Day 7 – Ambergris Caye, Belize

It’s hard to believe the trip is almost over, I could certainly stay another week happily. Though the business awaits. Like yesterday my body naturally awoke for the sunrise and as I headed out to the beach, I grabbed a nice warm cup of coffee on my way. There’s nothing like drinking coffee in a real mug on the beach awaiting the sunrise. This time a rather chatty local was in the spot I’d scouted the day before. He was strapping young fellow who seemed rather excited to find someone else as eager to watch the sun rise as he was. Showing me photos from prior sunrises on the caye, we bonded over our shared interests.

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The sunrise was full of beautiful oranges and pinks and the sun rose quickly out of the water as if in a hurry to provide us light to begin the day. The stroll along the beach was quiet as few people were out and about. Most the restaurants were not yet open and it was just me, some fishermen, and the stray dogs. I’ve grown to love the quiet and empty the morning brings, much like New York City on a weekend when everyone stayed out far too late the early mornings were all to myself.

Passing the main square, I walked even further down the beach until I stumbled on the Blue Water Grill. The restaurant had no windows and no doors, all open air with gorgeous views of the water and palm trees. It was the Banana Foster Pancake that drew me in, though I ended up with the ranch hand, a delicious smoked brisket, egg, and salsa dish. The servers seemed a bit hung over from the Friday night before, but the cool breeze of the island air made everything lovely.

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Being the last day on the island, I wanted to spend it on a beautiful beach and the ones in the North were certainly the cream of the crop. Trying to find Tranquility Bay yesterday via the soft sand road along the water proved cumbersome, so instead I aimed for the X’Tan resort which had stellar reviews online. Knowing there likely was not a gas station up North, I figured I’d top off the tank and added another $5 USD of gas just in case. The gas stations are full service and the attendants take care of everything for you. The $5 was roughly 1 gallon of gas so it was a pretty fast transaction and I was on my way.

Crossing the bridge to the North I carried on with the same ‘single gal, must be an expat’ and drove through like the locals avoiding the $2.50 USD each way. Following the same route North as I’d done yesterday, I headed up past the big resorts, around the bend to where the wine bar and truck stop were, on further to where the road degraded into intense bumpiness, on past the everglades looking area, and taking a sharp turn to the West at the juncture. Just shortly before the X’Tan resort I noticed a long sand driveway that from the road seemed to dump you right on the beach as all you could see was turquois in the distance. Who wouldn’t want to chase turquoise water right?

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So of course I detoured. The path was well padded and easy to drive on unlike yesterday. When I got to the ocean I pulled over and left the golf cart under a nice palm tree. There was a resort to the South, Costa Blu, but otherwise there was nothing around. I started walking North along the beach thinking it wouldn’t be that far up to the X’Tan and found myself maneuvering through a wild beach that hadn’t been tended to in years. Fragments of downed palm trees everywhere and as I tried to step through the jungle like area in my flip flops wondered how likely it was snakes were hidden lounging under the leaves. It was definitely a path less travelled.

About 15 minutes or so later I reached the X’Tan resort in all it’s glory. Wow. A site to behold for certain. The water was an amazing clear blue and they’d cleaned out most the seaweed. The water was so warm it felt like a heated swimming pool. The moment I stepped foot there I didn’t want to ever leave. Being the random that walked up from the jungle, which I’m sure had to look at bit like those alien movies where someone just appears out of nowhere, I awkwardly ducked over onto the dock.

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Their dock was quite long and went out into the ocean 200 or so feet. It was covered and completely shaded from the hot blaring sun in the cloudless sky. Every so often people would arrive all excited as their trip was beginning or they’d have their bags and be all sad and ready to depart. I plopped down in the middle chair, the one most protected from the sun and relaxed with the breeze of the day as people came and people went. About halfway through a lovely couple from Canada joined, also not from the resort, and we ended up talking all afternoon.

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The hotel manager enjoyed having visitors scoping out the joint and gave us fresh coconut water, straight from a coconut! It was refreshing and perfect for the sunny day. The couple had just returned from a volunteer trip to La Ceiba Honduras, so we swapped stories of our love for Honduras. It was the first country I ever visited twice, I’d absolutely loved it so much on my first visit I just had to go back. The second time doing a volunteer trip, much like this couple, though mine was with Habitat for Humanity in Tegucigalpa, the capital.

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From there the conversation continued in all of our journeys around the world, a topic I can indulge on for hours! We discussed politics and the whole Trump/Hillary election followed by what does this mean for the USA now. How things impact Canada. We talked about the TSA and airport security and how Canada has followed our methods, for better or worse. It was such a great conversation and before we knew it hours had passed and the sun was starting to head back down again. A little more time in the water and then I was on my way back through the jungle to see if my golf cart was still there. It was.

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Heading out one of the guys from the Costa Blu dive shop was looking for a ride into town. He was good looking and far too charming for his own good as he talked me up the whole ride. He told me about the history of Belize and how it was originally colonized by people’s from Mexico and Guatemala, which is why many locals still speak Spanish as their primary language despite being a British English speaking colony. About halfway into town a young boy was pulled over and having been the mama bear of the road the past two days of asking every stranded person if they were okay, I felt compelled to do the same this time too.

The young boy was a local dog walker and his golf cart had broken down. He’d been sitting on the road for quite some time and no one had stopped. My hot dive shop passenger bounced out and immediately went over to help. He flipped up the seat and tried to troubleshoot what was wrong with the car. As they conversed in Spanish, I chilled in my golf cart next to the everglades looking area and kept an eye out for the likely non-existent crocodiles. It was fun feeling as if me and this stranger were a team, both of the mindset to help someone in need, without being asked, like a compulsion that exists within us. I liked it and don’t experience it often.

After the boy was all set, hot dive shop guy and I continued the journey back into town. Crossing the bridge with a local in my front seat, it wasn’t even an issue to not receive the tourist charge. He explained to me that they don’t charge the locals, they only charge the tourists. That the locals go back and forth so much for work it just wouldn’t be fair to ping them $5 USD round trip every time they went to work. Made sense to me. The tourists come in with their income and much of the infrastructure is meant for their use, so they pay for what they require.

After I dropped off hot dive shop guy, I changed out of my swim clothes and into my night clothes and scurried back over the bridge to a perfect sunset lounge I’d scoped out earlier. Rain is the rooftop bar at a hotel with completely unobstructed views of the sunset. Originally as a party of 1 they wanted to put me off to the side, but given it was completely empty I was able to get a front row table to the sunset. The wine list was quite lovely and realizing I’d skipped lunch being so engaged in conversation, I got the fish cakes to tide me over until dinner.

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For dinner I headed back into the city, dropped off the golf cart at the hotel and walked along the beach sliding my toes through the sand. The town was hopping and the dinner joints had started to turn into a more after hours crowd. I settled on a small quiet restaurant called the Nook where only a few tables were full. I knew anything on the main drag would likely not be great mouth watering food, so it didn’t really matter which one I chose. Anything but a noisy pub was up my alley.

The Nook was open air and right on the beach with the boat docked just beyond the shore. The bar had plenty of open seats and I grabbed one along the front with a full elevated view of the ocean. A nice backdrop to my dinner. Having filled up more than I’d thought on the fish cakes, I went for an appetizer of deep fried vegetables. Not healthy by any stretch, but tasty.

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After a couple glasses of wine, it was time to head back to the hotel and catch some rest for the last sunrise of the trip.

Cheers,
Sara

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