We slept a lot last night. We finally got out of bed today around 8:30. I know that doesn’t sound very late but I swear I fell asleep at 7:45 last night!
Once out of bed we decided we were gonna kayak. There is an island about a mile from the shore here that has good snorkeling on the other side of it. I wasn’t really sure of our kayaking abilities but we decided to go for it. So we ate breakfast and then got ready to go out.
Marlon gave us fins to snorkel with and life jackets. He also put a cinder block on Don’s kayak in case we wanted to anchor somewhere. Then we both got in our kayaks and started going. It was a lot easier than I imagined it would be. Before we knew it we were almost half way there. I started getting somewhat tired at this point but really wanted to keep going. Don said “I’m waiting on you! Every time I look at you, you are not paddling!” I told him I was waiting on him because every time I looked at him he wasn’t doing anything! So then I started paddling more. All of the sudden I look back and Don is in the water. The kayak had flipped! I turned around and tried to get close to him but missed him…not really good at being precise with my direction. Finally I got to him and I noticed there was another kayak coming towards us with a guy and a girl in it. They asked us if we needed help and they stopped. Don could not get his kayak to flip over. Luckily his bag and his fins were still there strapped in. The cinder block had fallen to the bottom though. When Don finally got back on the kayak kept tipping up so the back was underwater and the top was upright in the air. We thought maybe it was because of the anchor so the guy got the anchor up and we put in my kayak, but Don’s kayak still wouldn’t balance. I put all of his stuff in my kayak….except his fins, we lost them. Then Don got behind me and the guy told me to just paddle him in. I tried paddling and couldn’t get anywhere. So the guy tied his kayak to mine and they paddled us back to where we could touch. I tried to help by paddling also. I wish we could buy these people a beer or something.
Once we were on shore Don was tired and disappointed. I was just happy we got back and we had everything…except the fins. I was really worried about our underwater camera but it was there in the bag. Don’s kayak was so heavy! Then we saw the plug in the back wasn’t screwed in and water was coming out. So we drained it. We are pretty sure that this was the problem; the plug wasn’t in so when we first started he had no problem but as time went on the kayak filled with water. We drained the kayak for a good 15 minutes.
We saw a pretty big fish right at the shore. It looked like a baby or small shark but I’m sure it wasn’t. As we were standing there the woman who we had saw the day before with her trinkets and crafts said hi. She had a friend with her. She asked if we were having fun we said yes but we tipped over. She said “oh you’re the one that tipped!?” Then she asked if we wanted to look again at her things to buy….I couldn’t believe it haha but I told her we had no money on us. Crazy woman.
Once the kayak was drained we needed to get back to the hotel’s beach. We were pretty far from there so we decided to get back in kayak back. We had decided that the island was out of the question now…we were tired and it was far. The kayak back to the hotel beach was fine…so now we know the problem. So always check to make sure your kayak’s plug is screwed in!!
We got back and swam for awhile then we told Marlon what happened and that we lost the fins. He was nice about it but Don still felt bad. Then we went out to swim more. The water felt sooo good. After that we dried off a bit and Don said he wanted to walk the beach back to where we came to shore and see if his fins had washed up. I knew this was unlikely because I saw them sink. They went pretty fast. But we went and walked the beach. On the way we saw some pretty big fish and Don pointed out a sting ray. We also saw 2 crabs. We looked along the shore and got in and snorkeled a bit but we never found the fins.
Then we came back and swam in the pool. After the pool we got cleaned up and decided to walk to the grocery store. They had Dr Pepper so I got one. Then we ate at the Green Parrot. Don had a cheeseburger and I had shrimp and fries. It was good but I think our restaurant is better. We walked the beach back and decided to have the peanut brittle pie again. Now we are relaxing in the room and getting ready for our Monkey River Tour tomorrow.
So last night we freaked ourselves out reading in a Belize guidebook about bugs and diseases you could get here! Not a good way to end the night!
We woke up early for our tour of the the Mayan site Xunantunich. We got a bagel from the restaurant here and our guide was here at 7:20. His name was Gilbert. There was a family of 3 in the van already which was surprising because we thought we would be the only ones on the tour. That was okay with me though because I thought an all day tour would be a little awkward just the two of us.
So we started the 3 hour drive to Xunantunich near San Ignacio. We stopped at a gas station about 45 min into the trip. We got some drinks and some breakfast sandwiches here. I wasn’t really hungry after having the bagel though. Then we just kept driving.
