awesome place to relax.

Isla Mujeres, Mexico – Population around 12,500.  Very safe & walkable Island 15 minutes by ferry from Cancun.  Nice Beaches.  A great store that sells everything you need (kind of Walmart style) yet close to Cancun for anything you can’t get.  Awesome beaches.  The downtown is definitely touristy which is great when you have visitors.   We liked Isla Mujeres, Mexico and could certainly imagine spending longer periods of time there.  Great off season rates and good airport access to Cancun.

So….we found a couple of places we would enjoy going back to – Caye Caulker & Isla Mujeres.  As always, we start to plan our next trip while still on vacation.  We’re thinking next year it will be Fly to Belize City, going on the south coast of Belize – Dangriga, Hopkins Village, Placencia, then a side trip to Livingston, Guetemala and if possible Lake Atitlan area – ending in the Bay Islands of Honduras.  Only time will tell……..If you are reading this – thanks for sticking with me throughout our 18 days.  It’s now time for us to work off those holidays pounds and start our hiking blogging as the weather here in Ottawa grows warmer!  Adios for now Amigas!! – Johnny & Melva

PS…..Johnny is going to Iceland in April with his Mom for one week and I am going to spend a weekend with my girls in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada while he’s away!

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Mexico/Belize 2016 – Day 5 of 18

February 24, 2016

Accommodation:  Banana Beach Resort, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

At Banana Beach February 22nd to February 29th, 2016.

Today would have been my dear old Mum’s 91st birthday.  Happy Birthday Mum.  I love you and miss you xoxo

Bad Wifi prevented me from posting this on Day 5…so here it is on Day 11….

Crazy Canadians….hot hot hot! Our main goal for this vacation was to get out and walk walk walk. For anyone who knows me well, they will understand that in 2015 I set out on a regime to lose a bit of weight (yes I am smaller than I was one year ago by about 50 lbs). The diet aspect is really difficult to keep up so I need to rely upon walking/exercise to help me out. So, last year we went hiking almost every weekend and for walks in the evening. The winter reared it’s ugly head and the walking although still happening is less frequent with shorter durations. So……when one gets to the land of endless summer one must walk! However, what I have discovered here in Ambergris Caye is that walking (except along the beach) doesn’t seem all that normal. I honestly think Johnny and I are the only people who set out in the morning ‘on foot’. Everyone seems to rent golf carts to get from A to B. Even if they only have to go a few blocks for groceries, they jump in their cart. Strange. I guess I realized it a bit in advance when I was reading trip advisor reviews for our hotel. We are about 1.5 to 2.0 MILES from the centre of town where all the action is. The reviews of this hotel often said…nice little hotel but too far to walk into town. Of course, Johnny and I have walked into town each and every day and one day more than once.

OK….getting to Day 5…….it was HOTTTTTT….31 plus humdity, very little breeze. We walked the beach route into centre of town. Did I mention it was HOT??? Even the Belizians were sweating and complaining. Aparentally even they don’t like this type of weather. However, the difference between Canadians and Belizians is that they are smart enough to take it easy on days like this. NOT us! We walked and walked to the bridge, along the river, up and down the beach. Admittedly, we did stop for virgin drinks to cool down at one seaside restaurant with HUGE FANS!

Essentially, we just wandered, snapped photos, went out for lunch, then cabbed back to the hotel to relax on the beach for the rest of the day. We have a kitchen in our suite and cooked our own meal and that was that for Day 5 🙂

You know it’s hot when I wear a baseball cap for the first time in my life.

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Mexico/Belize 2016 – Day 9 of 18

February 28, 2016

Accommodation:  Banana Beach Resort, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

At Banana Beach February 22nd to February 29th, 2016.

Awoke to an overcast rainy morning. We had scheduled our first snorkel trip for 1:45 pm. Looked at weatherr forecast and it called for gray sky all day but the rain would stop and high would be 26c. So, not bad…..we were going to snorkel at Mexico Rocks a shallow site. After breakfast we went for a walk, picked up a few odds and ends for dinner and came back to the hotel to relax and read. The weather really wasn’t improving. We had checked with the tour people and the snorkel trip was still on. Got into our swim suits & packed our towels & headed down to the dock area to wait for the boat. At this point we really didn’t want to go, but weren’t going to cancel. Lo and behold the security guard came up to us and said the tour gal needed to see us! So….it was cancelled. No snorkel trip! Yeah 🙂 We went back to the room, changed out of our suits and talked about what to do next. We decided to rent a golf cart and go further south on the island than our walk earlier in the week took us.

