Today when we went to breakfast we were told not enough people signed up for Tour A so they had booked us with a tour group in town. This at first seemed fine but then we realized we would have to go to town to get on the tour. We decided to do a private tour and be picked up at the hotel. I’m glad we went with this option.
Our first stop was Big Lagoon or Small Lagoon I’m not really sure. It was kind of a downer that the tour guides did not talk at all. But anyway this location was pretty cool. It was mostly about seeing what was around you rather than snorkeling. There were cool rock formations and a little cave we swam in.
The boat ride to the next location was very beautiful…
We ate lunch at Simizu Island. Before lunch we snorkeled while the tour guides prepared the food. The snorkeling was pretty good. We went out pretty far but it was a little rough. Our lunch was awesome. It was very secluded since we were on a private tour.
After lunch we noticed the guides were fixing something on the boat.
Luckily, whatever they were fixing was a success.
We were able to see the Miniloc Resort on Miniloc Island.
I had heard about Miniloc from a coworker who is from the Philippines. She recommended staying here. The price was a little much though. I think for 3 nights it was around $500. We only paid around $50 a night at Stunning Vistas. I think it was a good decision not to go with Miniloc because it is an island by itself so it would be a pain to get to town. Maybe next time.
After lunch we went to Secret Lagoon. Here you had to go through a small rock opening to get to the lagoon.
After going in the lagoon we walked around the island a little bit before getting back on the boat.
The boat ride to our next location was very rough but it was okay…
Our last stop was 7 Commando Beach. It was a very nice beach. There was a place you could buy drinks but we wanted to get in the water. We did some snorkeling and then we dried on the beach for awhile.
When we got back we found a jellyfish on our walk back from the boat. The tide was very low so the boat had to park pretty far from shore. We had to walk in water about ankle deep, but it was a good walk.
After we got back to the hotel we got cleaned up and sat by the beach and read for a little bit. We wanted to try to watch the sunset but Don wanted to go into town. He thought maybe he was getting swimmer’s ear and so we wanted to go to a pharmacy. Eden at the hotel told us to go to the pharmacy by the church in town. So that’s where we told the tricycle to go. We asked for ear drops and they gave us prescription antibiotics haha. Not like the US where you need a Dr to get you anything. After getting the drops we walked around. We found the resort where Don and his dad had stayed about 5 years earlier. Don said it had changed a lot. We walked through it and came to the beach of El Nido. It was kind of like a small boardwalk. There were a handful of restaurants and shops. We chose a restaurant and ate while the sunset. We had traditional Filipino food and it was good. After we were done we walked back through the hotel and I saw the French and Denmark couple at the bar. He asked us if we wanted to have a beer so we did. We talked with them. They had been staying here, they said it wasn’t too hard to book a place once they got to El Nido. The next day they were going on a long boat ride and leaving Palawan. It was cool to see them again. When we were leaving we tried to pay but Denmark said, “I asked you if you wanted to have a beer, I didn’t ask you if you wanted to pay for a beer!” I don’t know why we didn’t get a picture with them…
We woke up around 7 am today to get ready for Island Hopping Tour C. There are 4 main Island Hopping tours here in El Nido and they are just named A,B,C and D.
The boat picked us up right at our hotel beach, so we had breakfast here. I had an omelet it was very weird. It had what seemed to be canned carrots and potatoes in it with cubes of cheese and a bacon. Weirdest omelet I have ever had haha. It was okay though. Don had Filipino breakfast, it was bacon with rice and eggs.
Our tour left at 9 am and our first stop was Hidden Beach. We snorkeled a bit here but didn’t see much. We swam around the rocks to find the Hidden Beach then we swam through a little cave to go back to the boat. Here’s some pictures of Hidden Beach.
So at first we swam around some rocks to find the beach and on the other side of the beach there was a cave that brought us back to the boat. It was really cool.
I believe our lunch was at Star Beach which is part of the Tapiutan Island. We snorkeled here while the tour guides prepared our lunch. This location was in my opinion the best snorkeling site of the day. You had to swim out pretty far though. It was worth it because there was a shelf where the ocean floor dropped and the side of it was all coral. There were so many fish there. Our lunch consisted of grilled fish, grilled pork chop, rice, yellow melon and bananas. The pork chop was really good. I really enjoyed the yellow melon also. I am not sure if that was its official name. It tasted and looked pretty much like watermelon except it was yellow.
The next place was Secret Beach. There was a cave we swam through and when we got to the other side there was a small beach. People were snorkeling but there wasn’t much to see, just a bunch of rocks. I mostly just waded and relaxed on the beach. It was beautiful though because when you were in the beach you were surrounded by the rocks.