About an hour from our destination the driver pulled into a shopping center and dropped the family off. We thought that was weird, we thought they were going with us. So it was just 2 of us to the ruins.
We drove through the city of San Ignacio. It looked really different from anything we’ve seen so far. It has been so rural here in Belize. When we got to the ruins the driver explained to us that we would have to get out of the van and take the ferry across and then walk a mile to the ruins. I thought he meant he was not coming with us….so I was a little freaked out at first! But then I understood and we got out and waited for our turn for the ferry.
The ferry would take each tour bus one by one over the narrow river. It was powered by a man using a crank. It was pretty cool to see. People had little shops set up where they were selling their crafts. We looked around a bit but didn’t buy anything. Then we got on the ferry.
After the ferry we drove to the parking lot and got out. Then we hiked about a mile to Xunantunich. The site was really cool. We hiked to the top and got a view of Guatemala. Going down the ruin was a little difficult for me. I was afraid I was going to fall. Once at the bottom we went all around the site, learning about different things. We saw some leaf carrying ants. It was pretty cool they had a whole little hike they were doing. Our guide Gill showed us if you stomp around the opening of their homes the soldier ants would come out to defend it. I was looking at it and wondering where are the ants?! All the sudden I looked at my shoe and a giant ant was on it attacking my shoelace. They have giant pincers that will just cut things up. So that was cool. Luckily it didn’t get in my shoe.
Once we were done with the ruins we went for lunch. I had a traditional rice and beans with stewed chicken and Don had breakfast. It was pretty good. Then we started on the road again. We stopped at a gas station for a break and Gill told us he would be picking up a family on the way back. Once we got to the shopping mart again the same family got in. We couldn’t believe they had been shopping all day! The woman told us they were school shopping.
Then we started on the road again so we could make our last stop at The Blue Hole National Park. This is not to be confused with the Blue Hole that Belize is known for. This blue hole is in the jungle and you hike to it. The hike was only about 5 minutes though. Once you get there it’s a little lagoon that is deep blue. It’s blue because it’s about 100 feet deep in spots. It was kind of cold but once you got in you got used to it. It was cool to see the fish swimming around us. If you went further down you would come to the opening of Herman’s Cave. You could hike through Herman Cave to get to the blue hole, it’s about 2 miles. We didn’t do that though haha.
After we got done swimming we went back to the van for the ride home. It rained for about 30 seconds then it was sunny again. It was the first rain we had seen. Gill showed us this spot that is supposedly magnetic because if you put the car in neutral it goes back up the hill. It worked. I wanna know why it worked…is it really magnetic?
Once we got back I was so tired. We ate dinner. I had a personal pizza it was good and Don had fish and chips. Both were good. But we had an amazing dessert. It was peanut brittle ice cream pie. Neither of us like peanut brittle but we tried it. It was amazing! It had caramel and vanilla ice cream with the peanut brittle.
After dinner we saw this cool looking moth on the outside of the hotel.
That was pretty much our night because when we got back to the room I was out.
We woke up today pretty early around 7 but just laid in bed kind of fell back asleep until 8ish. Then we decided to go out and snorkel for a bit since the water was calm.
Before getting in the water a woman approached me and asked if we were staying here. She said she had hitch-hiked from Placencia. Then she asked if I wanted to look at her crafts. I told her I had no money on me now so maybe later. When we got in the water we didn’t see much because it’s mostly sand. Then we saw a few fish and we were getting further out and I heard Don say “Andi come back!” We’ve been snorkeling quite a bit in our lives and I’ve never heard him say this so I was scared…like was there a shark?? So I just started swimming back to shore fast. In my head I was a little disappointed on the swim back like…”man if there was a shark out there and he just made us swim like this and draw all this attention to us!!” I wanna see a shark so bad and if it’s far away and you just stay calm it should be alright…but we when got closer to shore he told me he saw a big jellyfish and I was swimming right for it. So that ended our snorkeling this morning.
Then we came back in and got cleaned up for breakfast. Don had a dish called Belizian Fried Jacks. It had black beans, scrambled eggs and these pastry like things. I had a Bacon Egg Burger. It was good. It was just bacon and 2 eggs over easy on ciabatta bread. During breakfast we could see the woman spreading out all her jewelry and trinkets on the beach to sell.