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We had heard of a Mayan ruin site called Marcos Gonzalez, so we headed out there! A ton of new waterfront estates on the go out there, more condo buildings, but all looked fairly quiet and desolate. FYI, it was in fact lightly raining, so a perfect time to be in a covered golf cart out exploring on bumpy roads! We stopped at some ‘For Sale’ waterfront lots and strolled around them. We had passed the ruin site on the way out and stopped on the way back. There was no-one there and Johnny was really interested in walking to the ruin site which was about 1/4 of a mile through jungle and mangroves on a rudimentary boardwalk. Reluctantly, I joined him. Once I got over my fear that the boards were going to split open beneath my feet it was an interesting walk 🙂 The ruin site is um…well…..I think a place where you need to imagine what was once there aided by little pictures describing what the area wouldhave been like when the Mayans were there. It was pretty muddy and from somewhere I could smell the aroma of um….’pot’……we encountered mosquitos for the first time and decided that perhaps since we weren’t altogether alone out there we would high tail it back to the golf cart…and that we did 🙂

Instead of going back to the hotel we decided to head downtown. We passed a nice little beach bar and decided to partake of Happy Hour at Wayo’s Beach Bar. Interesting little place, with a few American ‘locals’…who lived/worked in Ambergris Caye. A couple of cute little long haired Chihuahuas too 🙂 Johnny had a beer and I had two panty rippers and then we headed back to the hotel. It was our last night, so we had some cocktails to finish off the bottle of Rum we had purchased on our first day at the hotel. We then went to the hotel bar (for the first time) had another cocktail and met this wonderful couple from Minnesota who had just arrived (it was their 9th visit to Ambergris Caye and most often at this very same resort). They were great fun, but alas it was time for our dinner so we headed back to our room and had an early night (cocktails will do that too you 🙂

 

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Now….for a message from my personal sponsor…..if you had the patience to look through any of my past blogs done during past vacations you would know that I am prone to tummy issues wherever I travel (and even at home). In the past year I have worked on that and discovered that Metamucil is my best friend and helpsme a lot. I always do my Dukarol booster before vacation and this year I brought a ‘new friend’ along with me. This friend is a Traveler’s Probiotic. Most probiotics require refrigeration, but this one is labelled to withstand 30 days without refrigeration. I started taking it a few days before vacation and take one daily along with 4 to 6 metamucil’s daily. I had one day of minor ‘rumbling’ in my tummy with no sickness attached…..and here I am on the actual Day 10 with no issues! Thank you for listening 🙂 !!!!!

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Mexico/Belize 2016 – Day 8 of 18

February 27, 2016

Accommodation:  Banana Beach Resort, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

At Banana Beach February 22nd to February 29th, 2016.

Oh man…..the time is flying……please MAKE IT STOP 🙂 ! We are really liking Ambergris Caye as much for its walkability and for it’s laid back lifestylen as for it’s somewhat off the beaten path location. It’s a very simple place, no fancy places to sell the tourists jewels and designer clothing. To some degree I believe it’s a community before it is a tourist destination. Oh sure, there are a ton of hotels and touristy things to do, but the difference is that the people who come here seem to be real people who want to travel to real places. To say it is totally our type of place would be an understatement. It’s just the right fit! The weather has been far from stellar from a ‘beach’ vacation point of view….but that’s ok with us….we prefer it a bit cooler so that I have the energy to wander about. As much as we mostly vacation in hot places….I don’t actually function well in heat and humidity. Of course, we are going snorkelling tomorrow today (Day 9) so I might be wishing it was sunny and warmer then 🙂

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Day 8…..we wandered south of the hotel….walked for about two hours – more like a mosey (no clue how one spells that 🙂 We went the road for about 50 minutes. There were a few restaurants but all closed. The need to use ‘facilities’ arose and we wandered into a condo hotel where they were quite gracious and allowed the use of their facilities. On the way back we took the beach. You can walk for miles and miles and miles along the beach here. I may have mentioned it’s not traditional beach ….. in order to stop erosion they have man made breakwaters built up with in-filled flat beach. What we really noticed is that it is all very quiet…doesn’t seem like a lot of guests….not all the noisy smoking, drunken touristas you find at an all inclusive….soooooo calm and peaceful sigh of happiness……yet another need to ‘stop’ and again, the condo hotel more than happily allowed the use…..we got a coke and sat at the bar…..all friendly, all welcoming.