In the cave to get to Secret Beach
The next stop was Mantiloc Shrine. It was basically an abandoned church. We didn’t learn much about it, but we could walk around inside the church and it was very weird. There were rooms with old beds in them, kind of like a dorm. Some rooms had decorations all over. The place looked fairly new and it looked like whoever left here left in a hurry. We thought this was our last stop on the tour.
Then we made the final stop, Helicopter Island. I cut my toe on a rock here when I jumped out of the boat. It seemed pretty bad but I snorkeled anyway. When we were snorkeling one of the guys on our tour was just stepping on the coral and you could hear it all breaking. This was very sad. It was very disappointing that the tour guides didn’t convey to people how important it is to not touch and especially not to step on the coral. All around us on Tour C there was dead coral.
Here’s what my toe looked like at the end of the day…
Once we got back to Stunning Vistas we got cleaned up and headed into town by tricycle. I don’t think I have talked about the tricycles yet, they are basically motorcycles with a little cab hooked to the side. Usually 2-3 passengers can fit in a tricycle. It is kind of like a cab that travels short distances. We ate at a grille and I decided to take a try at a cheeseburger. Bad idea, it was really really horrible. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t meat. Don had fried pork chop with rice and then we shared a dish called pork menudo. It was really good, it had potatoes and carrots with it. Then we walked around the town a bit and took a tricycle back.
This morning we woke up and went up to get breakfast. Overnight we had made our way to the island of St. Thomas. The view from the boat was beautiful.
Seeing the houses on the island and the very blue water reminded me a bit of Greece.
Once we got off the boat we walked around a bit and found a beach to go to. We got in a cab and went to the beach. Our excursion wasn’t until 1 pm so we had some time on our own.
It was here at the beach we discovered that our old underwater camera wasn’t waterproof anymore. On our last trip in Belize the SD card holder broke in the underwater camera. Since then we had taken it to a repair man but were unsure if it would still be water tight…it wasn’t. Not a complete loss though because before this trip we had bought the new updated Olympus Tough camera. It was just kind of a downer because we thought we would both have Tough cameras haha.
I can’t remember the name of the beach but it was very beautiful.
At 1 pm we went back to the boat to meet for our Snorkeling Trip. The snorkeling was good, but definitely not as good as Belize. We did see turtles though! We didn’t get good pictures of the turtles because they were far away. But we did get some good pictures of a Sting Ray.
After snorkeling we went to an awesome beach and had some rum punch.
Once we got back we got cleaned up and went to the dining room for dinner!
So today was our last full day in Belize and we went snorkeling again. When I woke up my sunburn on my arms felt better and it wasn’t really red but the back of my thighs hurt like crazy! It was such a weird sunburn, none of it is very red. Maybe the medication I’m taking for Malaria prevention is making me sensitive to sun.
We were able to eat breakfast because Splash Diving wasn’t picking us up until 8. They had even called to see if we wanted to cancel because it was going to be rainy off and on. I’m so glad we didn’t cancel. The guy who picked us up was really cool. We talked to him a bit and found out he used to live in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
I thought the dive shop was a lot better looking than Avadon’s. It seemed newer and bigger. The boat we took today was much smaller though. The seats were a lot more comfortable though. The group we went with was also smaller, probably because of the weather. There were only 2 divers and 3 other snorkelers besides us. Everyone was from Spain also.
The weather was very stormy looking while we on the boat ride there. When we got to the island it was clearing up a little but still pretty overcast. This made me happy though because I didn’t know how much more sun I could take. The island was like nothing I’ve ever seen in real life. It was very small, like maybe 100 feet long…it was very picturesque. White sand, palm trees, a few picnic tables, one grill and one bathroom. That’s all.
We saw a lemon shark in the water off the shore immediately when we got off the boat. That was so cool. I love sharks but have only seen them on TV or in the aquarium. We got ready for our first snorkel of the day with our guide Brian. We saw a lot of sea life. Tons of different kinds of coral and fish, a lot more than the day before. We saw one sting ray that was pretty cool looking. It was light brown with black spots. We also saw little squid that looked like cuttlefish. We even saw jellyfish that didn’t sting and we could hold them in our hands.
Then we got out and I was applying sunscreen like crazy. The sun was hurting me so I was also trying to stay covered up. While we were waiting for lunch to be made Don got in the water and tried to get a picture of the lemon shark that kept coming close to shore. He never got a good shot though, but all throughout lunch we could see the shark. That was very cool. Lunch was bbq chicken, cole slaw, augratin potatoes and watermelon. It was much better than the lunch Avadon served us the day before.