After breakfast we talked to the hotel owner about our tours. Now I think we are adding another snorkeling trip. It sounds pretty awesome. We also made friends with the Maya Beach Hotel cat..
Then we decided to take the bus to Placencia Village. While waiting for it though….guess who caught us. The woman selling her crafts. She was also waiting for the bus. But she convinced us to look at her items. I ended up buying a bracelet for $10, because I am a sucker. The bus came around 12:15 and you get on by waving it down. It was an old school bus painted blue and it said “Richies Bus” on it. The ride was $1 per person. It took us to the end of the peninsula.
Once we got off the bus we walked around a bit. We looked at the beaches and then just walked around. It was sooo hot! We decided there wasn’t really much there so we planned to take the bus back at 2:30, which is the last bus of the day on Sunday. We decided we wanted to try a different restaurant so we tried a place called Wendy’s. It was good. The quesadilla I had was great.
After that we walked the town some more just basically waiting for the bus. The bus was so crowded on the way back but the driver dropped us right off at our hotel. Can’t really beat the price of $1 for a bus ride.
Once we got back I wanted to go for another swim….so we went back out to the beach and snorkeled again. We love snorkeling. We didn’t really see anything too crazy just a few fish here and there. The water felt so good, it’s so nice and warm. After our swim we got cleaned up again and decided to walk about a mile to a different restaurant.
On the walk there the hotel owner saw us and said she would give us a lift. That was nice of her. The restaurant was Mangos and it looked really cool. The food was good. I had nachos. Don had fried chicken. The problem was when the food came immediately we were surrounded by flies. It was so annoying. We just ate so fast. I feel like all we did today was eat hahaha.
We had to walk back and it was pretty dark. But it was a nice walk. When we got to the hotel the whole front of the building had little lizards on it.
Now we are back and we are just getting ready for our excursion tomorrow to the ruins.
Today we woke up around 3 am so we could make it to our 6 am flight at ohare. We got to the airport and our flight was on time….so nothing really crazy to tell from Ohare.
We had our connection flight in Dallas/Fort Worth. We ate breakfast at a taco bar. It was pretty good. Then an alarm started going off. It was a siren with a computerized voice saying “There has been an emergency reported in the building. Please stand by for further instruction.” No one knew what was going on and it just kept repeating over and over. Finally a real voice came on and said the emergency was taken care of so to keep going about business. Even though he said this the alarm continued to go on until we boarded our flight for Belize.
We sat in the aisle that had 3 seats so we were sitting next to a woman. She had the window seat. Eventually one of her friends came and told her they had an open seat by them so she could sit next to them. I was excited because then we would have a giant space…but when I moved over to her seat it was a little damp and kind of smelled like urine, not really sure. Luckily I only touched the seat with my hand…and I had hand sanitizer. So for the flight we did not use that window seat. It was funny though because I saw her when I was exiting the plane and she said “You didn’t sit in that seat did you?” and I said “no” and she was like “good because it made my pants damp”…..
So then we made our way into the airport to go through customs. There was a live band playing some music. That was a first for me at an airport.
When we made it through customs and met our driver, Abraham. He took us to his truck. Abraham drove us 3 hours to Placencia…we had a private ride. It was cool. He told us things about Belize on the way. We stopped at a grocery store to get some drinks. It was so weird. It was a Chinese owned grocery store in the middle of no where.
The whole ride to the hotel all I could think was this place has really nothing but jungle.
I didn’t really know what to expect but it is just land with trees, very rural. We even saw Amish! Abraham told us the Amish settled here about 50 years ago.
We finally made it to Maya Beach Hotel and got settled in. Our room is the Hummingbird Room and we saw a hummingbird outside our window!
We walked by the beach and relaxed on the deck for awhile. Then we had dinner at the Bistro here at the hotel. We had Spicy Fish Empanadas for an appetizer and we both had burgers for dinner. We also enjoyed a Belizian beer.
It was really good.
After dinner it was only like 8 but we went back to the room for bed!
Andi and Don’s PADI Open Water Scuba Certification Dive
Haigh Quarry, Kankakee, IL, July 2012
Yup so we got our scuba certifications. Pretty awesome. This is us on our final certification dive at Haigh Quarry in Kankakee Illinois. We went with Scuba Systems Skokie IL. We recommend using them. Message us if you want some info.