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The rest of the afternoon we hung out on the beach sipping sweet drinks and eating amazing chicken nachos. A bit later we walked into town (again, about 3 km away) and headed to the restaurant we had tried to go to the night before – Elvies. It is a nice restaurant on the middle street…..sand floor….nice decor, a guitar player and the food was good….but in the end, I’m thinking it was more touristy than we tend to like. We love hole in the wall not ‘the place you have to be’ places best! So, it was good….there was a degree of ambience….it was the most expensive meal to date (171 BZD) (85.50 US) and I wouldn’t hurry back 🙂 Give me tacos on the beach any day of the week!

By the time dinner was over we were soooo tired we jumped in a cab and headed back to the hotel where our rituals always to read for a while then head off to Belizian slumber land.

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Mexico/Belize 2016 – Day 6 of 18

February 25, 2016

Accommodation:  Banana Beach Resort, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

At Banana Beach February 22nd to February 29th, 2016.

Last night was kind of pre-stormy weather that never turned into a storm. However the wind did knock the electricity out (thereby also knocking the water pumps out) on and off for a few hours. Again, this morning it went off for a while so no shower water. We threw on yesterday’s clothing and went down in our unwashed state for breakfast! The temperature had gone from 31c and sunny yesterday to below 20c this morning with a cloudy sky. After breakfast we headed back to the room where a short time later the water came back on (there is a generator for the lights, it just doesn’t power the pumps) and we showered up and headed off for a BIG walk. Absolutely perfect weather for a big walk too! We explored the inner streets of San Pedro (we avoid them in the heat of the day), checking out the shops and facilities. At some point we took a lunch break at Fido’s (prounced Feedos) and then decided it was time to rent a golf car (the main mode of transportation here) and head off to the north end of the Island (the other side of the bridge).

We suggested to the car rental fellow that we might like to go to ‘Secret” Beach and he said, oh no, you don’t want to go there, it will take 45 minutes and the roads are incredibly bumpy. Johnny and I actually thought we would listen to him….until…..after going a few miles north we saw the sign to Secret Beach 🙂 Muhahahhahahahahahhaha…..like two bad school kids, we hung a left and peeled it on our gas motored cart toward the rocky wash boardy narrow road enroute to SECRET BEACH! Apparentally it has only recently been discovered as a beach destination (Ambergris Caye isn’t known for it’s beaches…lots of seagrass and shallow waters)…..after 40 minutes or so off swerving to avoid pot holes, breaking to avoid humongous rocks we finally made it to Secret Beach! It’s quite beautiful on the open ocean. Honestly, it was windy and cold though and apparentally the water wasn’t as calm and clear as it usually is, but we had at least been there…it was a Secret no longer!

Now, from a Realtor point of view, here is what is interesting! This entire area is apparentally owned by one person and it has been subdivided into lots with little lot # signs just like would see at home. It covers a very large chunk of land and includes mangrove front, ocean front and non-water lots. There had to be hundreds of lots subdivided, and we saw maybe 5 or 6 houses and no other homes started…here’s hoping the developer is loaded…it may take quite a while to fill those lots up.

The need to relieve ourselves upon arrival at SECRET Beach was strong 🙂 There was a sign post with little arrow style signs saying Restrooms (3 Belize Dollars) (1.50 US), cold drinks, etc…so we headed down the driveway. At the end of the Driveway was a big house and two small colourful cabanas on stilts. A woman (American) appeared in the doorway of the big house and asked if we needed anything and we told her indeed we needed to use the restrooms. So, we gave her our 6 BZD and used the very clean facilities (which were padlocked…she gave us a key). We had a wee chat with her and she told us that she and her husband were from Utah and had bought this property sight unseen and moved here in April of last year. Originally, they were just building a place for themselves to live, but it had blossomed into a B & B concept and they started to see the need for restrooms and cold drinks so they added those pay services to their repertoire. The B & B isn’t up and running yet because they are waiting to receive their permit to run it. A gorgeous although somewhat remote location if you want to be almost off the grid. They are solar powered, cute as a button and evolving as the need arises! LOVE their entrepreneurial spirit.

We then hopped back into the golf cart and headed the 40/45 minutes back into San Pedro town, where we dropped off the cart and walked back to our hotel (which is a couple of miles out of town). I’ve decided to start typing things in word to cut and paste into the blog once I have internet. This way everything is fresh in my mind! Did I mention that we are having our evening cocktails (rum & diet coke with fresh lime) and nacho chips with spicy mango salso? Yummm 🙂

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Mexico/Belize 2016 – Day 3 of 18

February 22, 2016

Departed Piedra Escondida, Tulum via Taxi to Bus Stop in Tulum

Bus from Tulum to Chetumal, Mexico

Taxi to Water Taxi dock

San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

Accommodation:  Banana Beach Resort, San Pedro

At Banana Beach February 22nd to February 29th, 2016.

