Tag Archives: San Pedro

Belize 2012 – Day Seven: Hey…There Goes The Car

25 Mar

How can our time in San Pedro already be coming to a close? Didn’t we just arrive? At least there was no rush for us to leave: our B&B, Change in Latitudes, was very accommodating, allowing us to leave our bags with them a little longer than check out time so we could spend another precious hour or two in San Pedro. Before we had to say our goodbyes, however, we still had some time left. Breakfast on day two was a sweet one of fruit and cinnamon French toast with hot buttered rum syrup. Were it feasible, that would be my breakfast every day.

Fresh pineapple, orange & papaya

French toast with a little powdered sugar on top!

It would be wrong to drink this straight, I suspect. And yet...

Post-breakfast, we hung out in the courtyard for a bit and met a lady who volunteered at the local animal shelter. Every day, she would go to the shelter and walk as many dogs as she could. Had we known about this opportunity earlier, we certainly would have taken some time to help out a worthy cause. We missed our pooch (a rescue dog himself) while we were away and it would’ve filled that pet withdrawal!

After a swim, the time did come – sadly – to leave. We hopped into the electric golf cart owned by the B&B and Renita gave us a lift back to the pier to catch the water taxi to Caye Caulker.  We had about half an hour to kill and were in search of lunch. There are tons of options available, but we were seeking out some street food and pupusas sounded like they’d hit the spot. We found a little cafe that could accommodate our schedule and ordered cheese, chicken and pork pupusas to go. Accompanied by a marinara sauce and slaw, these were cheesy deliciousness that made us very, very happy:

Perfect snack.

It didn’t hurt that we ate these on the pier, watching the boats come in and out, the birds searching for lunch, kids playing soccer and everyone enjoying the sunshine.

Our taxi arrived at 2:30 and we hopped on for the short trip over to Caye Caulker. This was our first stop last year so we knew what to expect: lots of sun and an incredibly laid back attitude. People are very helpful, the food is plentiful and you can opt to either do lots or absolutely nothing at all. It’s a small island where 75% of the people walk, 22% bike, 2.5% use a golf cart and .5% drive. We saw all of one car on the island and when it would drive by, people would say, “Hey…there goes the car…”

We walked up to the beach house we’d booked, Barefoot in Belize. (We actually had a wee trespassing adventure before arriving, as we saw a sign for the beach house and it was right in front of a big, two-storey blue house that looked much like the pictures we’d seen online…but was definitely not it. Whoops.) Located at toward the south end of the island, about a 5-10 minute walk to the centre of town, it had its own pier, complete with hammocks. Works for me!

Sunset at Caye Caulker.

We got ourselves settled, took a little tour of the caye and wound up where, eventually, everyone winds up: at the Split having a drink at the Lazy Lizard. On any given day, this is where the vast majority of tourists (local and foreign) can be found. Beer and rum are cheap and plentiful, the music is cranked, snorkelling equipment can be rented for five Belizean dollars and you can just jump right into the water and have a swim. Lots of people park themselves at the beginning of the day in a prime spot and don’t leave until the sun goes down.

We found ourselves getting hungry around 8pm and decided to check out a place recommended by all the locals, Syd’s. We had contemplated going last year, but for one reason or another never did get there. Located a couple of streets off the main strip, Syd’s is a real gem. Family-run, the smells and sounds emanating from this little place are truly welcoming. (Not to mention the lovely staff.) J and I made our way to the back patio which is encompassed by lush plants. We had hoped to try the Saturday special of BBQ chicken; alas, we arrived too late. (They close at 9:30, so do get there earlier rather than later.) No matter: let’s try the fried chicken and get some different sides, we said. Oh, and a couple of Belikins, if you please.

I wouldn’t call myself a fried chicken aficionado, but I know good food. That chicken, my friends, was fantastic. Crunchy and crispy, screamingly hot, succulent and juicy: the trademarks of great fried chicken. The batter wasn’t heavy and had lots of flavour. Really, really excellent. Not to be outdone, the rice and beans were pretty much perfect. We had rice and beans just about every day while there and my mother-in-law makes a mean pot of rice and beans herself, but this was the best. If you find yourself at Syd’s do yourself a favour and make sure you get them:

A plate o' tastiness

Bellies full, we strolled back over to the main strip and back north toward the Spit. There was a political rally captivating most of the people on the street, including ourselves. We stopped to listen for a bit and took in the scene that had attracted both locals and tourists. We stayed for a bit and then moved on as I was anxious to get out to a darker spot by the water so I could see the stars.