We saw a bunch of the cutest hermit crabs on the island. I love hermit crabs! We stayed on shore for about an hour and then we got back in for our second snorkel. We saw more fish, but the highlight of the snorkel was seeing a nurse shark. It was so fast so we chased it for awhile. Finally we got close and it turned around. It was coming right at me from about 8 feet below. I got a picture of it. I thought I was taking a video of it swimming below me. It would have been such a cool video…but I guess in the excitement of it all I didn’t hit the record button. So then we went back to shore so we could get back on the boat.
We took the boat out a little ways to where another boat was throwing bait into the sea to attract turtles, rays, and sharks. When I jumped in the water I couldn’t believe what I saw! A huge sea turtle right next to me and about 8 nurse sharks all around. I was so excited! It was the coolest thing I have ever seen or done. When I went to the other side of the boat I could see there were about 4 sea turtles, 6 rays and maybe about a dozen nurse sharks total. We took a bunch of videos and pictures. It was amazing. The rays were giant. They were mostly Spotted Eagle Rays, there was a gray one there also that I didn’t catch the name of. We swam right next to the turtles and over the sharks. One of the coolest days ever!
When we got back we prepared for our last dinner in Belize. We couldn’t decide where to go but eventually decided on Mangos. We walked the beach there. I got a cheeseburger, it was very good. Don got the fried chicken and rice. It was a much better experience than last time at Mangos because there were hardly any fries. I love the waitress at Mangos she was so nice and cool. We decided to walk the beach back, it was pitch black. So Don used his flashlight on his phone. I have to admit it was a bit scary not knowing where you were putting your feet. We saw a ton of crabs! It was pretty cool. And there were so many stars in the sky. I’m glad we took the beach walk back to the hotel even though I was a little scared. It was a good end to our vacation.
This morning we got picked up at 7 by Avadon Divers. We didn’t have time for breakfast. We met another young couple that was staying at our hotel, Andrea and Kyle from Michigan. They went on this snorkeling excursion with us.
Once we got to the dive shop we filled out paperwork and got sized for fins. We brought our own snorkels and masks. When we finally got on the boat, it was awesome. It was a lot bigger than I thought it would be. It had an upper deck and a bathroom. They set out some coffee and banana bread for breakfast. When the boat started moving we stayed mostly on the bottom. We went up top for a little while, but I really wanted to stay out of the sun.
The first snorkel site was really cool. It was a small island that had a marine biologist resort there along with a couple of other resorts. Our guides James and Giovanni did their best to point out the different sea life. We saw a couple Barracudas and many smaller fish. It was really cool to see the coral because I’ve never really seen anything like that in the wild.
The island looked so cool but after the first snorkel we got back on the boat for lunch. They had made tuna, chicken and egg salad to choose from. I had the chicken and the egg. It was pretty good, although I have to say I was expecting a better lunch from some of the reviews I read.
For the next snorkel location we were in the middle of the sea and jumped off the boat. The water was deep, probably around 15 feet, but you could still see the bottom perfectly. There was so much coral and so many different types of fish. We saw a sting ray! And a lobster!
During about half way through the snorkel I could feel the back of my arms getting burnt. It was such an intense burning feeling, like nothing I’ve ever felt. Pretty much every time I’ve gotten burnt I haven’t felt it until afterwards. This was like my skin was frying. It was pretty bad, some of the worst skin pain I’ve ever felt. It made the snorkeling not so great but I didn’t want it to ruin my trip so I tried to ignore it.
We got back on the boat and James cut up a variety of fruits for us. My arms felt like they were on fire. I’ve really never felt anything like it. If any sunlight touched me I felt like I was burning, like a vampire. I sat with my towel draped around me. It was so uncomfortable. Sometimes it felt like I was getting an Indian Burn over and over.
Once I got off the boat the sun was so intense I just wanted to hide from it. We took a picture with the guides and got in the van to go back to the hotel. By now I am feeling the burn on the back of my arms and the back up my legs right below my butt.
After getting cleaned up we biked to the grocery store to look for aloe. There was none. So we biked to Singing Sands Inn because Don said their gift shop had a lot of stuff. Luckily they had a bottle of aloe. We also bought tshirts from our hotel that we could wear the next day because we booked another snorkeling trip.
We ate dinner at the hotel. I had a spicy chicken sandwich, which I didn’t really like at all. Luckily Don shared half of his pork sandwich with me. What a nice husband. My sunburn just felt weird…and wasn’t very red when I went to bed. I really lathered on the aloe.