A bloggers worst nightmare is WiFi that bites 🙂  I have a ton of photos to upload and there just isn’t enough bandwidth available *sigh*…I may have to come back and fill in the blanks once I get a better connecting – but that won’t be for at least 5 days…and who knows, it may not be better.  *sigh*

The rain in Tulum stopped as quickly as it started.  We had breakfast, hopped in a taxi and headed to the Tulum Centro bus station.  It’s a nice station with lots of seating.  The bus arrived right on time and we headed out on the 3.5 hr trip to Chetumal, Mexico.  Interestingly, the bus was filled with tourists and therefore people were sitting in their assigned seats (unlike our previous two trips which had locals and assigned seating didn’t seem to count).  There isn’t a whole lot to see between Tulum and Chetumal, it’s a highway like most anywhere in North America.  Our driver did tend to hug the centre line (or go over it) and being a big bus the oncoming traffic seemed to simply avoid hitting us by hugging the shoulder 🙂  There were a few nice little towns along the way waving their goods at the bus driver to try to get him to stop.  At one town the stop was a few minutes longer and the vendors got on the bus selling plantains, cheese sandwiches and some sweets.  There was also a nice little donkey pulled cart driven by a Mexican Mennonite.  Some of the local Mexicans were wearing ranch style clothing so there must have been some farming going on nearby.  The Yucatan Peninsula is flat so I imagine there is a lot of agriculture.

The Chetumal bus station was huge and really really clean and organized.  You need 5 pesos to go through a gate to get to the bathroom and bring your own t-paper!  We had noticed on Google that there was more than one bus station and our taxi driver explained that we came in on the premier bus line and that the other bus stations were the more local bus stations.  10 minutes to get to the Muelle Fiscal (commercial dock) where our water taxi to Ambergris Caye, Belize was leaving from.

Again, a really nice terminal and very organized.  However, the whole process turned out to be a little more than we had realized 🙂  First we  in and got our ticket (which we had bought on-line), then we had to go through Mexican immigration, all went smoothly.  The next steps was a bit disconcerting (for some).  We had been told that the military came to check our bags and personal belongings before we departed for Belize.  As we sat sipping cold ones at a rooftop restaurant overlooking the water taxi a big military truck loaded with armed soldiers and a sniffer dog arrived.  Apparently this happens daily.  Seemed to take them a while to get organized then the sniffer dog started on the line-up of luggage outside the boat.  One bag was pulled aside and the owner was asked to present themselves.  Everyone else was down on the same level and we of course were up top and I was snapping photos (I will post later).  In any case a young clean cut Swiss fellow was the owner of the bag and he was directed to open his bag and the dog went sniffing away.  He was then told to take everything out for the dog to sniff some more.  As it turns out, it seems he had nothing in his bag and it was all for nothing.  I told him I had caught it all on camera and emailed him his shots 🙂  We then all piled on the water taxi (comfy seats, mostly enclosed) for a 1 hr 40 min ride to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

It was a great boat ride, nothing of consequence and nothing to see until you neared Ambergris Caye.  The entrance to San Pedro town is via a river/lagoon with mangroves, very tropical 🙂  Once arrived we hopped off the boat and were directed to go through the Belize customs and immigration process…..and this reminds me……I guess I’m getting old…and didn’t know it until we were lined up to get on the water taxi and one of the workers came and took me out of the line to be among the first on the boat…..I didn’t really think a lot of it…UNTIL upon arrival one of the customs/immigration people also took me out of the line and get through the process early….what I finally realized is……I was grouped with the OLD people…*sigh*…..had my hair tied back and it looks almost completely white that way *sigh sigh sigh*..also they didn’t really want ‘young’  Johnny to come with me but I insisted…..OK…end of rant 🙂  The customs immigration process was quick and easy and everyone was super friendly.   We got a taxi outside and the taxi driver was awesome too, pointing out places of interest and recommending various places to do things…as it turns out the hotel paid for our $5 US cab fare so all good!  Check in was also super simple and minutes later we were in our room overlooking the sea!  OK….I’m tired and have to upload this….will have to finish later!  Eventually there will be 3 slideshows below.  This first one was the last few photos at our hotel in Tulum before we left.  The second slide show the water taxi between Chetumal and Belize and at the bottom individual photos of the military situation.

