The last day of a vacation is always a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand you wish you could stay longer, feel the sand in your toes one more time, the cool breeze of the palm trees, the warm water around you. On the other hand, you know there is a pile of work waiting at home anxious for you to tend to it. As normal, work always wins. With this being my last morning to see the sunrise, you better believe I was up and out, grabbing my morning coffee and off to the beach. This morning there were a few more clouds in the sky, not the kind that obstruct the sunrise, the kind that enhance it. The perfect last sunrise to the trip.
After indulging in the beautiful sunrise, digging my toes into the sand, and soaking in the complete peace the morning brings, I headed down the little sand ‘road’ into the main town center. Much like the other mornings, it was just me and the stray dogs. There’s few things I love more than complete solitude in an incredibly beautiful surrounding. It allows me the ability to absorb all of the smells, sounds, sights, and feelings. This morning I decided to choose a breakfast place on the main strip out of convenience, despite the knowledge that I’d yet to find anything other than tourist quality food on the beach. If only the absolutely delightful Mesa Café had weekend hours!
Estele’s By the Sea is an open air restaurant with seating on the beach. Everyone orders inside using the large chalkboard as a menu. I chose the typical American breakfast – fried eggs, potatoes, bacon and wheat toast. Then headed out to grab an ocean front table and immediately took my flip flops off as my feet crave the feel of sand. Life is good. Two tables over was a group of guys drinking beer and by the look of all the empty beer bottles on the table they’d probably been there since the clubs closed at 4am. Though to me, 7am is breakfast time, the beginning of a new day! It was an interesting dichotomy.
Realizing I no longer needed to take the early ferry, I headed over to the boat dock to get confirmed on the 1:30 PM San Pedro Belize Express ferry so I could maximize a bit more island time. Turns out it wasn’t necessary as the way they work is they ask everyone to show up 20-30 minutes before they want to leave and then based on the headcount they adjust the number of boats so everyone gets the time they want. Brilliant. With the logistics out of the way, I headed back to the hotel to throw on my swimsuit, grab a towel, and check-in to my flight. Beach time ahead!
Not wanting to go too far, I meandered back down the dirt road into town and beyond to nestle in at Ramone’s Village. This time the security guard was watching for stray people much like myself, so no chair this time. The beach was soft and warm, so I plopped my towel down and made myself at home. I was surprised how many people were in the water at 9am, though I suspect I’m not the only one that likes to maximize ocean time. There’s not much beach and ocean where I’m from so it’s time to soak in every drop!
Unlike the warm afternoon water in the North at the X’Tan Resort, the water in town was a bit chilly and I couldn’t really make it past my knees. Others had either acclimated or just took the plunge as there was quite a few people of all ages in the water. Much like the bulk of the beaches in town, Ramone’s had a bit of seaweed to maneuver through. Learning yesterday that there were Japanese Sting Ray that look the color of sand and hide near the shore and sting you when you step on them, I wasn’t really tempted to wade through the seaweed to see if that rumor was true.
Laying down on the towel allowed me to stare up at the palm trees and watch as they swayed in the breeze. Despite all the people in the water, the breeze muffled their voices and with the suns rays warming my body, it was as if I’d been transported to a private beach. The towel just a little too short allowing my toes their preferred location of nestled in the sand, I couldn’t have asked for a better ending to the trip. As the peacefulness surrounded me, I closed my eyes and tried to soak in the last of the ocean breeze, the suns warmth, and the tranquility of being on an island surrounded completely by the ocean’s turquois blue.
Though my alarm vibrated and it was time to head back to the hotel, 11:30am came far too quick. It took about 30 minutes to walk from Ramone’s all the way North to the Park Place Belize hotel where I hopped in the shower, sad to wash off the sand and beach for the last time. I finished packing everything up, somehow with a lighter bag than I started, funny how that works. Throwing my duffel over my shoulder, I went downstairs, checked out, and out through the back steps for the last time.
It was about 20 minutes walk from the hotel to the ferry dock and I got there 30 minutes early as they’d requested with no issues checking in. The boat was completely full with everyone heading back from their time on the island. Some were dropped off in Caye Caulker and others carried forward to Belize City. Having only the carry-on, I was able to easily hop off the boat without waiting for the luggage. If you check your luggage, the porters take it all off the boat, they put it on large wheeled flat dolly’s and roll it to an enclosed locked area. Then one by one they go through each piece confirming the baggage check ticket matches the bag.
While everyone else was all tied up waiting for luggage, I easily grabbed one of the few taxi’s and off I went to the airport. Leaving Belize… for possibly my last time. Hard to say what the world will bring. So many other countries to visit in this large earth. It takes about 30 minutes to get from the ferry dock to the airport and costs $25 USD. The airport is quite small and the United counter was completely empty, oddly. I grabbed my paper ticket, since there was no line, it’s always fun to keep as a souvenir, and headed over to immigration.
As long as you’d filled out your exit form, it was a pretty easy process. This time there was no departure fee, unlike the border with Guatamala. In and out in less than a minute. The security line was also short, so I got to the gate with plenty of time to grab a couple trinkets for gifts and some snacks. The flight was more full than on the way here, just about every seat was taken. This time I was on the South facing window seat for the take-off leaving me with incredible views of the islands from above.
United had once again cleared me on the first class upgrade list, I love when they do that. It’s like Christmas every time. For lunch this time I chose the beef with sweet potatoes and spinach, which came with a cheese plate. Awesome. Plus the warm chocolate chip cookies they bake fresh for dessert on every flight. Life is good. The flight left on time and got to Houston 30 minutes early allowing me plenty of time to grab a glass of wine from my favorite stop over bar, Le Grand Comptoir, before the last leg home.
Another amazing trip behind me, it’s hard to believe that within a couple days the daily grind will suck me in so deep the trip will become a distant memory. But alas… I feel blessed to have even had the experience.