We went back to our beach house to swing in the hammocks by the sea. There was quite a breeze that night, whipping our hair around all over the place. We kicked off our shoes, hopped into the hammocks and chatted away. After a while, we extricated ourselves and went to head in….except, I couldn’t find one of my flip flops. We searched and searched, even looking in the water but no. That sucker was gone. This was quite clearly a case of karma as I had seen a single shoe in the road earlier in the day and remarked, “Who loses ONE shoe? Really. How is that even possible?”

Now I know. Who loses one shoe? I do. My guess is that a gust of wind picked it up while we were swinging away in the hammocks. Or maybe this little guy took it:

Thief? Doesn't seem too likely.

Regardless, I had it comin’. So if you’re in Caye Caulker and happen to come across a silver flip flop that’s washed up on shore, it’s mine. Feel free to mock.

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Belize 2012 – Day Five: Never Going to Leave

18 Mar

Have you ever found yourself somewhere so wonderful, so beautiful, so unique that you felt completely immersed in the culture with zero effort? When we took the water taxi back to Belize City from San Pedro last year, I got very emotional. I did not want to leave. There was so much more to see, to experience, to soak up with every fibre of my being that I felt almost cheated. What a tease to only have been there for a short 30 hours! This time around, we were determined to see and eat more.

We arrived at Ambergris Caye (San Pedro is the town making up most of the caye) around 12:15. As I got off the water taxi, I inhaled deeply and smiled ear to ear at the scene in front of me: kids playing, little restaurants lining the beach, people moving at about half the speed of Toronto. We sauntered down the beach to our lovely B&B at which we stayed last year, Changes in Latitudes. We were a little early for check-in, but co-owner Renita said it would be no problem to leave our stuff with her and to grab some lunch. Done. Back down the beach we went to our fave beach-lunch spot in San Pedro: Wild Mango’s. Right on the beach, this is a very popular spot and for good reason: the portions are huge, the food comes quickly but you never feel rushed and, of course, it’s damn delicious. Each table comes with three condiments: two spicy fruit salsas and an onion and carrot mix that adds great crunch to your meal:

Everybody salsa!

We already knew we’d be ordering the Baja fish wrap as we’d had it last year and it was probably the single best thing we ate on the trip. What other yummy dish could we order? We settled on the chicken and avocado wrap and, when they arrived, we knew we’d chosen well:

Chicken wrap

Baja fish wrap

Paired with a couple of Belikins, sitting on a great little patio, this meal is tough to beat. The crispy coating on the fish and the lettuce give the wrap a nice crunch and there is enough filling in there to keep you full for hours. The salsas add a nice heat, too, and our little bowls were nearly empty by the time we had finished.

Having happily killed a couple of hours at lunch, we returned to the B&B and discovered that our sleeping quarters had been unexpectedly upgraded! And what an upgrade! We were to stay in the Toucan’s Nest, a beautiful suite upstairs with its own kitchen, living room, second bedroom and porch, bar & hammock included! The porch quickly became known as the Hammock District.

The Hammock District.

After a quick dip at the neighbouring yacht club’s pool, we parked ourselves in the District and debated where to go for dinner. “Let’s just walk til we find somewhere that looks good.” Wise words. We’d done a little bit of reading up before we left Toronto, but we knew from experience that there was a plethora of places from which to choose. So between prior experience and instinct, we felt we would do just fine. We found ourselves at the Blue Water Grill on that very windy evening, a popular spot in the middle of the waterfront strip. It’s a restaurant that features not only local cuisine, but shows local artists’ work on the walls and contributes much back to the community. J decided he wanted the breaded pan-seared snapper  topped with red onion and papaya salsa, accompanied by sweet potato cakes and grilled veggies. The sweet potatoes used were of a local variety and were white, not the orange we expected. The fish, as expected, was excellent and the cakes were crunchy on the outside while light and fluffy on the inside. Yum:

I opted for the grilled snapper in sesame butter sauce, served with wok-cooked vegetables and steamed rice. The fish was tender, flaky and juicy while the veggies were nice and crispy, not at all overcooked. And the sesame butter sauce? To die for. I could put that sauce on everything: chicken, fish, toast…whatever.

We contemplated dessert, but decided instead to go grab some mix for the rum we had back at the B&B and have a couple of nightcaps instead. Fresh pineapple juice & rum in hand, we wrapped up the night hanging out on our porch, staring up at the star-strewn sky and listening to water lap against the beach. Paradise.

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