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Mexico/Belize 2016 – Day 4 of 18

February 23, 2016

 

Accommodation:  Banana Beach Resort, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

At Banana Beach February 22nd t
o February 29th, 2016.

Wifi is holding me back. My laptop wont connect to the net and my phone is not great for typing. So giving phone a shot. Thinking they may have blocked my Pc due to my attempt to do big photo upload….sigh. I will continue to try to upliad photos….but not sure if it will work.

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Packing….

I sat down this moment to write a post in hopes it will help me to off load some of the anxiety I’m feeling  as it relates to packing for Saturdays trip.  Writing helps to put things into perspective.  Honestly, even as I type I feel the need to hyperventilate fading away.  Here’s hoping 🙂

I’m a bit OCD/anal and for weeks leading up to a vacation I start to pile things I need for vacation into a tote as I think of them.  I make lists, I download books to my e-reader, etc etc.

OK…..so this year we decided to use a carry on back pack style (for each of us).  We are doing this because once we arrive in Mexico we are spending some time moving from place to place  via bus and water taxi.   After spending a lot of time researching on the net we decided to purchase two Tortuga Travel Backpacks.   They are only available online but once received we were fairly happy with what we got.  Lots of little pockets and security features.  The ability to carry it like a suitcase with back pack straps tucked in.  Not flashy bags so you don’t look like a rich tourist.  Just what we were looking for.

This morning I pulled everything out and started trying to squeeze them all in to my pack. However does one decide what they what to wear before you get there????  We will be on small islands most of the time so I imagine it will be breezy (they are narrow..you can see from one shore to the other).  Looking at the temps, it’s not looking crazy hot and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of humidity.  So…walk clothing, beach clothing, after beach clothing, dinner clothing, tees, tanks, nicer tops, sweater, sundresses, shorts, capris, skort,  sandals, hat, belt….yadda yadda 🙂 undies, socks (we hike a lot)…..

Did I mention, CPAP machine (I have obstructive sleep apnea and it doesn’t count toward carry on, but I don’t want to bring it’s big case, so I’m packing it in my bag….my little laptop (can’t live without a keyboard), e-reader, extra glasses, contac lenses, sunglasses….does the list ever stop?  Nope, it does not – day pack, toiletries, earrings, passports, cash.

OK…this is all this stuff on the table – doesn’t fit in the pack *yet*…….that’s my travel purse on the left….kind of um…tree huggerish…but it’s VERY functional!

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Sure, it looks closed – but the stuff beside it needs to go into it – plus the CPAP and a bathing suit and another tshirt and it needs to be max 22 lbs with a ‘size’ of

Baggage weight allowed according to the class. 
Economy Class Option Plus Club Class
Weight 10 kg (22 lb) 10 kg (22 lb)
Dimensions 23 x 40 x 51 cm (9 x 16 x 20 in) (including wheels and handles)

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It has some nice features…great little zippered things that I don’t have the room to fit anything into 🙂  OH JOY.

 

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Stay tuned for Saturday’s post that tells you whether once fully packed I was actually able to carry this onto the plane or not!

 

Winter Vacation!!

There comes a day in the lives of many Canadians where they either yearn for or discover the WINTER VACATION.  I was in my late teens when I first started going on trips to Florida and Mexico.  For a period of time when I was raising my children and involved in other aspects of life this activity was curtailed.  When my girls were in their teens this blessed (I use the term loosely) activity was resurrected.  Since then we have managed to sneak off to Florida, Mexico (numerous times), Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, British Virgin Islands, St. Martin (twice), Saba and Costa Rica.  Mexico is definitely my ‘go to’ place when looking for a quick get away.  I love Mexico and still haven’t found another country that presents the vitality and beauty this country has to offer.

Pictured below – the reason I travel.  Today is the last day of a 3 day POLAR VORTEX.  A Polar Vortex freezes your nose hairs, hurts your lungs when you breath and the moment you walk outside it makes you feel like you’ve been popped into one of those freeze dry machines.  Over this past weekend our ‘low’ was around -28 c with wind chills between -38 to -40c.  Click here for the real definition of Polar Vortex.

This is the reason Canadians go on Winter Vacation.  This is the reason that Canadians can live happily through daily temps ranging from zero c to -20 c for months at a time because one 3 day weekend of Polar Vortex weather makes ya strong, builds character and generally numbs you into the realization that we shall survive whatever Mother Nature has to offer.

Saturday (Feb 20th, we head off for 17 days in Mexico & Belize.  Heeee Hawwwww!  Let the warmth begin!

weatherfeb1516

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